Chronic wrist pain can not only be annoying, it can also be a major hindrance to everyday activities. Wrist pain has a number of causes, the most common of which is sudden injury, such as a sprain or fracture. However, chronic wrist pain often develops over a long period of time from repetitive motion and is a symptom of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Although it may stem from a number of issues, there are some consistently proven treatments that you can do to relieve your wrist pain.
Wearing a wrist brace or splint while performing everyday tasks may help relieve wrist pain over time. The wrist brace helps support the tendons and muscles in the wrist, taking the strain off of them. It also helps to stabilize the wrists, limiting the mobility of the wrist while still allowing movement of the fingers. The compression of the brace will also help reduce the swelling and inflammation that leads to pain.
Depending of the activity that is the source of the pain, applying heat or cold to the painful area will help reduce pain. To help fight stiffness in the wrist, heat is recommended. Simply taking a hot shower is usually enough to help relieve the pain associated with this. If the pain is caused by a repetitive activity, cold is more effective. Using a cold compress that molds to the wrist is recommended for more complete coverage. You can freeze a flexible gel pad, or even use a bag of frozen vegetables. Either way, the heat or the cold is a great way to reduce pain.
For pain and swelling, taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen, is a recommended treatment. Although not effective for wrist pain associated with carpal tunnel, NSAIDs block pain receptors and reduce swelling. Oral NSAIDs, such as Advil or Motrin, can have negative long term effects, so it is important to seek treatment for the cause of your wrist pain. However, there are topical treatments available that work just as effectively that are safer for long term use.
If taking oral pain relievers is not effective in reducing your wrist pain, a doctor may recommend injections. Injecting a corticosteroid directly into the joint reduces pain and inflammation, with results that may last for up to a year!
Working with a physical therapist at the Center for Athletic Performance and Physical Therapy can reduce wrist pain by building the strength of muscles and tendons, taking strain off the wrist. There are many exercises and stretches that are effective for reducing and preventing wrist pain. Depending on the cause, we can guide you through which motions will be most effective for you!
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