Terrible Pain From Wrist Tendonitis and Ganglion Cyst

by Angela C. Pratt
(Bedford, NH moving to Liberty Lake, WA)

Hello, I have been having right wrist pain for several years. Three years ago I had repetitive motion tendonitis from using a tape machine at work. I have always worked in warehousing and office positions. In November of 2009, my knee gave way so I grabbed for the railing to break my fall. Immediate wrist pain and swelling.

I waited a few months, but it did not go away. I was referred to a hand specialist and he did xrays revealing a ganglion over the radial artery than normal. They did a MRI and ultrasound to rule out aneurysm.

Surgery has been suggested, but I am moving and don't want to have a dozen doctors working on me.

I did some kitting at work of DVD's and booklets, and it seemed to aggrevate it all again because the top of my hand hurts TERRIBLY bad and opening a door is painful, typing is painful, and if I happen to bend it back a bit too far...OUCH!!

I have been icing and taking Aleve and Motrin. I use Arnica Montana and have an untrasound machine at home.

Any further suggestions or information would be most appreciated. Also, any referals to doctors in the Spokane Valley/Liberty Lake WA area would be most helpful.



Joshua Answers:

Hi Angela, I hope the move went well.

Unfortunately, I have no good referrals for the Spokane area.

The question I have, is, is the pain more from Wrist Tendonitis or from the ganglion cyst?

If it's from wrist tendonitis, no problem. But from what you've described, my sense is that it's primarily the ganglion causing the pain. Granted, a wrist tendonitis dynamic can help contribute to ganglion cyst formation, so it's worth it to effectively deal with it.

1. How deep is the cyst?

2. How exactly are you icing, and does it help a little, a lot, or not at all?

3. What's your status now? It's been a while since you wrote this.

4. Where exactly do you feel pain? Details details details.

5. Describe the pain. Details, details, details.

6. Overall health?

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Comments for Terrible Pain From Wrist Tendonitis and Ganglion Cyst

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Apr 06, 2011
Tendonitis or ganglion cyst
by: Lana

Well i have the same or almost the same problem...I picked up a 6lb empty bucket and felt pain in my right hand( right in the top middle) went to the doctor he told me i have a tendonitis right wrist and when he started moving my hand i was in pain cause i had a wrist pain right where it bends. so he looked at it and said you have a ganglion cyst, then he told me to take aleve or some other pain reliever. Then the pain in my hand gone away but my wrist still hurt.. i do alot of packing and tearing of the plastic bottle tops and bottoms. (what i do is when the bottles comes out the mold machine i take the extra material off and pack it. so it really aggrevates my wrist. so i went to a different doctor and he told me that its from work that it aggrevates it so he put me on light duty which helps a little. So my question is could they both be part of one another... cause they are saying they are NOT.. and i live here in spokane valley, WA.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Lana.

Do you mean, can the ganglion cyst be related to lifting? Certainly.

Lipomas (benign fatty tumors) and ganglion cysts tend to show up where there are lines of tissue stress/tension.

Can you -see- the cyst? Or is the doctor just guessing that A. it's there or B. whether it's a Lipoma or a ganglion cyst.

If it is a ganglion cyst, go the the local drug store and pick up some iodine (regular iodine, used for disinfecting).

I don't know a lot about it but I hear that iodine, applied to the skin over a cyst, will absorb and dissolve the cyst. Not promising anything, but it's cheap and worth a shot.

It's worth it because if it keeps growing, you'll eventually either have to hit it with a heavy bible (literally smash/pop it) or perform surgery (and then again when it regrows) to remove it.

Wouldn't hurt to Ice Dip to help the overall ecology of your forearm/wrist/hand, because tightness and inflammation are factors at play as well.

Apr 22, 2011
Wrist cyst, hit it with a heavy book, now wrist hurts
by: Magpie

I made the grave mistake of hitting my Cyst last night with a heavy object. It was on the back of my wrist and about the size of a large marble and looked awful! (i deal with the public daily and was very conscious about it)
It was painful last night and this morning there is a large swelling on the underside of my wrist that is really hard and I cant flex my wrist or pick anything heavy up without pain. I know I have not broken anything but does anyone have any idea what I may have done? (The cyst has gone down but is still there)

Silly, silly me!


Joshua Comments:

Well, ya know...you do what you gotta do.

Was it silly? I don't really think so. That was the solution to cysts for a long time. Whack it with a bible. That was the only option.

Now you can have surgery! Which personally, I think is worse than hitting it with a book.

The good news is, you actually burst the cyst. Imagine if you had hit it and hurt your wrist but the cyst was unaffected, or even more painful.

Since you're technically injured yourself (breaking the tissue of the cyst, you're now you're experiencing an acute Process of Inflammation, which means there's:

A. Swelling, which is fluid trapped in the area
B. Increased pain from all the pain enhancing chemical that's being released

and also you have all the fluid from inside the cyst, which is an irritant.

