How to manage hand and wrist pain?
- Thursday, 09 August 2018
As a clinic that specialises in treating pains and injuries, at Fulham Massage & Wellness, we see a variety of symptoms or complaints. Shoulder pain, neck tension, back strain, hip pain, leg tightness, we’ve seen it all. One of the more interesting findings, however, is that many of our clients started visiting us, to relieve wrist, hand and arm pain – the areas we rarely even talk about.
When researching “hand and wrist pain”, we almost instantly see articles about carpal tunnel, arthritis or nerve impingement coming from the shoulders. But with the change of lifestyle we have recently undergone, we should pay attention to the cause of pain coming simply from our daily life. Their repetitiveness is what often overloads and tires our muscles, tendons and ligaments, leading to small tears, inflammation and discomfort.
So what are daily activities that can lead to the problems with hands and wrists? Number one of our list is excessive typing. We may not realise it, but all the muscles and tendons in our fingers stretch along the wrist and throughout our forearms. The next time you type away on a computer or laptop, have a look at the area just around your elbow and on the top of your hand. We can easily notice muscle activity. Because more and more things we do these days involve the use of a computer, our typing frequency has certainly increased in comparison to 10 or 20 years ago. Add in the fact that many jobs require us to be sat at a computer for 6-8 hours a day typing, it's easy to see where to build up of tension and overworking the area comes from.
Using smartphones so often during our day has also lead to injuries to our thumbs. There are more and more people suffering from tendinopathy around their thumbs. Think about how often you hold your phone and scroll through emails and social media and it becomes a lot clear as to why this can build up tension through over use. The excessive use of tendons and ligaments surrounding thumbs causes the change in the structure and consistency of these soft tissues. They become tougher, tighter, less flexible and more prone to tiny raptures or chronic inflammation. A very simple test to check how “healthy” the tissues around your thumb are is to squeeze the fleshy part between your thumb and index finger, as illustrated below. If you notice any discomfort, it indicates there is tension build-up that can very easily turn into something serious.
Gripping tightly is another cause of wrist, hand and forearm pain. There are many activities during the day that involve gripping, without us even paying attention to it, like carrying shopping, pulling suitcases or holding on the driving wheel or bicycle handle. Also, playing racket activities such as tennis, squash, badminton, lifting weights in the gym or kettlebells training – these are just examples of activities that involve gripping movement. Many people also respond to stress by tightening their fists. All these movements, if done repetitively throughout the day and excessive strength can contribute to pain in the wrist or hand.
Lastly, we have also noticed that walking dogs, especially bigger breed dogs, can have an impact on our upper extremities. Frequent pulling or jerking movements force our wrists to work incredibly hard and often lead to injuries.
With the high-stress load on our hands and wrists from our daily activities, it is important to look after them well. There are numbers of things that we can easily do, without tremendous effort. They include:
- Hand/wrist stretches:
They can be done as often as convenient, in the train, in the shower, during lunch break. The more we do them, the quicker our muscles will learn to relax.
- Remedial massage - massage is the most effective tool in managing wrist or hand tension, pain or achiness. By stimulating the blood flow to the area, we can heal the damaged tissue or tears in a way that doesn’t leave any scar tissue. Additionally, we can relax the muscles, tendons and ligaments and reboot their position, consistency and structure to their optimal health. Restoring function through the massage is the most natural and effective way.
- Using massage release ball
Using the release ball is a great tool for loosening tight tissues and can be done very easily on the break at work or when watching TV. The ball is small, light and fits into the bag or even into the pocket. It’s a “must”, especially between your regular massage sessions. We will happily give you one of these balls free of charge when visiting us for massage.
- Epsom salts bath or soaks
Regular Epsom salts baths or soaks have a fantastic result on soft tissues which are tired, overused and achy. Many of our clients and therapists practice this after strenuous days or heavy workouts. If your wrists and hands ache, simply soak them for 20-30min in Epsom salt for instant relief. 500g of Epsom salts are available to purchase at our clinic so don’t forget to grab a bag after your next massage!
There are many more aids to manage the pain and prevent permanent damage to our hands and wrists. They include using the wrist support when typing or carrying heavy bags, icing the wrists or instead of typing on the computer or phone, using voice recognition or dictation to write text. Unfortunately, with the technology developing at a vast pace, we are facing even higher risks of problems related to our hands and wrist. Implementing some of the prevention measures now will ensure we can enjoy our lives and inventions of XXI century pain-free.
To find out more about managing wrist and hand pain, give us a call on 02037949760 or book your treatment now!