How Often Do YOU Feel Hand Pain?
Are you feeling something isn’t right with your hand? Because in case it wasn’t obvious, we’re not supposed to be getting hand pain. After all, the hand is a complex structure, and the 27 bones that make up each of our hands are delicate.
For as much as the complex muscle structure and the joints allow for very precise, strong, and dexterous movements, our hands are actually extremely easy to injure and way more vulnerable than we may think.
There are a lot of things that could happen to our hands, from different syndromes to any small injuries that we don’t perceive immediately that end up forming trauma in our hands.
Any injury to your hands is considered trauma, and when you add the fact that there are a ton of things that we do every day that could lead to chronic hand pain and other more serious syndromes, the list gets so big that it would be impossible to just start with one situation.
However, if your hands are hurting, we have gathered some of the most common reasons for which that could be happening, together with ways in which you could try to improve the pain (we are waving the overarching flag that you should always visit your doctor before trying any treatment, however). We are sure you will be able to find something that applies to your particular situation here!
Let us know if you knew about all these hand diseases or if there is another one you would want us to analyze in-depth!
#1 Traumatic Injuries
Unfortunately, with the hand being one of the most used members of our body, it is also exposed to a lot of external factors and risks. And while the structure of our hands is sturdy, the 27 bones and muscle structures are extremely delicate and vulnerable.
The hands are one of the most injured parts of our bodies, especially if you consider just how common injuries are in sports and construction work.
Not to mention, they are some of the most common injuries when it comes to falls; the instinct is to cushion the fall with your hands, most of the time to protect other parts of your body, and this means that the hands end up injured.
Any injury that our hands sustain is called trauma, and in time, they can all add up and cause more pain than we would like. The bones in our hands are very easily broken, and they can be injured in a number of ways, some of which are really hard to spot.
This could be why you are experiencing hand pain. If left untreated, the fracture can heal poorly, and it will cause you to lose dexterity in your hand and alter its structure.
Other notable reasons for which your hand may be hurting are sprains or strains. They can both happen to your muscles and also to the tendons. Believe us, the pain of this is very notable, but if you happen to have accidentally sprained your hand and haven’t noticed it, but the pain persists for days, you should go see a doctor: there is a high chance you have broken something, and you may need an x-ray.
In both the cases of sprains and fractures, there might be a splint involved, if not casts as well. Followed by physical or occupational therapy in order to ensure that your hand is working properly.
#2 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This could be one of the most common and yet most overlooked causes of hand pain. The carpal tunnel is a part at the base of your hand that contains a narrow passage made out of bone and ligament through which the median nerve and other tendons pass in order to allow your hands to move.
The median nerve is the same nerve that runs from your forearms to the bottom of your palm, and it is the one that is in charge of sending the signals for moving our hands from our brain.
When Carpal Tunnel Syndrome happens, the median nerve gets squeezed against the narrow carpal tunnel, which causes the paint to appear. This can be caused either by the inflammation of the tendons due to their thickening after being irritated or any sort of swelling in the wrist area.
A lot of people don’t realize this, but holding your wrists in the same position for hours on end is actually one of the main causes for which you can develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Other symptoms, besides hand pain, include swelling, itching, frequent sensations of burning or tingling, and even numbness in the palm and fingers, with the pain concentrating around the thumb and index and middle fingers.
A lot of the time, people who have developed this syndrome also notice difficulty in using their hands; stiffness and hand pain in the mornings; hand pain during the night; problems in performing certain tasks or grasping certain objects; and even loss of temperature perception.
Carpal tunnel syndrome generally indicates your wrist and hand have been put under too much pressure, so a lot of specialists, along with pain medication, will prescribe splints and avoid certain activities. To alleviate the hand pain, you can also ice the wrist in question, or in more severe cases, it will require an injection of steroids.
A good way to make sure you are avoiding developing this syndrome is to take the time to exercise and frequently do stretches for your wrists, especially if you find yourself standing in front of the computer typing away all day long.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease, which means your immune system is faultily attacking healthy cells by thinking they are a threat, and it can also cause damage to healthy tissues in your body. In a way, autoimmune diseases are the way in which the body attacks itself due to a falsely perceived threat, ending up damaging healthy tissues.
A lot of the time, people do not realize they have an autoimmune disease until years after the first signs have appeared. However, with lupus, the first sign that something is wrong is pretty easy to spot: hand pain. One of the first parts of your body that this disease targets are the joints, causing stiffness and pain in them, with the hands being one of the main places where it happens.
Lupus ends up manifesting in flares when it causes inflammation all through the body by thickening the lining around the joints and impeding its movement, which leads to pain and swelling. Other signs of lupus are muscle pain, fatigue, hair loss, pale or purple fingers, difficulty breathing, and so on.
As with most autoimmune diseases, there is no cure for them. However, in the case of joint stiffness and hand pain, you can try warm or cold compresses, pain medications, NSAIDs, physical therapy, minimizing situations that can trigger a flare, and frequent rest when you get flares and pain in your body.
#4 Hand Pain = Arthritis
While it is not the only reason why you have hand pain, arthritis is the leading cause of it! Since it means that one or more of the joints in your body are inflamed, it is one of the most common symptoms in many other syndromes and diseases, but it can also be just the stand-alone cause for which you find yourself in pain. While arthritis can occur anywhere in the body, it is most commonly found in the hands and wrists.
The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (which typically appears in older adults) and rheumatoid arthritis (which is a chronic disease that can affect anyone). Both of them, despite being a variation of the same inflammatory disease, have very different causes for which they happen.
Osteoarthritis appears in older adults as it is caused by the prolonged use of the hands; over the years, as we use our hands more and more, the joints and ligaments experience a lot of wear and tear. This can lead to the thinning of the cartilage in our hands, which allows for the smooth movement of our hands. When that happens, pain symptoms will start to appear.
On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that can affect different parts of the body! Generally, it causes inflammation of the joints, which then leads to stiffness and a lot of pain.
The reason you may first experience hand pain with this chronic disease is that it usually begins in the hands or legs, generally affecting the same joints at the same time (both of your wrists will hurt, but you cannot have one wrist and one knee affected).
If you’re experiencing any type of hand pain, especially the ones mentioned here, you should definitely see a doctor about it. With over 100 types of arthritis, you never know which one you could have. Either way, the specialist will prescribe you medications and other types of treatment to help alleviate the pain and stop the swelling of the joints, and at times, even prescribe therapy, surgery, or employ splints to help a patient.
A more advanced form of arthritis that causes even more hand pain is called gout. It may sound more familiar to our grandparents and even in old tales it would be talked about a lot, but gout is actually just a more complex arthritis, which unfortunately makes it extremely painful and it can affect anyone. Don’t trust old hearsay that tries to make it out that only older people get it. Anyone can end up having gout.
The ones that already have the disease know that it causes severe and sudden pain attacks in the joints, and while the hands are the most common part of the body affected, it can actually affect any joint! Others that are most commonly known to be affected are the base of the big toe, but it can generally appear anywhere from the knees to the feet, from the hands to the wrists. If it’s a joint, it can be affected by gout.
If your hand pain is caused by gout, then you have most probably already experienced the suddenly painful episodes, and they could have been accompanied by redness, tenderness, and even a burning sensation. It happens to a lot of people to wake up in the night due to how severe the pain is, and some find that even the sensation of bed sheets is too much when they’re having a pain episode.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for gout, but there are medications that can help prevent attacks and other complications. Your doctor may prescribe you nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (also known as NSAIDs) or colchicine, but there are also more traditional treatments that you can follow in addition.
Read more about hidden signs of rheumatoid arthritis that you may have ignored before here!