Wrist Pain: Causes, Self-Care, and When to Seek Help

Ouch! My Wrist Hurts – Understanding Wrist Pain

Your wrist can hurt a lot. It can stop you from doing things. This post tells you about causes. It gives tips for care at home. It says when to see a doctor.

Wrist pain comes from bruises or injuries. Swelling or stiffness are signs. Numbness or tingling too. Weakness in the hand also. Here are some main causes:

  • A sprain. You stretch or tear wrist ligaments.
  • Tendonitis or arthritis. Pain near the thumb base. Hard to move fingers. You may see a lump.
  • Carpal tunnel. Pain gets worse at night. Numbness in fingers or hand. Hard to grip.
  • Ganglion cyst. A lump on the wrist. It can hurt.
  • Broken wrist. Sharp pain and swelling. You hear a pop. The shape is wrong.

Don’t worry if unsure. The tips below help. See a doctor if no better in 2 weeks.

Self-Care Tips

There are things you can do. They may ease wrist pain:

  • Rest your wrist. Don’t do activities that hurt.
  • Use an ice pack. Put it on for 20 mins every 2-3 hours. It helps swelling.
  • Do gentle exercises. Move your wrist gently to loosen it.
  • Take paracetamol. It helps pain.
  • Take off jewelry. Take off rings if your hand swells.
  • Avoid activities. Don’t type or use vibrating tools that make it worse.
  • Wear a splint. Get one from the pharmacy. Wear it at night to support your wrist.
  • Use gadgets. Tools like jar openers make hard tasks easier.
  • Use a pad. Put a soft pad under your wrist for typing.

More Tips

There are more things you can try:

  • Keep moving your wrist. Gentle exercises keep it flexible.
  • Stretch your wrist. Move it up and down slowly. Side to side too.
  • Make a fist. Open your hand wide. Repeat this movement.
  • Use both hands. When carrying things. It shares the load.
  • Take breaks. Have short rests from activities that strain your wrist.
  • Use wrist braces. Wear them for support during activities.
  • Apply heat. Use a hot water bottle or heating pad. But avoid heat right after injury.
  • Try massage. Gently rub the muscles around the wrist.
  • Elevate your wrist. Keep it raised above your heart. It reduces swelling.
  • Check your posture. Bad posture strains the wrist. Sit up straight at desks and tables.
  • Be mindful of actions. Avoid bending, twisting or overusing your wrist.

Preventing Flare-Ups

There are things you can do. To avoid wrist pain coming back:

  • Strengthen muscles. Do exercises to build up wrist and arm muscles.
  • Improve flexibility. Regular stretches keep your wrist mobile.
  • Lose extra weight. Being overweight puts strain on the wrists.
  • Assess workstation. Position keyboards and tools for good posture.
  • Use ergonomic gear. Like wrist rests and angled mouse pads.
  • Adjust techniques. Change how you grip and lift objects.
  • Pace yourself. Take regular breaks to rest your wrists.
  • Watch for warning signs. Tingling, pain or weakness mean stop activity.

When Surgery May Be Needed

Self-care often works. But severe or persistent issues may need surgery.

Speak to a doctor if:

  • Pain and swelling do not improve with rest.
  • Severe arthritis limits wrist function.
  • Repetitive strain causes lasting damage.
  • Carpal tunnel squeezes nerves despite treatment.
  • An injury tears ligaments or tendons.
  • A fracture or break does not heal correctly.

Surgery aims to repair damage. And restore full wrist movement.

When to Get Help

Self-care tips often help. But see a doctor if:

  • Pain stops normal activities or doesn’t get better in 2 weeks.
  • Pain gets worse or comes back often.
  • You have numbness or tingling in the hand or wrist.
  • You have diabetes. Wrist issues are more serious.
  • Wrist hurts and you have a fever.
  • Wrist is swollen, hot, painful and stiff.
  • Pain is severe. You can’t sleep, think or move.
  • You heard a pop during injury. Can’t move wrist or grip things. Shape changed.

Understanding causes and self-care helps. But see a doctor if needed. Keep checking on wrist issues.

Photo “Keyboard Strained Wrist” by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Health

Zoom Health is a leading UK supplier of Home Health Tests and Earplugs

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