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Wave Goodbye to Elbow, Wrist, and Hand Pain With Occupational and Physical Therapy

You use your elbows, wrists, and hands numerous times throughout the day – and nothing will make you realize how often they're used quite like feeling aches and pains in them. Just imagine your typical morning: you get out of bed, brush your teeth, shower, get dressed, make breakfast, and begin your commute to work.

At this point, you’ve already used your elbows, wrists, and hands hundreds of times – and you’re just getting your day started!

There are several reasons why you may be experiencing pain, whether it’s an injury, ailment, or some sort of other underlying condition. Whatever the case may be, the pain can greatly impact your daily life. If you’re losing sleep and having a hard time with daily tasks, get the relief by scheduling an appointment with our physical therapy team today.

What is Elbow, Hand, and Wrist Pain?

Elbow, wrist, or hand pain can take several forms: from a dull, throbbing ache that immobilizes your elbow, to sharp, shooting pains in your wrist, to pins, needles, and numbness in your hand and fingers. These structures are complex and intricate, and pain can happen due to a sudden injury, or from repetitive, un-ergonomic motions that gradually cause inflammation in joints and soft tissues, leading to pinched nerves.

You can get a proper diagnosis from your physical therapist to pinpoint the reason behind your pain, and work together to create a personalized treatment plan.

If you sustain an injury to your elbow, wrist, or hand, it is likely that it’ll result in short-term pain. However, any pain that lingers for two months or longer may be an indication of a more serious condition. Pain sustained from an injury may range from mild and severe, and it may also be intermittent, meaning it comes and goes at different points throughout the day.

What Causes Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Pain?

There are a vast variety of muscles, tendons, bones, and joints that make up your upper extremities. Because of this, it can be difficult to determine exactly where your elbow, wrist, or hand pain is stemming from. Some of the most common conditions that result in this type of pain include:

  • Arthritis—Your hands each have a host of joints in the fingers, not to mention the wrist and the elbow. If pain and stiffness afflict these joints, your physical therapist can teach you hand exercises to help improve motion and reduce pain.
  • Bursitis—Pain and swelling in the small, fluid-filled bursa that cushion your joints and tendons is often caused by overuse and poor ergonomics. Your physical therapist can show you better ways of working to avoid overuse injuries.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome—Swollen tendons, muscles, and other tissues pinch the median nerve inside of the bony carpal tunnel in the wrist. Symptoms include shooting pain in the wrist and hand, sometimes up to the elbow; numbness, tingling, and hand weakness are also common.
  • Cubital Tunnel Syndrome—Soft tissue inflammation in the elbow’s cubital tunnel pinches the ulnar nerve, causing pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling from the elbow down to the hand.
  • Strains and Sprains—Sports, work, and home injuries, or overuse from poor ergonomic movement, can injure your hand, wrist, and elbow muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Traumatic injuries- Many people suffer traumatic injuries to their hands at work or by simply using a knife at home. The tendons in the hand are critical to the proper usage of your hands and injuries to them will require very specific reconstruction techniques by a skilled hand surgeon. After surgery, you will need the help of a Certified Hand Therapist because of the delicate nature of the repair.

How can I treat my elbow, wrist, or hand pain?

Both occupational and physical therapy can help treat whatever may be causing your elbow, wrist, or hand pain. Depending on the type of injury and what it's affecting will determine which route will be best for you. In many cases, our services have even helped eliminate the need for harmful drugs or invasive surgical corrections for nerve-damaging conditions, such as CTS.

Your physical or occupational therapist will fully examine your hand, wrist, and elbow and review your medical records. With a full understanding of your condition, your physical therapist can then design a physical therapy plan, complete with anti-inflammatory treatments, exercises, stretches, and ergonomic adaptations designed to speed your recovery, improve strength and range of motion, and help you resume a normal activity level without pain.

Your treatment plan may incorporate any combination of specialized treatments, including but not limited to ice and heat therapies, targeted stretches, therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, IASTM, or ultrasound.