I have had the Les Paul for 10 years, the problem I have is when playing bar chords my thumb will not be on the back of the neck, this means that i have to rotate my wrist forward so that the index finger reaches the top e string, this then makes my hand a wrist hurt.
This is YOUR problem, not the guitar's problem.
You are making your wrist hurt by playing in the wrong position. Millions of players play Les Pauls every day. Even women, with small hands, and they too can do bar chords. A lot of them even play nylon string classicals.
In fact, one of the best classical virtuosos of our time is a Chinese woman by the name of Li Jie. Talk about small hands! Does it limit her ability to play? Heck no, she has technique. Look her up on Youtube, you won't be disappointed.
I don't agree with jemjem. If the student cannot bring up the discipline by himself, then he needs to be forced into proper technique by playing guitars that won't allow any other way. This makes it easy for the teacher too. He can just say "See, you're doing it wrong, this hurts. If you do it right, it won't hurt".
Lesson #1: Point the neck upwards, put the wrist under the neck, and the thumb behind the neck. That's the way to play bar chords, do any amount of stretching etc. People have been playing like this for decades. They have their reasons.
In fact, I know of teachers who tell their students to first practice without using the thumb whatsoever. Just make the bar chord from the wrist.