Shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand pain are some of the most commonly occurring and treated health concerns. Pain symptoms can come from a variety of recreational, professional, traumatic, and pathological causes, but luckily they are usually easy to treat.
Our shoulders have a greater range of mobility than any of our other joints, and because they are used so frequently, they are also more susceptible to injury than other joints. Trauma from injuries and overuse, as well as the simple wearing down of our muscles and cartilage over time, can cause pain, swelling, weakness, and other symptoms.
“Tennis Elbow,” as it is usually called, occurs when tendons in the elbow get torn due to overuse of the surrounding muscles. This is a “repetitive strain injury” that can come from any sport that focuses on the biceps and forearms, as well as jobs that require a lot of lifting or repeated arm movements. In addition to pain, the elbow may become inflamed and swell up, and either symptom can cause a decreased ability to move the joint. Treatment typically begins with elevated rest and cold compress on the joint. For more chronic cases, we may prescribe an elbow brace to limit movement and prevent further injury, as well as anti-inflammatory medicine. Surgery is only necessary in the most extreme cases after other treatments have failed.
Wrist and Hand Pain:
Shooting and “pins and needles” pain in the wrist and hands is usually caused by irritation or pressure on the median and ulnar nerves in the forearm and wrist. This irritation is brought on by repetitive motion or compression, such as typing, cycling, or constantly resting on your elbows. This pain can also be caused by breaks and fractures of the bones in the hand. Most wrist and hand pain can be remedied through appropriate medical care and physical therapy, although severe cases may require surgical decompression.
Not all shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand pain is caused by injury or strain. Several diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, gout, and thyroid problems can present with pain in these areas.