Hey, it’s Jennifer. Today I want to talk about wrist pain, especially with overhead movements, like weight holding and stuff like that. If your wrists hurt when you’re holding a barbell or weight overhead, it might actually be coming from your shoulder. Why is that?
When you’re holding something overhead, ideally, you want the weight to be straight vertical/stacked over your ankles. If your shoulders are tight, and you’re a bit more forward you might compensate in another area. It’s a lot harder to hold a weight in front than it is to hold it stacked straight, so if your shoulders don’t let you get all the way vertical, the compensation we often make, is holding the weight further up in the hand, which really stresses your wrist. When the weight is stacked straight over the bone the bone can just hold it up rather than stressing your wrist joint in a super extended position. If you’re doing overhead work with a barbell or a weight and you have wrist pain, you might try loosening up the upper back and shoulders beforehand and see if that can help with the wrist pain and allow you to get into a better overhead position.
So a few ways to do that include foam rolling the mid to upper back. If you can get your foam roller behind the shoulder blades and let yourself really open up and arch over the foam roller and roll up and down for about a minute. You can also do a lat stretch. Hold a broomstick or a PVC with your hands in reverse grip, put your elbows on a box or couch or whatever you’ve got, and open up the shoulder angle by straightening & bending with your stick. You can also do something like a wall angel, done by sitting or standing against the wall – back flat against the wall trying to drive the arms back into the wall. If you can’t get there, that’s okay, just work on getting back to the wall as best you can. If you are able to touch the wall with the back of your hand work on sliding your arms up or down the wall, overhead.
Try to correct your overhead work with those three things and then check your position and where you’re holding the weight overhead. Is it stacked right above your arm bones in the heel palm of your hand or is it up in your fingers because that’ll be more stressful for the wrist?
Here at Peak Endurance Performance & Physical Therapy we help active adults in the Madison Area get back to the activities they love without pain or limitations. We see people of all ages, ability levels, and individuals trying to get back to a multitude of movements including: getting back into running, women postpartum, CrossFit athletes, climbers, gymnasts, wrestlers, overhead athletes, and your recreational weekend warrior. If you’re looking to get back to the activities that give you meaning, relieve stress, and make you feel like you again, feel free to reach out below and we’ll see if we’re the right fit for you.