Many people complain of pain in their wrists, although the causes are different. These pains are usually caused by ligament sprains due to minor trauma, although there may be other causes including arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, gout, repetitive stress, tendonitis, and fractures. bone. Since there are several factors that can cause wrist pain, making an accurate diagnosis is then important in determining the most effective treatment to administer. Either way, treating wrist pain at home follows the same process regardless of the cause.
Part 1 of 2: treat wrist pain at home
Step 1. Rest your injured wrist
If you experience pain in one of your wrists (or both), stop the activity that is causing the discomfort and rest for a few minutes, hours or even a few days depending on the trigger. In addition to resting, it's a good idea to keep your wrist above heart level as much as possible to help prevent swelling and inflammation from getting worse.
- If you do repetitive tasks, like working as a cashier, or constantly writing on a computer, a 15-minute break from work may be enough to reduce the irritation on your wrist.
- Be aware that severe trauma to the wrist, whether at work or when playing sports, requires more time to rest and a medical examination.
Step 2. Change your workstation
Much of the mild to moderate pain in the wrist is due to performing repetitive tasks at home or at work. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also an example of a repetitive stress fracture in the wrist that irritates the central nerve circulating in the hand. To treat sprains and repetitive strain injuries, it is crucial that you make adjustments to your work environment. For example, you can lower your keyboard so that your wrists are not facing up as you type, adjust the height of your chair so that your forearms are parallel to the floor. It is also recommended to use an ergonomic pad for typing, an adjustable keyboard and a mouse.
- Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include burning, numbness, tingling sensations in the wrist or palms, pain, and weakness and reduced dexterity.
- Cashiers, people who work extensively on computers, play racket sports, sew, write, paint, and those who carry out their activities using vibrating tools are at higher risk of developing syndrome. carpal tunnel and other repetitive motion injuries.
Step 3. Wear a wrist brace
The other helpful strategy you can use to prevent and lessen most types of wrist pain is to wear splints specifically designed for that part of the body. These are also called braces or braces. Wrist splints come in different sizes and made from different materials, but it should be noted that they are all intended to alleviate wrist pain. Depending on your lifestyle or your profession, you can start with a less restrictive model (made of neoprene for example) which allows you to perform more movements instead of a more rigid variant which is certainly more adequate but also more restrictive.
- You may be required to wear the brace only during the day while you are at work or at the gym to protect your wrists.
- However, some people also need to wear the splints at night in order to keep their wrists in an extended position, which prevents irritation of blood vessels and nerves. This state of affairs is common in people who suffer from arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
- You can find wrist splints at most medical supply stores and drugstores. Your doctor may make one available to you for free if you ask.
Step 4. Put ice on the most sensitive area
Injury to the wrist from sudden shock (such as falling on an outstretched hand or lifting something that's too heavy) causes immediate pain, bruising, and inflammation. The best way to alleviate this type of pain is to perform cryotherapy as soon as possible, as it reduces or prevents swelling.
- The most suitable types of cryotherapy for the wrist are those which involve the use, among other things, of ice cubes, crushed ice, refrigerated containers and small sachets of frozen vegetables (or fruits).
- For best results, it is advisable to perform cryotherapy on the most sensitive and swollen part of your wrist for about 10 to 15 minutes every hour for about five hours after injuring yourself.
- No matter what type of cryotherapy you choose, you should avoid doing it directly on the skin of your wrist. Instead, wrap the ice in a towel or thin cloth first to prevent frostbite.
Step 5. Take over-the-counter medications
It doesn't matter whether your wrist pain is chronic (lasts for a few months) or acute (caused by a sudden injury), taking over-the-counter medications can be helpful for its treatment as well as for providing more mobility and variety. in the movements. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, such as naproxen and ibuprofen, are generally more effective in treating acute wrist pain because they not only treat the problem, but the inflammation as well. On the other hand, pain relievers like acetaminophen are more indicated for treating chronic health problems like arthritis.
- Short-term use of over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories (i.e. over less than two weeks at a time) is recommended to avoid common side effects such as intestinal upset, stomach irritation, and impaired function of organs (in this case the kidneys, liver).
- Avoid taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs at the same time, and always be sure to follow the dosage information that is marked on the medication package for best results.
Step 6. Do stretching and strengthening exercises
You should do strengthening and flexibility exercises every day as long as your wrist is not broken or badly swollen to avoid and treat the pain that will occur in this area. Increasing the flexibility and intensity of the tendons and ligaments in your wrists allows them to take more of the effects of your training and work. Additionally, with carpal tunnel syndrome, stretching exercises will relieve pressure from the median nerve that innervates the muscles in the hand.
- For an excellent extension-type wrist stretch, it is important that you adopt a prayer position by bringing both palms of your hands together. Then lift your elbows until you feel the effect of the stretch in your wrists. Hold this movement for about 30 seconds and do this three to five times a day for great results.