You need to create circulation! Old stuff out, new stuff in!

Massage that fluid up the arm, like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube. Hold your arm up over your head so gravity can drain your arm. Ice Dip as described on the How To Reduce Inflammation page.

Oct 30, 2012
Cyst on wrist causing numbness and tingling
by: Anonymous

Hey how are you doing Joshua im having the same problem with this cyst on my right wrist and its causing numbness and tingling and i was wondering if i should keep trying the ice dipping because i notice it works for a while i only tried one time because i just find out about it or if its any new ways you could help me out with thanks


Joshua Comments:

I'm doing great, thanks!

Ice Dipping is great for removing pain and increasing circulation.

If the cyst itself is causing the numbness and tingling (it may or may not be, I'd need to know more) then there's nothing I can do to help, as if the cyst is pushing directly on a nerve, surgery is the only option (and hopefully the surgeon won't cut the nerve while attempting to remove the cyst).

If the numbness/tingling is coming from other sources, that's something else entirely, but we'd need to know first.

Feb 08, 2016
Unshure if its a cyst
by: Molly

So I do a lot of repetitive factory work and for about 2 years have had problems with my wrists swelling from lifting boxes that were too heavy.

But now I'm in pain 24/7! I'm starting to notice a bump on the back of my wrist as well as swelling. It hurts all through my forearm and feels like something has been pinched in my elbow.

Oh also my hand has been falling asleep when I'm sleeping. I'm an graphic designer Im on a computer all the time I need my hands!

Ive been using a wrist brace for sleep and computer.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Molly.

Do you have a ganglion cyst in there?

As far as the progressive pain, I don't want to sound dismissive when I say "yes, that's very predictibly how the dynamic works".

So what are you doing to reverse the problem? Or said another way, where are you at in the process of attempting to reverse the problem?

Aug 11, 2017
by: Anonymous

Please do not attempt to treat a ganglion cyst by bursting it with a bible (or other holy book). Your hand is made up of lots of delicate bones, tendons, ligaments and nerves. You could cause serious damage. Advocating this 'treatment' is highly irresponsible.


Joshua Comments:

I agree, hitting it with a heavy object (be it a bible, other book, or anything else) is not the best of ideas, that's why I've never advocated for it here on this site or elsewhere.

Mar 07, 2018
Iodine for cysts in general
by: Anonymous

Since iodine is supposed to thin fluids and thus help the fluids in cysts to go away, I'd like to hear more people try it on their ganglion cysts. I've met people who had them and had surgery, and thinking back, I bet they were nearly all low in iodine.

It's cheap, it's easy, and if it works then you can help others get rid of their by posting your results. Someone on another site who'd had a troublesome ganglion cyst for 10 years had it vanish in a few weeks when they began taking an iodine supplement.

Mar 22, 2018
Ganglion cyst tx
by: Anonymous

Hitting with a book is terrible, outdated advice. I doubt your training after reading that suggestion. Avoiding the overuse that caused the cyst, massage, pressure bandages, and once again, avoiding the overuse. Surgery is invasive, and cysts come back. Don’t hit with a book!


Joshua Comments:

Presuming you're speaking to me, please point out where exactly I have ever recommended that to anyone.

Here's what I said exactly two posts below this one:

"Joshua Comments:

I agree, hitting it with a heavy object (be it a bible, other book, or anything else) is not the best of ideas, that's why I've never advocated for it here on this site or elsewhere."

Mar 27, 2018
You did say this...
by: Anonymous

You actually said this....
"It's worth it because if it keeps growing, you'll eventually either have to hit it with a heavy bible (literally smash/pop it) or perform surgery (and then again when it regrows) to remove it."


Joshua Comments:

Ha. Yes I did say what you quoted.

Which wasn't a recommendation for doing so, it was pointing out that at a certain point something drastic is required.

In the past they hit it with a heavy bible because A. at that certain point they had to do something
B. surgery wasn't an option, well, not one they were likely to survive much less feel better when they were done
C. the bible was the heaviest book around.

Nowadays, it's definitely surgery is better than a bible.

Apr 25, 2018
Please help me to make sure I do not make it worse.
by: SLSAnonymous

I am constantly using my hands; I play Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, and Piano.

Back in November I noticed that my hand and wrist was becoming sore when I played, well I waited until it got almost unbearably painful to play. The doctor then said it was just tendinitis gave me steroids for 10 days and said to rest for a few days.

I went back after 2.5 weeks because it didn’t help she ordered an X-ray and discovered a cyst and sent me to physical therapy for about a month, this proved to be ineffective.

The physical therapist said to go back to the doctor and take further steps an MRI was ordered she discovered that I have a very bad case of tendinitis, the cyst, and a tear gave me no instructions besides setting up an appointment with a specialist.

