Wrist Pain: Causes, Diagnosis, Relief and Treatment
Wrist pain is a common problem. It is usually brought on by a sprain or a fracture from an accident or injury. However, it can also be a result of long-term conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, or recurring stress.
Wrist Pain Causes
When any part of your wrist is injured, you are likely to feel pain. You find it difficult to use your hand and wrist. The injury is one of the more common wrist pain causes. The injury may be a result of a sprain or fracture. It can also result from using or moving the wrist repetitively, causing it undue stress.
When you hit a tennis ball, play the cello, or drive cross country with no break for hours, the repetitive wrist movement can cause the joint tissue to swell. Wrist pain can result from De Quervain’s tendinosis or tendinitis. This is the inflammation of the wrist tendons located at the base of the thumbs. The condition is usually a result of overuse or repetitive wrist movement.
The pain can also be a result of carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that is caused by a pinched or compressed nerve in the wrist. You also experience wrist pain if you have arthritis. Arthritis refers to the condition where your joints become inflamed due to the deterioration of the cartilage (found between the joints) which serves as a cushion.
Wrist Pain Symptoms
The most common wrist pain symptoms depend on the cause. If your wrist pain is caused by De Quervain’s tendinitis or tendinosis, you are likely to feel a sudden or gradual pain around the area of your thumb. The pain can travel from the thumb and up the forearm. You will find it painful to turn your wrist, to grasp or hold objects, or to make a fist.
The symptoms may also be a result of carpal tunnel syndrome, a common nerve disorder. The pain affects the fingers, particularly the middle finger, index finger and the thumb, making it difficult for you to get a firm grip on objects. The symptoms can also show on the forearm, wrist, and palm. These areas are likely to feel numb or weak. Or they may have a tingling sensation.
The discomforts and pain are usually stronger at night. If the wrist pain is caused by a fracture or a broken bone, you are likely to feel a lot of pain and stiffness. Your hand may swell. You may find it difficult to move your hand because of the intense pain.
Arthritis is another leading cause of wrist pain.
When you lose cartilage in the joints of your hand, it becomes painful to move certain parts including the end joint (the area close to the fingertip), the middle joints of the fingers, as well as the base of your thumb. The areas can swell and become stiff, making movement difficult.
Wrist Pain Diagnosis
Wrist pain diagnosis can be reached through several tests and methods:
• Physical Exam
Your doctor will check for inflammation, tenderness, or any irregularity. He will check the range of motion of your wrist, the strength of your forearm, and the power of your grip.
• Imaging Tests
If he finds it necessary, he will ask for imaging tests like x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasound tests. These tests provide a more detailed view of your wrist and the surrounding areas so your doctor is better able to make a sound diagnosis.
If the imaging tests do not produce conclusive results, your doctor may perform an arthroscopy, inserting an arthroscope into your wrist for more precise imaging.
Wrist Pain Treatment
The common wrist pain treatments will depend on several factors including your general health and age, as well as on the type, extent, and location of the pain.
You can address wrist pain by taking pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These are available over the counter. If you want stronger painkillers, your doctor may be able to prescribe these for you.
Wrist pain and tendon issues can be addressed by specific therapeutic exercises and treatments. A physical therapist can suggest the therapy most appropriate for your needs. In case of a really bad fracture or sprain, your doctor may recommend a splint or cast.
In severe cases like broken bones, severe carpal tunnel syndrome, and ruptured ligaments and tendons, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Home Remedies and Prevention
Wrist pain can be a result of many factors. Your doctor needs to accurately diagnose your condition and pinpoint the exact cause of the pain so he can prescribe the appropriate treatment. There are many cases, however, where wrist pain may not require extensive medical care.
The pain may be a result of a minor sprain. You may try to apply basic wrist pain remedy to address the problem. You have many options. If you play tennis or play a musical instrument that requires extensive wrist movement, you may want to give your wrist a rest.
You may also want to apply a cold compress on the swelling. An ice pack works well to relieve pain and inflammation. You may want to take an over-the-counter analgesic or anti-inflammatory medication for wrist pain relief. It is also prudent to take specific measures to protect your wrist.
Make sure that you get enough calcium to strengthen your bones. You prevent fractures if you have strong bones.
When you fall, you instinctively try to stop the fall with your outstretched hands and injure your wrist in the process.
Take precautionary measures to prevent falls. Use sensible shoes. Get rid of home hazards. Make sure that your living space has adequate lighting. If you engage in athletic activities, make sure that you use the necessary protective gear. Use wrist guards for activities like rollerblading, snowboarding, or football.
Be conscientious about ergonomics. Make sure that you take breaks regularly if you spend long hours at your keyboard. When typing, keep your wrists relaxed. If necessary, get a gel or foam wrist support or an ergonomic keyboard to prevent wrist pain.
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