The hands and wrists are remarkably complex, comprising of dozens of bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, nerves, and more. These are all designed to work together to grip, type, tie shoes, and complete hundreds of other tasks. Since we use our hands and wrists so often, it is easy for them to become injured, either through direct impact or from repetitive use, overuse, and strain. Some of the most common causes of hand and wrist pain include sprains and strains to the ligaments, tendons, and nerve-related issues including carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that develops when the major nerve which travels through the wrist becomes compressed where it travels through a narrow area called the carpal tunnel. Compression typically occurs as a result of inflammation which usually arises from repetitive motions such as typing or from pressure on the wrist including resting the wrist on the edge of a desk while using the computer. Arthritis and some other joint disorders can also cause the nerve to become compressed. Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain in or around the wrist as well as numbness and pain in the fingers and palm.
The osteopathic approach to medicine considers the whole patient, including the underlying causes of pain and other symptoms. To create a treatment plan which is custom-tailored for each patient's unique needs the doctor will consider what is causing the pain. For hand and wrist pain, treatment options could include manipulation of the joint including massage to help stimulate circulation and relieve inflammation as well as stretching and strengthening exercises to help improve flexibility and pain-free range of motion in the joints. Osteopathic manipulation techniques can also be used to gently move displaced bones back into their proper alignment to ease pain and facilitate movement.
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