He would probably be better off taking ibuprofen for his wrists, assuming it is an inflammation problem.
The point I was trying (maybe failing) to get at, was these drugs regardless of their chemical makeup, most of the time, some of us don't need them but we take the clutch anyway.
They are pain reliefs, not solutions to whatever the pain was caused by.
But that shouldn't distract from your general point which I find hard to disagree with: pain medication is symptomatic relief. That doesn't make it irrelevant, but it doesn't mean people should ignore the underlying causes either. At the same time, these causes are sometimes idiopathic, (short term) unavoidable or (long term) untreatable.