There are several types of wrist pain in adults, which can be of bone, muscle, tendon, vascular or neurological origin. As with any joint, injuries and lesions are common.
Causes of wrist pain
Traumatic bone and ligament injuries are common causes of hand and wrist pain. A fracture or dislocation following a shock or a fall will usually be diagnosed upon physical examination due to a deformity. A sprained wrist, on the other hand, can go unnoticed. A swollen wrist and severe pain when moving the hand should alert you to the possibility of a torn ligaments. Treatment ranges from simple immobilization to surgery.
Neurological and tendon disorders
Another common cause of sore wrists is carpal tunnel syndrome. This compresses the median nerve, for example, following inflammation, and causes numbness and tingling in hand, pain when flexing the wrist, and a feeling of muscle weakness. This musculoskeletal disorder is quite common and often results from repeated or straining wrist movements or prolonged use of vibrating tools. Risk factors are also for the development of different forms of wrist tendonitis, resulting in reduced mobility and pain during precise movement.
Stiff and sore wrist: a sign of osteoarthritis?
Although it is less common than for other joints (hip, knee), osteoarthritis does not spare the wrist. This wear and tear of the cartilage covering the bones of the wrist can be the result of a previous carpal trauma (scaphoid fracture, for example) or follow a local inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis. The osteoarthritis of the wrist causes stiffness and pain in mobility, which can be alleviated by including physiotherapy.
When to see the wrist pain doctor
Not all wrist pain requires medical attention. Over-the-counter pain relievers, rest, and ice generally work for minor sprains and strains. But if the pain and swelling last more than a few days or get worse, see your Wrist Pain Specialist. A delay in diagnosis and treatment can lead to a poor union, reduced range of motion, and long-term disability.
In addition to the wrist, the clinical examination should assess the entire upper limb, i.e., elbow, shoulder, including the cervical spine, for referred pain.
Examination of the wrist and hand begins with an inspection, looking for trophic lesions, erythema, swelling, deformity, adherent or hypertrophic scar.
Palpation and the various specific tests are directed according to the suspected pathology.
The range of motion is measured and compared with the contralateral side. The measurement of the clamping force also referred to the healthy side, is an objective indicator of the severity of the damage. Repeated at regular intervals, these values show the evolution of the lesion over time.
The clinical examination is considered here according to a topographic system, going from superficial structures to deep structures, and this is for each of the four dials of the wrist: dorsal, palmar, radial, and ulnar.
Possible interventional treatments for wrist pain
The goal of interventional procedures for wrist pain is to reduce symptoms and improve function of the hand and wrist. To achieve this goal, the following are used synergistically:
Osteopathic Manual Therapy
The way to treat these dysfunctions is through structural manipulations :
- Local-level: Area of primary pain.
- Reflex level: Area distally related to the focus of pain.
The physical therapist tries to mobilize and release the joints of the wrist and hand, especially in cases of rehabilitation of fractures, relaxation of the overloaded muscles and fascia, and recovery of inflamed tendons.
Invasive physiotherapy referred to any technique used by a solid needle and applied percutaneously to physical agents in soft tissues. Among them, we can differentiate:
- Percutaneous intertissued electrolysis
- Dry needling
- The PNT technique
The application of invasive physiotherapy has shown excellent results in cases of wrist pain that come from tendonitis.
With the diamine, we produce local heating of the tissues in an area of the body under the influence of a strong electric field. It contributes to the relaxation of the muscles and alleviates the sensation of pain. Diathermy treatment is especially effective in cases of osteoarthritis and arthritis, contusions or periostitis, dislocations. The heat produces an increase in the blood flow and accelerates the metabolism favoring the regeneration process, and that is why it is used in the treatment of rheumatic and arthritic diseases.
Neurodynamics is a technique used in physiotherapy applied for evaluative or treatment purposes in alterations or disorders of the peripheral nerves. It consists of the passive mobilization, stretching, and sliding of the nerves during their journey in order to free them from the possible entrapments that trigger the symptoms. Physiotherapy treatment with neurodynamics is very effective in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome. It is usually used to solve entrapments that alter the musculoskeletal system, such as muscle weakness, altered sensitivity, and decreased reflexes. Therefore, it is widely used in cases of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Do not wait to begin the conversation for your mobility issues or wrist pain relief. Dr. Munish Lal will assist you in solving your frequent concerns and help you master how to enhance your health for optimal wellness. Right at the heart of Torrance, CA, pain care is just a call away.