If you’re experiencing wrist pain, you’re not alone. Many people suffer from wrist pain at some point in their lives. Before we talked about the treatment options, let’s discuss first the causes, symptoms and diagnosis of wrist pain.
Wrist Pain Causes
There are many potential causes of wrist pain, some more common than others.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A condition that results from pressure on the median nerve, which runs from your forearm to your hand. This pressure can cause pain, tingling, or numbness in the hand and wrist.
Arthritis: A condition that affects the joints, causing inflammation and pain. There are many different types of arthritis, but the two most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Repetitive Stress: Repetitive stress injuries occur when you repeatedly use the same muscles or joints over a long period of time. This can cause pain, inflammation, and tissue damage.
Strains or Fractures: Strains are injuries to the muscles or ligaments, while fractures are breaks in the bone. Both of these injuries can cause pain and swelling in the wrist.
Wrist Pain Symptoms
The symptoms of wrist pain can vary depending on the cause. Some of the most common symptoms include:
Sharp Pain: This is the most common symptom of wrist pain. The pain may be sharp or stabbing, or it may be a dull ache.
Tingling or Numbness: Many people with carpal tunnel syndrome experience tingling or numbness in the hand and wrist.
Swelling: Swelling is often present with strains or fractures.
Weakness: If the nerve damage caused by carpal tunnel syndrome is severe, you may experience weakness in the hand and wrist.
Stiffness: Carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis can cause stiffness in the hand and wrist.
Difficulty moving the wrist or hand: A common symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries.
Pain when gripping or squeezing something: A common symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis.
Wrist Pain Diagnosis
Because so many factors can cause wrist pain, determining the exact cause may be difficult, but obtaining an accurate diagnosis is critical for effective therapy and recovery.
There are a number of ways to diagnose wrist pain. The first step is to identify the cause and severity of the problem. The doctor will likely ask about the symptoms and when they began. They will also perform a physical examination, looking for swelling, pain and tenderness around the wrist. X-ray or MRI may be ordered to help rule out other causes of the pain, such as a fracture.
If you are experiencing chronic wrist pain, see your doctor immediately to get help finding a treatment that works for you.
Treatment Options for Wrist Pain
Now that we have talked about the causes, symptoms and diagnosis of wrist pain, let’s discuss the various treatment options.
Rest: Rest is often one of the first steps in treating wrist pain. You may need to take a break from activities that are causing the pain.
Ice: Ice can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Apply ice to the wrist for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day.
Compression: Compressing the wrist can help reduce swelling and pain. You can do this by wearing a brace or using an elastic bandage.
Elevation: Elevating the wrist can also help reduce swelling. Prop your arm on a pillow when resting to help keep the wrist elevated.
Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy may be helpful in treating carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and other causes of wrist pain. Exercises may help improve flexibility and strength in the hand and wrist.
Surgery: Surgery may be necessary to treat arthritis or fractured bones. Surgery can help relieve pressure on the nerve or bones, which reduces pain and allows for healing. If the carpal tunnel syndrome is severe and other treatments haven’t worked, your doctor may recommend surgery. This surgery involves cutting the ligament that is pressing on the nerve.
The causes of wrist pain can be complex and range from overuse to injuries. There are many treatment options available, but the best option for you will depend on the underlying cause of your wrist pain. If you are experiencing wrist pain, please contact The Orthopaedic & Pain Practice for a consultation. They will work with you to help you find relief and develop a treatment plan that helps you get back to your everyday activities as quickly as possible.