- Strengthening the muscles of the wrist can be done with rubber bands or light dumbbells (less than 5 kilos). To do this, you must hold the dumbbells or the rubber bands while having the palms of your hands facing upwards. Then flex your wrists towards your body against the tension.
- It is advisable to always do the stretching and strengthening exercises for both wrists together and at the same time, even if only one is hurting you. In fact, both should have the same resistance and flexibility, regardless of which hand is more dominant.
Part 2 of 2: getting treatment for wrist pain
Step 1. Make an appointment with your doctor
If your wrist pain is severe or lasts for more than a week, then you will need to make an appointment with your doctor for an examination. They can give you x-rays to determine if the bones in your wrists are broken, infected, or dislocated. They may also do a blood test to rule out the possibility of gout, infection, or inflammatory types of arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis.
- Signs that show that a wrist is dislocated or broken include significant reduction in range of motion, severe pain, abnormal angles, and generalized bruising and swelling.
- You may have fractures in the small bones of your wrist (called carpals) or on the ends of the bones in your forearm (the radius and ulna). Falls, slips, and cutting solid objects are common causes of wrist fractures.
- Bone infections of the wrist are rare, but be aware that they can be detected in people who use illegal drugs and triggered by trauma. Signs that indicate a bone infection include discoloration of the skin, swelling, nausea, severe pain, and fever.
Step 2. Take stronger prescription drugs
For more serious injuries as well as advanced and delicate forms of arthritis, be aware that stronger prescription drugs may be needed in the longer term to treat the inflammation and pain you experience in your wrist.. Here are some examples of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that can be prescribed by prescription: fenoprofen, diclofenac, and indomethacin. Also, keep in mind that COX-2 inhibitors, like Celebrex, are a little different non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and they are a little easier to digest.
- Osteoarthritis of the wrist is a “wear and tear” trauma and it usually causes pain, stiffness, and squeaking when you move. Rheumatoid arthritis of the wrist is much more painful and bothersome.
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) may be effective in treating some forms of inflammatory arthritis by killing or shrinking the cells of the immune system that cause inflammation. They are slow acting and work after several weeks or months.
- Another type of prescription drug used to treat rheumatoid arthritis is biologic response modifiers, but they must be injected. These also work by changing how your immune system works.
Step 3. Educate yourself about steroid injections
Another type of anti-inflammatory drug is corticosteroids. They can be taken in tablet form, but it must be said that they are usually injected into the wrist when the pain the patient is feeling does not subside after a few months. In fact, corticosteroids treat pain and swelling quickly and effectively, but they can weaken the bones and tendons in the wrist. As such, this kind of treatment is usually limited to three or four injections per year.
- Bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, severe tendonitis, stress fractures, and flare-ups of inflammatory arthritis are valid reasons to consider a corticosteroid injection.
- The procedure is quick and can be performed by your doctor. The effects are often felt after a few minutes and can be dramatic, at least for a few weeks or months.
Step 4. Get a referral for physiotherapy
If your wrist pain is chronic and makes you weak, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist who will teach you how to do physical exercises as well as specific stretches. This healthcare professional can also mobilize your joints so that they are not too stiff, which makes it easier to heal from osteoarthritis. Note that physiotherapy is also very useful to restore your wrist to condition after any surgery.
- The physiotherapist may also use electronic machines to strengthen and reduce pain. These are, for example, muscle stimulation or therapeutic ultrasound devices and TENS devices.
- Typically, physiotherapy treatments are given 3 times a week and last for 4-6 weeks for most patients who experience chronic wrist pain.
Step 5. Consider surgery if necessary
Surgery may be needed in some severe cases of wrist pain, especially to treat severe bone fractures, torn tendons, broken joints, and strained ligaments. For serious bone fractures, be aware that your surgeon may be required to insert metal hardware into your wrist, including pins, screws, and plates.
- Most wrist surgeries are performed arthroscopically, a technique that involves using a small cutting instrument with a camera on the end.
- Small wrist fractures usually do not require surgery. These are either plastered or fixed for a few weeks.
- Carpal tunnel surgery is relatively common and involves opening the wrist (and hand) to relieve pressure on the median nerve. It is important to note that the recovery time after this surgery can be up to 6 weeks.
- Reduce the chance of falling on an outstretched hand by wearing comfortable shoes, eliminating anything that poses a fall hazard in the home, installing grab bars in your bathroom, and brightening up your living space.
- Wear wrist guards and other equipment when you want to play risky sports like snowboarding, roller skating, and soccer.
- Women who are postmenopausal, pregnant, diabetic, or overweight have a higher risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Women who do not get enough calcium (that is, much less than 1000 mg per day) have a higher risk of wrist fractures from osteoporosis.