RDL's work more on lower back (and pc in general) endurance. It's not that your back get's less of a workout just a different kind of workout. I have to say that fairly high volume rdl's make my back a lot more tired than regular deads.
Regular deads should not seem to be fucused on the lower back for a properly conditioned and well balanced trainee. That is to say, there should be a good distribution of stress and the lower back should not feel "torched" unless you are a beginner or someone doing high volume deadlifting.
MANY times this feeling of the lower back being well worked out is a false feeling and what your are really feeling are bunched up, tight erectore due to embalance at the hip or lower crossed syndrome, etc.
Just because someone has back pain don't assume it's weak erectors.
Hooks tend to hand the weight off the wrists an make it difficult to actually engage the grips. They are very injurious and I would stay away from them.
Besides getting a grip on your carpal tunnels syndrome (pardon the pun
) you may try some good wrist wraps. Not lifting straps, wraps. Some support for the wrists may help tremendously. Of course I don't know. If you wrap the wrists you want to bring the wrapping all the way to the base of the palm. The kind with thumb loops are best for this.
Thanks very much for the mention of the article, Ross.
Anyway, RDL's are a perfectly acceptable choice to make. But they are done with lower intensity higher volume so you have to change things around appropriately.