Hand pain refers to the pain in one or both the hands. The pain may be a constant ache or a sudden throbbing pain caused by an injury or trauma causing damage to the muscles, bones, or connective tissues of the hands. It can also be caused due to some medical condition such as arthritis, fractures, sprains, cysts, etc. If you have a hand pain you will feel a tingling sharp pain in the hand, numbness, difficulty in making a fist or holding objects, etc.
Proper treatment of hand pain requires correct diagnosis. Hand pain that is caused by injury to the fingers or Ganglion cysts usually go away quickly. However, if the pain is caused by an underlying medical condition, it needs to be treated before it can lead to further complications. Some of these medical conditions include gout, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that causes hand pain due to pinching of a nerve in the wrist. Fractures in bones and dislocation of joints are common causes of hand pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune chronic disease that causes inflammation of joints resulting in stiffness and hand pain.
In most cases hand pain related to injury abates and goes away on its own within a few days. However, treatment is required if the pain persists or its intensity and duration increases.
In most cases, hand pain related to an injury goes without treatment. However, to ease the pain your doctor will suggest adequate rest, ice compressions, heat packs, and specific medications. Ice is a great pain reliever that can help remove heat from the tissues and control inflammation if you suffer from a sprain or strain. Apply ice cubes wrapped in a towel or use an ice-pack for 15-20 minutes at an interval of 3-4 hours on the injured portion. Once the inflammation is reduced, it will stimulate relief to the injured areas. You may be advised to wear a splint if the pain is caused by arthritis so the inflammation can be reduced. Drugs like corticosteroid can also be used to treat the inflammation. Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drug (NSAID) helps block the enzymes which produce swelling and pain, and is usually prescribed to soothe the pain. If the hand pain is caused by a medical condition, the condition needs to be treated to cure the finger pain. Fractures are treated by applying plasters and implants if necessary. Prescription medications are available for medical conditions such as osteoporosis, muscular dystrophy, etc. Surgery may be required in rare cases like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Although in most cases hand pain usually resolves on its own, medical conditions like Peripheral Neuropathy, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to serious complications. So you must look out for certain symptoms- a tingling sharp pain in the hand, numbness and swelling, difficulty in making a fist or holding objects, stiffness, paralysis or muscle weakness etc. If the pain persists or increases in duration and intensity, you will need to see a doctor and get the treatment done.
If you do not see symptoms of hand pain, or if the condition subsides on its own after a time, you will not need to undergo any treatment.
Long-term oral consumption of NSAIDs like Ibuprofen can damage your liver, cause stomach bleeding or ulcer, and even increase the chance of a heart attack. Intake of corticosteroids for more than three months can result in easy bruising, hypertension, eye disorders, diabetes etc. It is hence advisable to go for ice compressions or heat packs in order to reduce the pain.
Post treatment guidelines include the following- avoid putting stress on the hand, get adequate rest. If you have a fracture injury you will need to keep the splint on for a few days after the treatment. Other guidelines may be prescribed depending on the severity of the pain keeping your other medical conditions in mind.
Recovery normally takes a few weeks or months, that is, if you do not have any underlying medical condition. However, recovery depends largely on the cause of hand pain and the treatment procedure.
The treatment cost varies between Rs.100- Rs.1,00,000 depending on what sort of treatment you are undergoing- whether it’s the pain killers, ice packs or splints to support the injured limb, or a surgery. Carpal Tunnel surgery can cost you around Rs.1,00,000 while oral medications are less expensive.
The results of the treatment are not permanent. The pain can recur due an injury, pressure on the hand, or even a sprain.
Alternative treatment can be physiotherapy, Ayurvedic therapy, application of herbal medications, ointments, etc. Regular exercise and adequate rest can also help prevent the inception of hand pain, and may also help to cure it.