Can wrist pain be connected to back pain?

Back, Neck, and Wrist Pain Treatment San Francisco We have been helping patients with back and wrist pain in downtown San Francisco for around 20 years now. When we first started, office workers and professionals would perform various tasks throughout the day and there would be a lot of moving around. Today, it's pretty much sitting in front of the computer all day with a few breaks here and there. Then, more at home.

Well…not only is there an entire body of recent research that suggests that sitting all day is bad for your heart, your internal organs, your immune system, and your skeletal system…sitting for prolonged periods doing repetitive motions is terrible for your back and hard on your wrists.

Think about it. Life is Motion. We are designed to be running around the woods hunting for food and getting plenty of exercise and sunlight. When we deprive ourselves of this movement we steer ourselves in the direction of illness. 

The nerves that control the upper extremities (arms and hands). exit from the upper back and neck. When you sit for long periods…especially if you do not have a properly set-up workstation, it causes tremendous stress on the spinal bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons of the spine. This can lead to muscle spasms that can pull the bones out of alignment (vertebral subluxation) pinching the nerves that control the arm and hand.

For the most part, this happens silently. Then at a certain point you begin to feel things like weakness of grip, numbness, tingling, and wrist pain. There may or may not be any back or neck pain.

This type of injury is referred to as a Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI).

A good chiropractor or therapist will quickly determine during the exam and consultation if you have RSI, or if the cause is something else. RSI takes longer to treat than a new muscle strain from say sleeping funny or putting together a piece of furniture..or a fresh sports injury. A good doctor knows the difference. 

Fortunately, with the advancement of medical technology, treating back and wrist pain has become a whole lot easier. In addition to the manual therapies that have served us well for so long (and are still the cornerstone of our treatment) we have Deep Tissue Laser, Active Release Technique, Graston Technique, and Kinesio Taping…as well as Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression. All of which can be mixed and matched per individual needs. It's rare when we can't get the job done. 

So, YES…wrist pain and back pain can be connected. And your wrist pain may still be connected to your back even if there is no back pain (or neck pain). A doctor that treats back and wrist pain day in and day out will be able to check your back and neck and determine if it is the source of your hand pain.

Our San Francisco Chiropracors treat the full spine and upper extremities on both sides (shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers) when a patient presents with RSI. After-all…the spine functions as a unit. And when RSI builds up slowly over time…it throws everything out.

Same with the upper extremities. When you have pain in say the wrist…you favor it and use the other side more…now you are at risk to develop overuse  syndrome on that side. Same with the shoulders and elbows…they are connected to the wrists. When the wrists are injured, they have to work more than they should and can lose alignment (this may or may not be symptomatic).

Anyway…as you can see, there is a lot involved in the treatment on back, neck, and wrist pain. And who treats you matters. Do they use this comprehensive approach and have the skills to deliver the goods…or is it just wrist splints and Motrin? And not all chiropractors are equal either. Some have no clue what to do. So do your homework. And if you need help finding a chiropractor in your area send me an email at

That's about it on this topic…I hope you found it useful.

Dr. Eben Davis is an expert on the nonsurgical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), repetitive stress injuries, and beck, neck, and wrist pain. Dr. Davis has helped train thousands of chiropractors on how to treat CTS and it's related disorders.

If you live or work near the San Francisco Financial District and would like to find out if you are a candidate for neck, back, or wrist pain treatment…call Executive Express Chiropractic at 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.  

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Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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0 thoughts on “Can wrist pain be connected to back pain?

  1. John

    Loved the blog post. Very thought-provoking topic. I’m curious to know your thoughts on standing work stations. I feel more productive when I stand and work, but how would that affect peoples bodies?

    Flexcin John

  2. Dr. David Livingston

    Dr. Davis has mastered the art of Chiropractic and therefore treats the whole person instead of the isolated condition. He can determine where the problem is in the spine and this will help alleviate OTHER symptoms on the extremities.

  3. Back Pain

    I had a hard time admitting I was having pain in my right elbow and right shoulder. This only existed when I spent full days at the computer, and I thought I could easily see the root cause of my problem. I switched my mouse to my left, non-dominant hand and the problems still slightly existed. Based on feedback from my co-workers, I decided to give it a try one of those ergonomic mouse and it has eliminated the discomfort and pain I was having while working at my desk.

  4. Sean M.

    Wow, this article is an eye-opener! I am an executive chef and the job requires a lot of repetitive hand movements, especially when prepping food for dinner service. When I was younger, I used to shrug off pain more, but now that I am middle age, it’s getting harder to ignore. Over the past year, my wrist has been acting up as well as my back. I never thought the two might be connected! I appreciate the information and will be making an appointment soon. Have a great day!

  5. Mike Cannon

    Regarding your comment, “Life is Motion.” — perhaps it should read, “Life Should Be Motion.” As you point out, a large number of people are slaves to their desks now and when they go home, become couch potatoes! Heath-wise it is a bad situation. I just read a scary article on Mashable that for every hour of TV we watch, our lifespan is shortened by 22 minutes! [STUDY] –


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