Hands play a central role in most daily tasks, from the mundane to the technical. When one hand is injured, it becomes difficult for people to work as they normally do. Severe trauma to the bones and muscles might require surgery. However, not all injuries come quickly—some are caused by repetitive stress on the joints, bones, and tissues of the hands. Taking action as soon as symptoms appear can help prevent and even reverse the signs of worsening injury.
Though surgery can resolve a number of critical conditions, particularly neurological ones, conservation and pain management are still the best options. If it is possible to heal without an operation, doctors will usually take that route. People experiencing hand pain can use simple lifestyle modifications which could ease the symptoms and help avoid the need for surgery.
1. Reduce work on the affected hand
Hand pain is often due to nerve-related issues, which cause tenderness and swelling in the palms of hands. Sometimes, the discomfort can radiate to the fingers and wrists; severe cases can even extend to the forearm. Most nerve-related problems manifest as a dull ache, but sometimes the symptoms are worse.
Carpal tunnel is a prevalent hand injury, especially among office workers. This is caused by repetitive hand movements like writing and typing. These motions irritate nerves and cause inflammation. Avoiding the movements that cause injury is the best way to treat these hand problems. If your work is heavy on typing or writing, look into speech-to-text alternatives. Use these methods especially while your hand is healing.
2. Give the hand or wrist some support
If using the affected hand is unavoidable, you can wear a wrist splint or a compression glove to keep your joints in place. Compression gloves support stiff hands and joints, keeping them warm and preventing further swelling. The fabric increases oxygen delivery to the muscles, which helps remove lactic acid and metabolic wastes that put pressure on the muscles.
Meanwhile, a wrist splint is a brace that stabilizes the largest hand joint. It looks like a fingerless glove and secures your wrist in one position. The wrist splint minimizes pressure and allows your hand to recover from movements that cause carpal tunnel and other injuries to the median nerve. Ideally, you should wear hand and wrist support at all times, even when sleeping. Your healthcare provider can give you more details on which type of hand support is fit for you.
3. Use ice or heat pads when necessary
If there is persistent, piercing, low-grade hand pain, using an ice compress can help. Be sure to apply it for 20 minutes at most, and give yourself at least an hour between applications. An ice bath is also effective, but be sure to follow the same instructions.
Conversely, if the problem is stiffness and lack of flexibility, a heat compress will be more effective. Try putting a heating pad on the area that needs decompression. Take the same amount of time as you would for an ice bath or an ice compress.
4. Use over-the-counter medicine
Ointments and over-the-counter medications can help tide you over if compresses and hand support does not work. Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are effective against symptoms of hand and joint pain. They also usually work for mild cases.
No one should live with joint or muscle pain, especially since the bulk of daily life is directly affected by how mobile we are. Home remedies can help ease symptoms of hand injury. For more serious and prolonged conditions, though, it is best to consult specialists.
If you are looking for hand specialists in Jacksonville, contact North Florida Hand & Wrist Center today.