Wrist Strain: What causes it and how you can quickly treat it!

Ever felt a sudden pain in your wrist joint? Or maybe you’ve always felt a more subtle yet consistent pain in your wrist and the surrounding areas. Chances are you’re currently dealing with some form of wrist strain.

Wrist strain is any injury or tear in the tendons or muscles in your wrist. They are tissue that connects your arm to your hand. These tendons enable movement in your wrist and hand which are essential for daily functions. These include grasping, catching and holding objects.

The pain of wrist strains can severely limit your ability to do normal activities, so it’s in your best interest to treat it as soon as possible! Keep reading to find out what is the cause of your wrist pain and how you can get rid of it.

What is causing my wrist pain?

Wrist strains can happen from a number of different sources. However, you can generally categorise them into two categories: acute and chronic.

Acute wrist strains

Acute wrist strains occur suddenly. A sudden wrist injury can be a result of a bad twist, overextending your wrist, exerting extreme pressure or another unexpected event. The severity of a sudden injury to your wrist is usually categorised in three groups – Grade I, Grade II, Grade III.

  • Grade I: Pain with minor damage to wrist ligament and tendons
  • Grade II: Pain, more severe damage to tendons, feeling of looseness in joint, some loss of function.
  • Grade III: Pain, completely torn ligament and tendons, severe looseness in joint, complete loss of function.

Chronic wrist strains

Chronic wrist strains are those that have built up over time. The pain can remain consistent or it might compound as time goes on. Some causes of chronic wrist strain include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Gout
  • Arthritis
  • Repetitive overuse

Alternatively, chronic pain can be a result of a grade I wrist sprain which hasn’t been treated properly.

How can I treat my wrist pain?

Now that you have some idea of what is causing your wrist strain, you can take steps to treat it. Unless your wrist strain is so severe that it requires a visit to your orthopaedic surgeon for surgery, the following tips will give you pain relief and get your wrist back to normal.

Tip #1 – Hot Compresses

Hot compresses get blood moving and increases circulation in the applied area. By increasing blood flow, sore muscles receive more oxygen and nutrients which speeds up the healing process.

Hot compresses can be applied wet or dry though studies have shown that moist warm compresses are more effective in treating muscle soreness. It goes without saying however, that hot compresses shouldn’t be used if your wrist has fresh cuts or wounds.

Tip #2 – Ice Packs

On the other side of the spectrum, ice packs can be as equally effective in treating wrist strains. Ice packs restrict blood flow and numb the applied area. This significantly reduces inflammation and swelling that causes pain.

Ice packs should be used several times a day on the affected wrist, for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Tip #3 – Rest

Whether you have an acute or chronic wrist strain, preventing your wrist and hand from moving is a great way to prevent further damage. Resting your wrist for a couple of days after an injury allows your body to heal without the potential risk of re-injury.

Tip #4 – Wrist Braces

To reinforce the idea of resting your wrist and preventing movement, wrist braces immobilise your wrist. By stabilising the joint, wrist braces ensure there is no excessive movement relative to your wrist. Wrist braces can also have heat compression features which add the previously mentioned benefits of hot compresses.

It’s important to wear wrist braces for the entire healing process and not just when you feel like you need to wear it. Wearing it intermittently can slow down and hinder your wrist’s recovery, while committing to wear it full-time can only speed it up.

Tip #5 – Pain relief medication

Pain relief medication offers quick relief to those suffering from wrist pain. These medications are readily available at most pharmacies and chemists and do not usually require prescriptions.

Despite their effectiveness, it’s very important to read their directions carefully so you don’t overdose. Pain relief medication is effective when combined with other tips in this article such as rest.

Tip #6 – Massages

Massages, either from a therapist or an electric massager, offer numerous benefits for those with wrist strains. They provide pain relief, reduce soreness and improve flexibility in the joint by improving circulation and promoting blood flow.

While a massage can be done by a massage therapist, a wrist strain can be properly massaged by a physical therapist. A physical therapist who specialises in these types of injuries will make sure that their massage aids your recovery and not aggravate the strain.

Tip #7 – Stretching

While not the first treatment method you should attempt when you get a wrist strain, stretching should absolutely be a part of your recovery and healing process. By stretching your wrist you not only improve flexibility and range of motion but you also take steps towards strengthening the joint. This prevents further injury and reduces the chance of strains from reoccurring.

Some examples of stretches can be found here. These are designed to improve strength and mobility while being easy enough so they don’t cause further pain.

Get rid of wrist strains and pain now!

Don’t let an injury like a wrist strain get in the way of your daily activities. With these tips you’ll be able to live a life wrist pain-free! You’ll also know the reasons behind wrist strains, helping you take steps to avoid them.

Want more articles like this one? Check out the OSIM Wellness Hub where we cover a range of topics that help you live a life free from stress and pain. Start living a healthy lifestyle now!

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