Hand pain is not just annoying, it is a lingering discomfort which can disrupt normal functioning. The swelling and stiffness that are invariably involved can reduce the strength of the hand along with the ability to carry out routine tasks which could be as simple as buttoning the shirt or writing or buckling up the shoe.
The treatment of hand pain is solely based on the causes and therefore, it is important to know what’s causing the trouble.
Causes of Hand Pain
Many conditions are responsible for contributing to swelling and pain in hand and, some of the most common causes include:
- Arthritis: The leading cause of hand pain is definitely inflammation of the joints known as arthritis. Though it may occur anywhere in the body, it mostly affects the hand.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: This disorder takes place when the median nerve gets squeezed by a carpal tunnel that has been narrowed. It may be caused by inflammation, irritated tendons or swelling.
- Gout: Being a complex form of arthritis, gout is an extremely painful condition that can affect any part of the body including the hand.
Managing Hand Pain
The following suggestions can help in easing the pain and offering relief without having to undergo surgery.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Such drugs can help in reducing the pain and inflammation by checking the enzymes responsible for causing an undesired sensation. But according to experts, if your hand pain is caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, then such medications may not be helpful. Make sure that you consult an expert before taking such medications since the unwanted use of such drugs is linked to stomach bleeding, liver problems, ulcers, and heart attacks.
- Injections: A suitable corticosteroid injection right into the affected joint can help in reducing inflammation.
- Splinting: A splint helps in stabilizing the position of the thumb, fingers or wrists. Often, wearing a splint for few weeks together can help the inflammation to settle down.
- Heat and cold therapy: Heat can help in loosening stiffness and therefore taking hot showers every day can fetch effective results. On the other hand, cold is effective when the hand pain has stemmed out of any activity such as playing tennis or golf. It can be applied in the form of flexible pads made of frozen gels which can aid in relieving the three-dimensional structure of the hand.
- Exercise: A physical therapist can work on your hand’s muscles and tendons and guide you through different movements and exercises that can strengthen the muscles. This will help in absorbing the stress on the joints and restore normal function of the hand.
It is, however, important to speak to an orthopaedic expert who can select the most suitable combination of treatment for you.