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Wrist pain - What could it be? Is it real? Can you Identify?


I have a friend who has severe wrist pain and sometimes numbness when writing. He is able to do everything else - even tasks very similar to writing without any pain.

I am in the health field and I am stumped. (along with every colleague I know/have)
I've already discussed the issue at large with various doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, certified hand therapists and a doctor who specializes in upper extremity disorders.

Every possible test I can think of has been performed (MRI, fMRI, bloodwork, nerve conduction tests, functional capacity evaluations etc)... Pretty much everything I thought it could be has been ruled out (nerve disorder, brachial plexus injury, arhtritis, fibromyalgia etc.).

What could this be?

I told him the only thing I can think of now is some somatic/physical symptoms but from a psychological problem. He obviously will not accept that.

Does anyone have ideas of what it could be, or what steps can be taken?
Can anyone identify with having an issue/pain and no one believes you, but you know it's real?
Jan 03, 2012 @ 03:58 pm

10 Replies



My first thought as I began reading your post was fibromyalgia but as you say they ruled it out... I have no clue! My good friend has Lupus which is an autoimmune and she gets all sorts of weird stuff like Shingles and other common ailments as a result of being immuno-compromised. I have heard that autoimmune diseases manifest in really strange ways (and for what it's worth - i.e. nothing - that seems to be the diagnosis half the time on House). Has he been tested for any autoimmunes?
Jan 03, 2012 @ 05:45 pm


What kind of occupation does he have? The more I used my hands in my careers, I noticed issues similar. I do have arthritis now, but had similar numbness with a ganglion.
Jan 03, 2012 @ 05:52 pm


It sound like symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Jan 03, 2012 @ 06:32 pm

Thanks for replies

Hmmm. I'm unsure... I will ask about checking for autoimmune diseases.

he has just graduated...was in school until August. He's been working at a bank for 3ish months now

I initially thought it was CTS but that also has been ruled out b/c of no median nerve compression

Jan 03, 2012 @ 09:45 pm


Thanks by the way guys... you have my mind going and I have more questions to ask!
Jan 03, 2012 @ 09:58 pm

Here's a solution

I'm sorry to hear about the wrist and hand stress that your friend is having. I have treated thousands of wrist, hand and arm patients over the past 15 years - all non-surgically - and as a result I have become rather familiar with many of the weird conditions and symptoms that can occur.

When your friend writes it sounds like he is getting a constricture in some of the tendons and joints of the forearm, wrist and/or hand. You see while holding a pen to write your thumb and first two fingers compress tightly against the pen. Although many hand patients are straight forward when it comes to diagnosing them there are a handful (no pun intended) that the diagnosis can be more difficult or hidden.

When I've evaluated patients with similar symptoms as your friend I've found that there generally always was certain mechanical dysfunctions with their hand - most always correctable without surgery.

The most common mechanical dysfunction is due to a series of tiny misalignments between the carpal bones and possibly the metacarpals and even the phalanges.

Gentle, specific chiropractic adjustments to the wrist and hand bones can do a world of difference for this type of hand condition. It may be difficult to find a chiropractic hand expert as most DCs focus on the spine vs. the hands. With your friend's hand problem you'll want to make sure he finds a chiropractor who really specializes in treating hands - believe me it may take some searching to find one.

I wish your friend well!

Dr. Robert Fenell
Founder of Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics Of America

p.s. I've done several wrist/hand videos demonstrating various stretches - although stretching probably won't correct his condition it may at least help some. Here's one of my videos. You can find more if you go to E how and type in my name.
Jan 04, 2012 @ 02:39 am


That was very interesting and a lot of great info. I was going to toss
my two cent in, but after all you told us, I don't think I'll even
bother to.LOL
Jan 04, 2012 @ 09:53 am

@ Dr

Really useful info, thanks drhandandfoot!
Jan 04, 2012 @ 10:08 am

Dr. Fenell

Thank you SO much - I am calling my friend now with that news :)
Jan 04, 2012 @ 12:32 pm


keep us posted
Feb 12, 2012 @ 11:59 pm

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