How Does Stretching Help Wrist Pain?

The most common cause of wrist pain is repetitive motion in the wrist. This is true of any joint or area of the body... when we repetitively use that area eventually it experiences wear and tear and ultimately pain and injury... the wrist is no different. Things like driving, excessive typing in the office, gaming, or playing sports that use the wrists a lot - like tennis - are all examples of a repetitive movement in the wrist and hand that can lead to pain. 

Arthritis is another common cause for wrist pain. Or a direct physical impact to the wrist that can cause a sprain or fracture - like falling and landing on your hand. Sometimes people experience ganglion cysts in the wrists or other common ailments include Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and tendonitis. 

When you have wrist pain you might experience limited mobility and pain when using the flexor and extensor muscles near your wrist - the muscles responsible for bending your wrist up and down and twisting it side to side. Physical therapy (often the first line of treatment before drugs and surgeries) takes the approach of wrist strengthening exercises and focusing on the muscles near the wrist to get them strong to relieve wrist pain.  

How to stop and fix wrist pain.

One thing we see a lot when people have wrist pain is it's hard from them to do many exercises because so often you need to apply pressure to the wrists in order to do them. Luckily at Bendable Body we have numerous versions of stretches for each muscle group - so that if one position doesn't work for your wrists, another one will. 

The best way to address your wrist pain is to look for the cause. This is always dense fascia that has accumulated over time in an area of the body far removed from where you are experiencing the pain - namely your wrists. 

Your wrists hurt and feel stiff because they are overworking. They are over working because other key muscles in your body stopped working due to an accumulation of dense fascia. If we address the source, the symptom goes away in a long lasting way. 

Believe it or not the source of your wrist pain is coming from muscles up higher in your shoulders and chest:

  • Biceps
  • Pectoralis Minor
  • Teres Major
  • Upper Trapezius 

When you do stretches (with resistance to remove the dense, unhealthy fascia) for these muscle groups, you will see major relief in your wrists. 

There are a number of reasons that these larger muscles have a big impact on the wrists... but one primary reason is that they impact the shoulder and when there is a pain in one joint, there is typically also dysfunction in the other nearby joints. It all comes down to the rotation and alignment from one joint to the next. It's like a domino affect. 

If your shoulder is compromised or misaligned in any way, that misalignment will extend to the elbow and the wrist respectively. And vice versa. Because the muscles up by the shoulder are bigger in size, they often play the biggest role in what is going on throughout the arm, wrist and hands. This is why it is very important to address these larger muscles to alleviate your wrist pain. 

Stretches for Wrist Pain

There are a number of stretches you can do to solve wrist pain, but the 2 most impactful that go to the root cause are for the Skin (Teres Major, Upper Trapezius) and Pericardium (Biceps, Pectoralis Minor) Meridians. Remember, at Bendable Body we call muscle groups by their meridian/organ association. In this video we share 2 stretches for each of these muscle groups that don't put pressure on the wrists. Depending on how severe the issue is will determine how often and for how long you need to do these stretches. 

Watch this video and learn the best stretches for wrist pain and stiffness:

9 thoughts on “How Does Stretching Help Wrist Pain?”

  1. Stephanie Hammar

    Thank you for your helpful tips.
    I cannot find anything for elbow pain. It starts at the inner bone & runs down the arm to hand. Similar to ‘tennis elbow.’
    Thanks so much & have. Nice day,

    1. We’ll be doing a blog post on elbow pain soon. Stretches for the small intestine meridian and heart meridian would really help.

  2. My left wrist started hurting yesterday. Just tried these exercises and it already feels a LOT better. Thanks!

  3. Thank you so much for this – it is right on time! I have been having severe carpal tunnel in my right wrist. I have been to TCM Dr and have gotten acupuncture and cupping and massage there. And a chiropractor with sports medicine and rehab background and there has been no improvement. I am having hard dead numbness and am dropping things and am almost ready to opt for surgery.
    But I am going to give this a try first. I love your program -thank you! I just thought i would need to wait till there is not so much pain in wrists before stretching but now i understand better and will try it now. Thank you again

  4. I just finished a full body flow and then the stretches in the above video and I can feel a difference! Hopefully that will continue and it will let me get some sleep tonight!

  5. Stephanie Hammar

    2nd question about form on the first stretch in video….if we are standing perpendicular to the wall with “elbow pressing into wall,” – how much of the rest of the arm should be against the wall? if i try to do more than the elbow, i am forced to stand in an outward angle.

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