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How to stop elbow, forearm, wrist & hand pain

One of the reasons why I do what I do now is because I lived with chronic pain in my elbows, forearms, wrists and hands for over seven years. Looking back, I think the advice and treatment I received from medical practitioners was unhelpful and ineffective. Chronic problems with these parts of the body tend to get blamed on an activity that you’re doing repetitively, such as typing on a keyboard, playing a sport or a playing a musical instrument. In my case, I was told I had been using the computer too much causing me to develop RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). This made no sense to me because most people can use a computer and not develop RSI, so why had I? Though the causes of chronic pain in these areas can be varied and complex, I think the most common cause is faulty body mechanics due to poor posture. In this video I explain this in more detail and talk about how to overcome with this type of chronic pain.

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As I mentioned above, chronic pain in these parts of the body is often blamed on an activity that you do, and we even name certain conditions after a sport, such as tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) and golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis). This is actually quite silly. Most tennis players don’t develop tennis elbow, while people who don’t even play tennis can develop it. I’ve worked with clients who say they have developed pain from playing sports, using their mobile phones, typing on keyboards, using a mouse and playing the guitar and violin, and yet, most people who do these activities don’t develop chronic pain in their elbows, forearms, wrists and hands.

The truth is the activity is rarely the issue, it’s the body you bring to the activity. 

What do I mean by this? Well, let’s say you were riding a bicycle and suddenly it stopped riding smoothly and made strange noises and sounds as you rode. You wouldn’t just say that the act of riding bicycles is a problem. You’d say that there was something wrong with this particular bicycle and get it repaired, and then go back to riding. The same thing applies to your body. Playing tennis is not the issue, it’s the body you bring to the tennis. If something is wrong with how your body is working, for example putting extra pressure on the outside of your elbow when you play tennis, then you might develop tennis elbow. The tennis isn’t the cause of your pain, it’s just highlighting a problem within your body. I think the same applies to using a computer or playing a musical instrument etc. Modern day healthcare either blames the activity or focuses exclusively on coming up with a label for the symptoms, a condition, such as tenosynovitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, lateral epicondylitis etc. without actually going deeper and asking what’s going on with this particular patient that has caused this condition in the first place.

With the clients who I see with these kinds of symptoms, most often the key contributing factor to their pain is their posture. For example, if your upper back is rounded forward a lot, it will push your shoulders and head forward – imagine the classic hunched posture. Now that your shoulder is in this position, it probably won’t move as efficiently as it can, and because of that your elbow won’t move as well too. If you now go to play tennis, then over time, perhaps you’ll develop a condition and thus pain. The long-term solution isn’t just to give you painkillers, or massage, or general strengthening exercises, or injections or surgery, but instead to improve the balance of your muscles, through the use of posture correction exercises, so that these muscles can hold your upper back, shoulders and head in a better position, allowing your elbow to now work more efficiently, and without pain. Always go after the root cause!

I hope you find the video beneficial.

Take care.

If you’d like to find out more about posture correction therapy click here.

Ameet Bhakta BSc, DipHE – I’m a posture correction specialist certified by the Egoscue Institute, and founder of Health Through Posture.

6 comments
  • Anjana
    REPLY

    Hi Ameet,

    This is Anjana from India, Bangalore. I accidentally happened to come stumble upon your site. I must say i have liked it and subscribed for your website. It started with me having pain on my shoulder , lower back neck etc etc. I am 35 years old. I work as an HR, so the obvious use of computer. But after watching ur video i realized all these are linked to ur posture. Now why i am writing this mail is that in the above video upload i didn’t see any exercises for arm wrist pain which also i am suffering with. So could you pls tell me if i need to go to any other link or something like that. If you could share your thoughts on the same, it would be great. Thank you so much for your time.

    Regards,
    Anjana

    • Ameet Bhakta
      REPLY

      Hi Anjana,

      I made a separate video for upper back, shoulder and neck pain, and the exercises in that video are applicable for elbow, forearm, wrist and hand pain as they also help the hip, upper back, shoulder and head get into a better position. They’re on my blog page.

  • Anjana
    REPLY

    Hi Ameet,

    Also pls suggets how many times these excercises has to be done in a day. Is it only once or every few hours? Thank you.

    Regards,
    Anjana

      • Anjana
        REPLY

        Hello Ameet,

        Thank you soo much for your response. Infact I have watched the video for upper back, shoulder and neck pain. I have been practising regularly from past one week and I can say that I could feel the difference especially my lower back, but my wrist pain has not reduced . May be continous practising could help me.

        Thanks again..

        Anjana.

        • Ameet Bhakta
          REPLY

          That’s great news on the lower back. In terms of the wrist, overcoming chronic pain takes time and as I stated in the video, if things don’t improve it might mean you need more targeted exercises to address your specific postural imbalances. Take care

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