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Elbow, Wrist and Hand Pain

Your arms, elbows, wrists and hand are so important to our everyday lives. They are involved in reaching, lifting, carrying and doing fine motor skills like gripping a book, typing on a computer and buttoning a shirt. From your neck to your finger tips everything is interconnected and work as a unit. A task or injury that involves then neck, shoulder or arm can affect everything below it, causing weakness, numbness, tingling and pain.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Typing, writing and jobs that require repetitive movement and lifting continue to be a threat for developing the well-known condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). The debilitating syndrome is named for the tunnel surrounding the nerves connecting your wrist, hand and fingers. Overly stressing the median nerve at the wrist can lead to wrist achiness, hand pain and/or numb into the fingers which is associated with CTS. Often, hormone fluctuations in women can put patients more at risk for CTS, so pregnant women, and women between the ages of 34-60, may be more likely to experience these injuries, especially if they have a computer/desk job.

Early intervention — especially physical therapy — may help you avoid surgery. Postural training, workstation ergonomics, patient education and specific exercises (i.e. flexibility and strengthening) can decrease CTS pain and numbness, while easing inflammation and decreasing further pressure on the median nerve. One thing we do differently then other providers, is to address problems higher up the chain, treating the neck and shoulder which is a common area of dysfunction that is missed frequently.

In addition, our dedicated team will show you specific stretching at your workstation and educate you and your employer on how to do your repetitive tasks more safely, in order to prevent re-injury and chronic conditions.

 

Additional Elbow, Wrist and Hand Conditions

While CTS is one of the most common condition for which patients seek medial help, we treat numerous conditions affecting the elbow, wrist and hands. Among them are:

  • Tennis Elbow/Golfers Elbow (Epicondylitis)
  • Nerve Entrapments
  • Tendonitis Elbow, Forearm and Wrist
  • DeQuevain’s Disease
  • Ligamentous Sprains/Muscular Strains
  • Thoracic Out-Let/In-Let

 

How are these Conditions Treated?

The first step in dealing with hand, wrist or elbow pain is doing a comprehensive evaluation to detect the source of that pain. As discussed above, a lot of elbow, wrist and hand pain can stem above at the neck and/or shoulder. With help from your physician and working in conjunction with other providers, it is critical to get appropriate testing and imaging, especially when the pain isn’t connected to an obvious event such as a car accident or a fall.  Our physical therapists helps further assess your current dysfunction and put you on a specific plan of care.

After your evaluation, the first priority is to educate you on your condition, diagnosis and prognosis. You will be taken through the four (4) phases of the “Rehabilitation Cycle” use therapeutic techniques for pain management, gain range of motion and flexibility, build strength and endurance and return you to a functional state , so you can return to the activities you enjoy in life. After your physical therapy course of treatment is over, you can maintain your pain-free lifestyle.

When you’re ready to get started, contact our office to set up an appointment to get yourself on the road to recovery. Our physical therapist will Get you Better, Faster, so you can focus on what is important to you.

 

Sources

http://www.medstarwashington.org/our-services/orthopaedics/conditions/hand-and-elbow-conditions

http://www.moveforwardpt.com/symptomsconditionsdetail.aspx?cid=9f3cdf74-3f6f-40ca-b641-d559302a08fc

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/basics/alternative-medicine/con-20030332