If you’ve ever had hand pain or wrist pain, you know how difficult it is to get anything accomplished while trying to deal with the discomfort. Both daily tasks and special opportunities can be a literal pain rather than an enjoyable activity due to the problems associated with hand and wrist pain. However, getting the pain treated first requires identifying what is causing the problem in the first place. Here are some common culprits that can cause pain in the hands and wrists.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
One of the most common hand disorders, Carpal tunnel is thought to affect anywhere from 3% to 6% of the general population. This disorder happens when the median nerve, which controls movement and feeling in your thumb and first three fingers, gets pinched due to swelling in the Carpal tunnel. Carpal Tunnel has become a big culprit of hand pain due to the use of computers and modern technology since it is common when one performs the same movements repeatedly – especially with the hands lower than the wrist, such as during typing. The biggest symptoms of Carpal tunnel include shooting pain in the fingers and hand, going as far up as the shoulder, tingling in the fingers, numbness, or weakness. At the beginning of the condition, shaking the hand will usually help the symptoms subside, but over time this approach no longer works. Pain is most likely to occur at night and is usually severe enough to wake you up. Generally, stopping the repetitive motion is important in treating Carpal Tunnel; surgery may also be necessary.
De Quervain’s Tendonitis
This specific type of tendonitis is a big culprit for pain in the thumb and the thumb-side of one’s wrist. The pain may develop gradually, but it can also come on suddenly as well and may extend all the way up the forearm. Movements such as holding onto an object, turning your wrist, or making a fist are often extremely painful. De Quervain’s tendonitis is caused by swelling in the wrist tendons, which are located at the base of the thumb. Generally, this swelling is caused by irritation and inflammation, which can be brought on in a variety of ways. Like with Carpal Tunnel, repetitive activities can over stimulate the tendons and cause De Quervain’s. Another risk factor is having, either currently in the past or at one time, a wrist fracture. Getting relief may come through wearing a splint, using anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone shots, or even surgery.
The leading cause of pain in the hands, arthritis is a common offender for many people’s throbbing hands. Arthritis affects the joints making them lose cartilage. Cartilage is very important to the well-being of the body because it is what allows joints to move smoothly against each other. As more and more cartilage is lost, the joints rubbing against each other each time a person moves or uses the hand can cause debilitating pain. Generally, arthritis symptoms present and worsen gradually over a long period time. In addition to pain, arthritis sufferers are likely to dell with swelling and stiffness of the hand. As the joints become more and more affected, it can become difficult or impossible to flex or move the joints in the hand, leading to them becoming locked in a certain position.
In the hands, the most common areas for a person to struggle with arthritis include the base of the thumb, the middle joints of the fingers, and the end joint of the fingers – near the finger tip. Severe cases of arthritis may need treatment with surgery, but generally analgesics for pain and anti-inflammatory medications can help keep arthritis in check. Additionally, using a splint for support, attending occupational and physical therapy, and applying heat may also help.
Pain in the hands and wrists can be a serious issue for many people. The ability to use and manipulate the hands is important and many of the issues which cause pain continue to worsen over time rather than improving. This is why it is important for individuals who have continuing hand pain to seek professional medical diagnosis and treatment.