Relieve wrist pain
The human hand is a miracle; it constitutes several small bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and muscles that facilitate its various movements. The adult human hand has 27 bones, of which 8 are called the carpals or wrist bones. To ensure proper movement and alignment of the bones at the wrist, there are several muscles and their tendons, ligaments, and nerves that pass through the wrist. With the increased use of smart-phones, gaming consoles, laptops, and desktops, the complaints of discomfort, stiffness, and pain in the wrist have also risen. People work for hours without paying attention to the wrong postures at the wrist that lead to wrist pain. Even during exercising, proper warming up and stretching are not commonly done for the wrist. We forget that the huge muscles that we aspire to build by lifting weights need the healthy and strong support of the hand and wrists. Wrist pain may occur due to various reasons, such as arthritis, wrist injury, carpal tunnel syndrome (caused by pinching of the median nerve in the wrist), and inflammation of a muscle-tendon (tendonitis).
For proper management of wrist pain, it is important to know the cause of the pain. If you are suffering from long-term or severe wrist pain, you may consult your doctor to know the cause and remedies for the same. You can also try managing wrist pain at home in the following ways:
- Adequate rest: Giving rest to the wrist is important, especially when the wrist is swollen or when you are recovering from a recent wrist injury. Avoid the movements that involve the wrist as much as you can during the acute stages of wrist pain. An injured wrist may be immobilized by wearing a wrist splint. If you work a lot on the keyboard, take enough rest breaks in between the work. During the break, you can do some stretching exercises of the hands and wrists. While taking a break, rest your hands on their sides and not on the wrist.
- Activity modification: Stop doing the things that hurt the most, or do them less often, or do them differently. For example, if carrying bags hurts your wrist, do not do it, or carry lighter bags.
- Warm or cold compresses: If the pain is due to a wrist injury, applying an ice pack can provide relief. A warm or cold compress may be used if the pain is caused by nerve involvement, such as in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome. Warmth can also relieve the stiffness caused by arthritis.
- Exercise: You can consult a physical therapist to know how to build strength and flexibility in your wrist through exercise. They may also tell you about the various warming up exercises that you can do for your wrists before a workout session. Do not exercise when the wrist is injured or inflamed.
- Ergonomic aids: Like the rest of the body, your wrist needs proper support and postural modifications to function well. Make sure that your wrist doesn’t bend while typing by keeping the keyboard low enough. You can also try a split keyboard or use typing pads and mouse pads with wrist support.
- Over the counter (OTC) pain medications: OTC medications, such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Acetaminophen, may help provide comfort from pain and swelling.
If home management does not help or you develop symptoms, such as numbness, severe pain, deformity, fever, or inability to move your wrist or any part of your hand, you must consult your doctor for thorough evaluation and treatment.