In exercise, and in life in general, repetitive movements over long periods of time can cause something called pattern overload. Soft tissues become brittle and injured. Your body feels stiff, especially upon waking up in the morning. Too much of the same thing, like with anything else, becomes a bad thing over time.
When it comes to the wrists there are a large number of things that can go wrong when pattern overload is applied. Whether you're a keyboard warrior, a chronic bench presser, a crossfitter, an athlete, or even a guitarist, these things can have an adverse effect on your wrists if you don't do anything to prevent pattern overload
Wrist Injuries Due to Pattern Overload:
Case I: I used to suffer from it just from typing too much. A couple years back, I spent all of my time in an aerospace test lab. All I ever did was sit in front of a computer and type, use a mouse, and operate a joystick. Over time, my wrists had had enough of it and I was plagued by carpel tunnel syndrome. The good news is that I managed to reverse the effects of it and I will teach you how to do this as well later in the article.
Years of piloting for the Army and as a civilian wreaked havoc on my wrists
Case II: I also used to train a few folks from Tampa's Roller Derby team, and guess what? They all basically had the exact same issues. Knees were shot, elbows and wrists were banged up, and shoulders were in constant pain. Roller Derby is an especially bad sport in this regard because of the very nature of it. Several times per week, they skate on a flat track going counter-clockwise. Very little variation and very little time spent in the off season seems to be a recipe for disaster.
Off seasons are actually designed to help prevent chronic pattern overload, among many other things professional athletes do to stave it off.
Case III: One more example I'll give you is of my friend, Matt Brasch, who is a professional guitarist. A few months ago, I attended one of his concerts in Ybor city. After the show he told me that he was experiencing pain in his wrists, specifically his left hand, which he uses to hold down notes on the fret board of the guitar. Matt has been on tour for a very large chunk of his adult life and the repetitive nature of playing the guitar over and over finally caused his wrists to give out.
Fortunately there is a way to prevent and reverse the effects of pattern overload.
Matt Brasch of The Wonder Years and Cold Climb It
Keys to rehabilitation:
I. Internal wrist rotation stretch: Hold for 10 seconds.
II. External wrist rotation stretch: Hold for 10 seconds.
Pro Tip: Torque your elbow in the opposite direction of your wrist. It should feel like your ringing out a wet rag with your entire arm.
III. Wrist Flexion Hold: 10 seconds on each hand
Some of the absolute best dynamic stretches for the wrists, elbows, and shoulders involve using a pair of Indian Clubs (or juggling clubs). Check out the video for exercise ideas:
Indian Club Exercises.
Grip training is really the key to rehab and prehab of the wrists. For me, this actually fixed my carpel tunnel pain all by itself. Once I started getting into deadlifting, my pain slowly went away. I went from needing to soak my wrists in cold water and splinting them every night to eventually becoming pain free!
Here are some ideas for grip training:
Trap Bar Deadlift
You can also use grippers and grip masters to get the job done.
If you can apply all of these techniques into a training program, you should be pain free in 4-8 weeks depending on the severity of your condition. If you feel like you need some guidance along the way, feel free to write me in the Contact form or leave a comment on the article.