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Pain in Wrist and Hand

Do you suffer from pain in the wrist and hand?
Do you do a lot of repetitive activities, sit at a computer all day, do a lot of gardening or even look after a new baby?

Elbow, wrist and hand pain are very common complaints that we Melbourne osteopaths see, and cause a lot of pain, discomfort and cause stress with activities of daily living. Tasks such as brushing/washing your hair, picking up the kettle, or carrying the shopping bags can be difficult.

When it comes to the wrist hand, the more common injuries are primarily due to repetitive strain, but also acute injuries such as falls on the outstretched hand, or even knocks to the hand can also cause both short and long term problems due to local inflammation, muscle spasm and body compensations.

The wrist itself is made up of 8 small bones, which are held together by many ligaments to give it stability, but also flexibility. The elbow has many muscle that attach around it which are generally long muscles which travel down from the elbow and run over the front and back of the wrist and attach onto the hand – this is why a lot of wrist complaints can often stem from the elbow as well, and cause pain and discomfort, as well as weakness, in both areas.

Common symptoms that can present in the elbow, forearm, wrist and hand can include:

  • Pain, both dull and achy but also sharp with twinges
  • Muscle tightness and Joint Stiffness
  • Numbness and Tingling
  • Swelling
  • Weakness

The conditions around the wrist and hand area that osteopaths commonly treat include:

  • Elbow and Wrist strain and sprain of ligaments
  • De Quervains tenosynovitis
  • Ulnar neuritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Golfers Elbow – Medial Epicondylitis
  • Tennis Elbow – Lateral Epicondylitis
  • Bursitis
  • Ganglions
  • Referral from shoulder or neck

In order to determine the cause of the wrist and hand pain a full case history is taken – followed by a physical, orthopedic and if required, a neurological examination of the wrist, hand and elbow, and often the upper limb and neck region will be carried out. You may be required to perform range of motion exercises and activities to test muscle strength and functionality. Once a provisional diagnosis is made, osteopathic treatment may involve:

  • Massage, mobilization, stretching of the affected areas, and/or of the upper limb, shoulder and neck, as well as other osteopathic techniques for the connective tissue and joints
  • Dry needling of trigger points in the arm, forearm and possibly shoulder
  • Specific exercises including range of motion, stretching or strengthening programs for muscles of arm, shoulder or neck.

Other home management strategies employed for this area include:

  • Ice therapy
  • Ergonomic advice of workplace (mouse/keyboard), day to day activities (cleaning, lifting, shopping etc)
  • Strengthening or stretching exercises
  • Possible taping, bracing, or supportive devices
  • Pharmaceutical or natural remedies to help with pain and inflammation

Further management of the wrist, elbow and hand area can be varied depending on the condition. Sometimes imaging such as ultrasound, CT or MRI is required to confirm a diagnosis and further management – such as pharmaceutical intervention or whether referral to a sports doctor or orthopaedic surgeon is necessary.

Sometimes wrist, hand and elbow pain can be quite severe but easily treated, so best not wait around for it to get worse! If you are looking for an osteopath in South Melbourne, please be in touch if you have any further questions or if we can be of further assistance to you!

Categories: Pain Relief