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What are the most common causes for hand pain and how to treat them?

How do patients treat hand pain is an important topic that comes up in my practice. Hands are a vital part of our body. We do not realize how important they are until we can’t use them properly due to pain. Most of us will experience hand pain at one point. One hand can hurt more than the other one. But why? Often, right-handed people will experience pain more on that side as they tend to use it more.

What are the most common causes for hand pain?

There are multiple reasons that our hands can hurt.

First, nowadays, we use our hands to type on the computer. Overusing the hands can cause pain. Second, we use our hands to hold or scroll on our big smartphones. The bigger the smartphone, the more difficult it is for our hands. Holding the phone in one hand and scrolling with the thumb will stretch the tendons, and, in time, you will experience pain. I have so many patients that will reach out to me for pain in the thumbs.

 

 

Third, pain can happen in patients that develop osteoarthritis or the so-called “wear and tear” arthritis. Fourth, pain in the hands can occur in patients with inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. We will discuss this type of pain in a later blog post.

What can patients do to ameliorate pain?

  1. If you are using your hands to type a lot, consider using a wrist support brace at nighttime. There are many options in the medical supply stores or online. Here is one that you may consider: #ad night wrist support brace #ad 
  2. If you have pain in the thumb and using your phone a lot, place the phone in the other hand and scroll with a different finger. Alternatively, place the phone on a support and use your fingers to scroll up or down. You may alleviate the pain using a thumb stabilizer that will keep your thumb in a neutral position. Here is one that you may consider: #ad thumb stabilizer
  3. Perform stretching exercises with your hands in the mornings
  4. Use anti-inflammatory medications very carefully and discuss this with your physician.

For more advice, read our following blogs, where I will discuss hand exercises and other non-invasive options to treat hand pain. If your pain does not resolve, consider asking an arthritis specialist.

About the Author

Dr.Diana Girnita

 

Diana Girnita, MD, PhD is an US board certified internal medicine and rheumatology. She completed a PhD in immunology, postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, immunology fellowship at University of Pittsburgh and rheumatology fellowship at University of Cincinnati. She is the founder & CEO of Rheumatologist OnCall, a telemedicine company that serves multiple states in the US. Dr. Girnita is a graduate of the Nutrition Science course from Stanford University. Dr. Girnita was recognized many times with “Top Doctor”  award (2017-2020) and is frequently invited speaker of the US National Arthritis Foundation. Read more

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