Is there anything I can do in the mean time to reduce the pain because the appointment is at least 2 weeks away, should I be doing anything to make sure I’m not worsening it besides sitting out of my music??


Joshua Comments:


1. PT didn't help cyst-caused pain? Weird. (Read that with a heavy tone of sarcasm.)

2. Ice dipping as described on the How To Reduce Inflammation page (see link in this thread) is very effective at lowering pain levels. It's not a fix, but it's effective at lowering pain levels.

3. Tell me more about the tear.

Apr 29, 2018
Tear I honestly have no information on. I’m sorry.
by: SLSAnonymous

She gave me no information on the tear and hasn’t really seemed to give me any actual true information heck she hasn’t even shown me the scans. I’m not really used to not knowing exactly what’s going on honestly.

The specialist office did call and emailed a link for a type of brace to wear this morning after they reviewed my case but nobody has told me much about the tear. I also have no clue as it to how it may have happened either honestly.


Joshua Comments:


Well, the pertinent information I would need to be able to have a halfway educated opinion would be:

A. all details about the tear (call and find out)
B. Size of cyst
C. Exact location of cyst (in joint, or just under the skin, or etc)?

Apr 29, 2018
by: SLSAnonymous

I do know that the cyst is on my capitate, and that they considered it the cause of my pain but they won’t give me any details on what the size of it is or even anything about the tear.

Thank you for even trying I just don’t want to wreck my hand/wrist right before I start my freshman year of college for music therapy.

I was just wondering if I could reduce the possibility of making it worse. Thank you for your time and trouble.


Joshua Comments:

Is the cyst -on- the bone? Meaning, is a bone cyst, or a cyst that's close to the bone.

Again, from my end, it kind of matters.

If you find out the details, let me know.

Sep 09, 2018
Numbness with pain hit it with a bible
by: Jo Ann

I am 52 and have had 4 kids. I started having pain in my right hand at 25. It stopped for years. I was told to slam my hand between a Bible.

Well it has come back now, stronger and worse. My hands get so numb with pain that I keep having to stop and lay my hands downward on my sides from pain to seize. It has moved up my arms painfully not numb. My legs feel as if I have ants crawling and now I see veins I never saw before. Red or blue spider veins. My toes are numb and sometimes I feel like I have sand bags under my feet below my toes. Nuero says pinched nerve in my back😩

I will admit, I do not take any vitamins at all.



Joshua Comments:

Hi Jo Ann.

You didn't mention it...did you actually have a ganglion cyst and -that's- why you were told to hit yourself with a bible?

Mar 23, 2019
SLSA returns
by: The Tendonitis Expert

SLSA says:

"I learned later that the cyst was on my capitate and that that was my pain source. They were going to remove it but the radiologist accidentally ruptured it. Things got better after physical therapy but I have re occurring tendonitis now and it’s really hard to manage it.

Is there anything I can do to help prevent the familiar pain and swelling? I back off but it always swells and hurts now. I’ve tried the non-steroid meds that don’t help and I still do stretches before and after I play like they said too swelling keeps happening though"


Joshua Comments:



1. The surgeon still removed the cyst after rupturing it,yes?

2. Is the cyst actually on/in the bone? Or is it separate/floating right next to it?

Nov 19, 2019
Wrist pain
by: Anonymous

The pain is In and around the area where the cyst was and has since grown back in 6 months. He did an aspiration after the surgery and it is back again.

The pain is a sharp, pinching, burning pain and becoming numb. I am at the point where it is affecting the movement of the wrist / hand.

Dec 16, 2019
Saved From A Ganglion
by: Ganglon No More

Hi, I was working as a massage therapist and developed a big ganglion in my left wrist. I had to change careers. The ganglion is gone now that I am not massaging. I believe that it's usually work related.

As soon as you stop irritating your wrist, the Ganglion will leave. When I was massaging, a Doctor sucked the fluid out of the Ganglion with a needle guided by ultrasound. It was so painful and I got releif - for all of a week.

Then it was back, same as before. The body is smart and will give you a Ganglion rather than allow nerve damage to take place. Listen to the body, stop the work that is causing the Ganglion no matter what you have to go through.

While I had the Ganglion, it was so painful that I could't do a pullup or a push up, and if I had to make a sudden movement or catch myself on my wrist for any reason like falling, the pain was excruciating. After I stopped massaging, I went to Corrective Chiropractic.
It turns out I had problems in my neck and brachial plexus from previous falls, etc when I was a kid and young adult. He reset everything. Corrective Chiro is not the same as regular Chiro, it's better. About 4 months after I stopped massaging, and after going to about 2 months of Corrective Chiro, I had no more wrist pain. So take it from me - the Ganglion might actually be protecting you from something worse. The body is very smart and makes adaptations to help you. Stop the work that is damaging your wrist, and the Ganglion will most likely leave.

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