Hand Pain: Know its Causes and Treatment
Hand is made up of muscles, bones, blood vessels, nerves and skin. Muscles provide movement while the nerves control sensation and movement of the hand. The blood vessels provide constant blood flow to and from the fingertips throughout the hand.
Hand pain Hand pain may be described as throbbing, tingling, numbness, soreness, or stiffness including any kind of discomfort in the tissues or joints of the hands. A burning or tingling sensation in the hands is often called paresthesias. Paresthesias are caused by temporary or permanent damage or pressure on the nerves that carry sensation messages from the hands to the spinal cord.
Causes of Hand Pain
- Arthritis is the main cause of hand pain. It can appear anywhere in the body but is often found in the hands and wrists.
- Osteoarthritis usually affects older people. Joint cartilage is a slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones and allows joints to move smoothly. When reduced, painful symptoms may develop.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that can affect many parts of the body. This causes inflammation in the joints, which leads to pain and stiffness. It often starts in the hands and affects the same joints on both sides of your body.
Carpal tunnel syndrome-
- Carpal tunnel is a narrow canal made of ligaments and bone located at the base of the arm. It contains the median nerve and tendon which is responsible for finger movement.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by irritated tendon thickening, inflammation, or anything that can cause swelling in the area.
- Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome begin gradually and can worsen if not treated. Signs include frequent burning and itching in the palms and fingers. Pain is felt around the thumb, index and middle finger.
De Quervain's Tenosynovitis-
De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a painful condition that affects the tendons around the thumb. Swelling of the two tendons around the base of your thumb causes inflammation in the area. This inflammation puts pressure on nerves, causing pain and tingling around the base of the thumb.
Gout, a complex form of arthritis, is a very painful disease that can affect anyone. People with gout experience attacks of joint pain that are sudden and severe. Gout mostly affects the joint at the base of the big toe, but it can occur anywhere in the feet, knees, arms, and wrists.
When you have gout in your hands, you experience attacks of biting type pain, burning, redness, and tenderness. Gout often wakes up people at night. You can feel your hands burning.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, meaning that your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and damages healthy tissue. Joint pain and stiffness are the first signs of lupus.
When lupus breaks out, inflammation occurs throughout the body. This inflammation causes the thin lining around the joints to thicken, resulting in pain and swelling in the hands and feet.
Hand injuries are very common during sports, construction, and falls. Hand fractures can heal poorly if not treated properly. Fractures that don't heal properly can permanently change the structure and performance of the hand.
Peripheral neuropathy is a disease that causes weakness, pain, and numbness in the hands. Peripheral neuropathy happens when the peripheral nerves are damaged.
Several factors can cause peripheral nerve damage, including diabetes, traumatic injury, infection, and metabolic problems.
Treatment for Hand Pain
The treatment of hand pain is based on the cause of the pain. Therefore, treating the cause helps to relieve the pain in the hand.
Common treatments for arthritis include-
- Medicines to treat signs of pain and swelling.
- Long-term anesthesia or steroid injections.
- Joint splint.
- Occupational therapy / physiotherapy methods.
- Hot compressors.
Common treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome include-
- Avoid uncomfortable activities.
- Use ice or an ice pack.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.
- Receiving injections of anesthetics or steroids.
- Take oral steroids.
- Exercise and stretching.
Common treatments for De Quervain's tenosynovitis include-
- Apply ice or cold compress.
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
- Avoid painful areas and pinching movements.
- Doing physical therapy or occupational therapy.
Common treatments for Gout include-
Several medications are available to treat painful gout attacks, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and colchicine and along with medicines one can go for hot oil massage(medicated) or compressors.
Common treatments for lupus include-
There is no cure for lupus, but there are many treatments that can help you manage the symptoms. These are-
- Hot or cold compress.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Physiotherapy or occupational therapy.
- Avoid painful activities.
- Peripheral Neuropathy.
Common treatments for peripheral neuropathy include-
- Prescription drugs used to treat nerve pain.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Prescription painkillers.
- Anti- epileptic medication.
Home remedies for Hand Pain
Turmeric is an effective anti-inflammatory. You can take turmeric milk or simply take a turmeric supplement.
Try getting sunlight to help your body produce vitamin D as it protects your joints from osteoarthritis damage.
Drinking 3 to 4 cups of green tea daily is very effective in fighting arthritis and reduces hand pain due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Swimming is a low-impact form of resistance training that engages the entire body. It is a soothing way to improve your health and reduce pain.
Hot and cold compress-
Taking hot and cold compresses is an effective way to relieve pain in your hand (depending on the type of pain in your hand).
Try massaging the painful area and the muscles around it. Sometimes massaging your arm or hands can help relieve pain.
When to visit a doctor?
You should immediately see a doctor if-
- You experience severe, persistent, or recurring pain in your hand.
- Pain doesn’t improve with home treatment.
- It occurs with other symptoms, such as arm pain, fever, or fatigue.
- If there is any loss of movement in any of the affected joints.
- If there are some boney deformations like abnormal nodular growth or abnormal permanent bending there.