Thumb and wrist pain: The case of Ruby Q.


Acute pain, Arm pain, Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), Chronic pain, Hand pain, Neck pain, Repetitive strain injury (RSI), Shoulder pain, Thumb pain, Wrist pain / Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

wrist-painRuby Q. was a regular Neuromuscular Therapy patient in my metro-west Boston clinic for stress-related muscle pain in her neck and shoulders. Upper body tension is often the cause of pain in the forearm and hand when there is repetitive stress. (E.Pascarelli, MD) The connection between upper body tension and hand and arm pain is that when circulation is reduced by tight muscles, the arms become starved and polluted.When there is repetitive use, the working muscles don’t have the nutrients and oxygen they need to be healthy. Pain and injury result.

Ruby was extremely conscientious, spending long hours in her office and getting minimal sleep from thinking about work all the time. She was on the computer all day in a very stressful and responsible job and held a lot of that tension in her arms and hands. She had a previous injury falling onto her hand, but the pain in her wrist and thumb seemed to have come out of nowhere. At first pain would come and go, and when it occurred it was during movement. Local thumb pain was strong with shooting pains into her forearm. Her wrist became involved and was at times swollen and excruciatingly painful.

As a Neuromuscular Therapist how do I think about these injuries and how do I treat them? The posts that follow are about causes and symptoms of thumb and wrist pain, about Ruby’s treatment, and about things you can do yourself to relieve thumb and wrist pain.

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