Avoid any activities that strain your hand, such as gripping or squeezing. Consider visiting a pain doctor immediately to assess the nature and severity of your hand pain.
Heat and cold
Apply a hot pad or cold pack for 15 minutes at a time. Heat decreases stiffness and cold decreases pain and swelling associated with activity.
Splint the affected area of your hand to decrease pain and inflammation. A pain specialist can determine the right splint for your condition.
Anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy
Anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as Motrin, Advil and Aleve, and physical therapy work to improve your hand pain and swelling. A pain physician can refer you to a physical therapist.
If the above treatments fail, corticosteroid injections delivered by a specially trained pain medicine doctor can reduce your hand pain and swelling, and enable you to participate in physical therapy.
Platelet rich plasma
Pain medicine specialists inject your own blood platelets and growth factors into the damaged hand tissue to accelerate the natural healing process.
If all other treatments fail, you may need orthopedic surgery. A pain medicine physician can refer you to a hand surgeon.
What Causes Hand Pain?
There are many causes of hand pain. A qualified doctor can help determine which type of hand pain you are experiencing. Arthritis, the most common cause of hand pain, is inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis as well as another form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, can cause inflammation, pain, and swelling of the hand joints. Mallet finger is damage of the finger joint closest to the fingernail, causing the joint to become painful, swollen and unable to fully straighten. A hand fracture is another name for a broken bone of the hand. A finger dislocation is displacement of a finger joint, most commonly the middle knuckle of the index finger, middle finger, ring finger or pinky finger.
Other types of hand pain involve tendons, fibrous bands that connect the muscles and joints of the hand. DeQuervain’s tendinitis is inflammation of the tendons connecting the thumb and the wrist, resulting in pain of the thumb, wrist and even the forearm. Trigger finger is damage of a finger tendon that causes it to stiffly “lock” and remain bent until it can “pop” back into place. A type of hand pain that involves cartilage, the body’s cushioning tissue, is Dupuytren’s contracture. This thickening of the palm’s cartilage causes the fingers to become stiff, and most commonly affects the ring finger and pinky finger. Cysts, abnormal fluid-filled sacs, can form on tendons or joints and appear as painful lumps. Carpal tunnel syndrome involves the median nerve, which when compressed within the wrist can result in pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness of the thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and even the forearm.
Which Treatments Do You Try First?
Some causes of hand pain heal on their own. You should consider seeing a pain doctor to determine whether or not your hand pain will heal without assistance. Home treatments such as rest, heat and cold, and over-the-counter pain medications such as Motrin, Advil and Aleve can help improve pain, swelling, and stiffness. These symptoms can also be relieved by performing home exercises with proven hand pain treatment benefits. One such example includes gently closing your fingers up into a fist and then slowly straightening them back out. However, if you experience any sharp pain during the exercise, stop immediately and make an appointment to see your doctor.
What Type of Doctor Can Help You if Home Treatments Fail?
If your hand pain does not improve with home treatments, you should consider visiting a pain specialist right away. A pain medicine specialist is a doctor who has specialized training in preventing, evaluating and treating pain conditions. If you are looking for a premier pain treatment clinic, that accepts most health insurance plans, check out Pain Treatment Specialists. Pain Treatment Specialists clinics are located in New York City, and in Clifton, Paramus and Wayne, New Jersey. They can assist in treating all kinds of painful hand conditions. Pain Treatment Specialists are also affiliated with one of the best vein medicine clinics nationally, VIP Medical Group.
Why Visit a Pain Treatment Specialists Clinic in N.Y. or N.J.?
The pain doctors at Pain Treatment Specialists are Harvard-trained and board-certified with the American Board of Anesthesiology Pain Medicine. In addition to having the best training, Pain Treatment Specialists are compassionate with thoughtful bedside manner. Our skilled physicians are able to perform the most advanced pain medicine interventions available on the market. A pain doctor at Pain Treatment Specialists will work with you to accurately diagnose the cause of your hand pain with a physical examination; blood tests; and x-ray, ultrasound or MRI imaging studies. They will explore further treatment options, like cortisone and platelet rich plasma injections, that are minimally invasive and have long-lasting effects. Such treatments allow even the most active professional athletes, like Michelle Wie, to continue competing at the highest level. When at all possible, Pain Treatment Specialists will avoid treating with narcotic pain medications or surgery, but will refer you to an orthopedic surgeon if need be.