Wrist pain can inhibit normal everyday activities, making it difficult to type or text or even hold a cup of coffee. Seeing that the wrist is a rather complex part of the body, it is necessary to carefully evaluate wrist pain so an appropriate course of treatment may be developed. Our experienced clinical staff has a wealth of training to formulate treatment plants that reduce pain and improve joint function.
The way that wrist pain manifests physically is generally dictated by the underlying problem. For instance, people who have developed carpal tunnel syndrome may experience a tingling sensation, while people with arthritis may suffer a frustrating, dull ache that persists at all times. Observing the location of wrist pain and its characteristics provides the necessary clues to determine appropriate action.
Causes of Wrist Pain
Wrist pain may result from a known injury, from overuse, or from progressive degeneration of the joint.
- Impact injuries may occur during sports such as skateboarding or snowboarding. A simple fall that is braced by the hands could also result in a sprain, strain, or fracture to the wrist joint. A sprain affects the ligaments that surround the joint and may resolve with rest and ice. Similarly, a strain, which occurs in the muscles and tendons of the wrist, may also resolve with minimal intervention. Acupuncture and physical therapy, as well, provide valuable assistance in the healing process.
- Repetitive stress may also adversely affect the muscles or tendons around the wrist joint. Pain may feel worse when wrist movement occurs under resistance. Sometimes, the stress of repetitive motion in the wrist manifests as pain at the base of the thumb. Learning how to maneuver certain motions can reduce the stress on an overworked wrist and, in turn, minimize the risk of future strain.
About Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often mistaken as a repetitive strain injury. It can be, but there are also other underlying causes of inflammation within the central area of the wrist, known as the carpal tunnel. People who work with vibrating machinery may develop this condition, as may pregnant women or other individuals who are prone to fluid retention. In some cases, genetic factors play a role in the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include localized wrist pain, as well as tingling or numbness in the hands. The little finger is generally not affected. However, pain and other sensations from carpal tunnel syndrome could radiate upwards into the forearm and shoulder. Carpal tunnel syndrome also does not have to be unilateral. In some cases, both arms are affected at the same time.
It is often assumed that splint therapy is necessary for the management of carpal tunnel syndrome. That may not always be the case. Proper treatment may involve anti-inflammatory medications, ice and rest, and professional modalities such as those offered in our Monmouth County facilities.
- Acupuncture has long been used to treat pain and other ailments. Recent research from a study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital indicates that acupuncture is a viable treatment option for long-term improvements in the reduction of mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome. It not only “opens up” the path for blood circulation, but also changes brain mapping, as demonstrated in MRI scans during the mentioned research study.
- Chiropractic care is also appropriate for many cases of carpal tunnel. Treatment encompasses the wrist, elbow, and the upper spine to minimize inflammation along nerve meridians and improve both tissue healing and functional movement.
- Physical therapy may occur as an alternative to surgical treatment for carpal tunnel or as a follow up to such care. The intent in treating this type of wrist pain with physical therapy is to promote proper body mechanics as a way to support functional wrist movement in the future.
There are several reasons that wrist pain may develop, either suddenly or gradually. It is beneficial to schedule an examination with your medical doctor or other clinicians if wrist pain is severe or persistent. The early treatment of wrist pain prevents unnecessary stress and discomfort and can also decrease the risk of extensive damage to this important joint.
Contact us to schedule care at one of our physical medicine facilities in Monmouth County.