Common Causes of Shooting Pain in the Wrist
Every day we rely on our hands to help us function. If you experience shooting pain in the wrist, it can affect your ability to perform daily activities and quality of life.
One of the most common causes of wrist pain is often a result of chronic conditions, such as repetitive stress. Motions such as typing, texting, playing video games, etc. can put extra stress on joints, ligaments, and tendons. Wrist pain can also be caused by physical impact. Injuries from a fall or sport accident can lead to wrist sprains, strains, or fractures. Sharp, shooting pain and numbness into the hand, however, is frequently due to nerve disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Learn about common causes of shooting pain in the wrist, treatment options and when to seek treatment.
Why Do I Feel Shooting Pain in my Wrist?
If your job or sport puts excessive strain on your wrists and hands, you might wonder if you have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Maybe you’re suffering with tingling, numbness or shooting pain in their fingers, wrist or forearm and you’re not sure why? CTS is the first diagnosis to come to mind. CTS is one of the most common entrapment neuropathies — a condition resulting from direct pressure on a nerve. In fact, it affects between three to six percent of adults.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel (a small area at the palm of the wrist). CTS results in numbness and tingling in the hand and/or arm. This pinched nerve can lead to acute, radiating pain.
CTS often results from overuse of the wrist and hand, particularly from repetitive activities. Repeated motions like typing or computer use, driving, long-distance cycling, sewing, or working on an assembly line can increase instances of CTS. Carpal tunnel can also result from sudden injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, pregnancy, or obesity.
Women are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. This is possibly because the carpal tunnel itself may be smaller in women than in men.
What Are the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
CTS sufferers often complain about gradual symptoms that affect their dominant hand first, especially around the thumb and the index and middle fingers. As symptoms worsen, they may experience decreased grip strength, and a feeling of swollen fingers, even though no swelling is apparent.
Other symptoms of carpal tunnel include:
- Dull aching pain
- Shooting pain around the wrist, palm, fingers and up the forearm
- Weakness, tingling, and numbness of the hand
- Muscle cramps in your fingers, palm, wrist, and forearm
- Disturbance of sleep
- Hand muscle wasting
- Dropping objects because of decreased grip strength
- Temperature differences of the hand
If not addressed properly, this condition can get worse over time, leading to permanent nerve damage.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Not the Only Cause of Shooting Wrist Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is not the only cause of shooting pain in the wrist. Some other health problems may present similar symptoms as carpal tunnel syndrome, including:
- Ligament damage
- Tennis/golf elbow
- Neuropathy, nerve problems
- Elbow bursitis
- Wrist injuries, such as a fracture or sprains
- Cervical (C6-7) root compression in the neck
How Can I Prevent Wrist Pain?
Although there’s never a one-size-fits all approach when it comes to preventing injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome risks can be reduced by also reducing the stress that is placed on your hands. Here are seven ways to help prevent wrist pain:
- Pay attention to your daily routine. For example, if you pound on your computer keyboard, your hands may become unnecessarily tense. Try gentle keystrokes instead.
- Take a break. Step away from the repetitive activity (typing, for example) once every hour. This is particularly important if you use machinery that vibrates.
- Stretch it out. During those breaks, stretch out the muscles in your hands and forearms.
Stand tall. Although we are talking about the wrist and hands, your posture can make a difference. Poor posture could create a chain reaction that leads to pinched nerves and make wrist problems even worse.
- Switch things up. Avoid doing the same task over and over with the same hand. One simple switch is brushing your teeth with your non dominant hand.
- Keep wrists warm. If you keep your wrists warm and loose, you’re less likely to feel pain and stiffness. Wear gloves if you aren’t able to control the temperature. This simple tip can make a big difference.
- See a Physical Therapist. A therapist will be able to show you the right stretches and strengthening exercises for your wrist condition.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Shooting Pain in the Wrist?
The first step in treating shooting wrist pain is rest. Minimize use of your wrist and stop any activities that are causing obvious shooting pain.
Whatever the cause of your wrist, elbow, or hand pain may be, physical therapy can help. In fact, early intervention may help you avoid surgery. Consult with a physical therapist to develop a customized wrist recovery plan will depend on the severity of your symptoms.
At Twin Boro, your physical therapist will begin with an in-depth wrist evaluation. After a full assessment, the physical therapist will create a unique treatment plan, which may include non-surgical treatment options such as:
- Wrist splinting to reduce the pressure on the median nerve.
- Nerve gliding exercises to help the median nerve glide more freely in the tunnel.
- Hands-on physical therapy treatment such as massage therapy and stretching.
- Anti-inflammatory medication can also help to reduce inflammation and pain.
As one of the top physical therapy centers in NJ, Twin Boro utilizes a unique One2Four approach to help patients suffering with shooting pain in the wrist get to the root cause and find the relief they need, restore your range of motion, and get you back to living your normal life.
Are you ready to wave goodbye to your wrist pain once and for all? Call the skilled experts at1-888-416-8001 or schedule an appointment to learn more about Twin Boro Physical Therapy in NJ and receive a treatment plan made specifically for you.
Twin Boro Physical Therapy: Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey
Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey, Twin Boro has provided NJ residents with high quality physical therapy and rehab for over 38 years! It’s our award-winning approach, proven results and reputation that sets us apart. By incorporating the One2Four program into each patient’s program, the latest and most reliable scientific research and techniques are incorporated into effective evidence-based practice. We deliver only the highest standard of care with the unique One2Four approach.
It’s no surprise that Twin Boro Physical Therapy has also been voted the best physical therapy practice in New Jersey by the readers of mycentraljersey.com.