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  • Writer's pictureAll of Pain

[New Jersey Pain Management] Red Flags Of Hand Pain: Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

Updated: Apr 10

signs and treatments for hand pain relief

Despite the vulnerability of our hands to injury and strain, chronic hand pain doesn't have to be a permanent hindrance. By understanding the common causes, recognizing warning signs of more serious conditions, and exploring effective treatments, which can range from lifestyle adjustments to physical therapy and other techniques offered at our New Jersey pain management clinic, you can regain hand function and resume pain-free movement in your daily activities.


Common Causes of Hand Pain

The hands are incredibly versatile and essential parts of our bodies, constantly in use for various activities like texting, typing, cooking, and sports. It's no surprise, then, that hand pain is a widespread issue, affecting around 20% of adults with chronic or recurring discomfort.


When our hands hurt, it can disrupt our daily lives, making simple tasks like turning a doorknob or typing an email challenging. This discomfort not only impacts physical abilities but can also affect mental well-being and productivity. While occasional hand soreness is normal, persistent or worsening pain should be addressed as it could indicate underlying issues.


hand pain symptoms

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Many of us experience minor hand pain from time to time. Often the discomfort arises from overworking our hands through repetitive motions or tasks. Known as repetitive strain injury (RSI), issues like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis can crop up when we use our hands excessively without rest. 


Typing and texting are frequent culprits, as the constant tapping and scrolling provokes inflammation. Repetitive assembly line work, extensive use of tools that vibrate or require a strong grip, and playing musical instruments like the piano or violin can also overtax the hands over time. Even activities like cooking, knitting, or yardwork may lead to overuse if done vigorously for hours on end without breaks.


The strain causes tiny tears and irritation in the tendons, nerves, and supportive tissue. While a little soreness after a long day is common, consistent and worsening pain indicates you need recovery time for the delicate structures in your hands. Listening to early warning signs from your body and pacing repetitive tasks appropriately allows you to continue using your hands without injury.


Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of chronic hand pain. It occurs when the cartilage protecting the joints breaks down over time, leading to inflammation, swelling, and stiffness. While arthritis itself cannot be cured completely, various treatments can help slow progression and manage symptoms, including hand splints, occupational therapy, and injections to restore hand function. If you have chronic hand joint pain and swelling, see a medical expert to get an accurate diagnosis. Early treatment is key to maintaining optimal use of your hands.


severe pain caused by hand injury

Injury

Hand injuries are a leading cause of hand pain. Sprains, strains, fractures, dislocations, and wounds can all result in severe hand pain, swelling, and loss of function. 


If you have a hand injury, getting medical attention as soon as possible is important. Early treatment can help prevent long-term damage and improve your chances of full recovery. Thus, ignoring hand injuries and continuing to use the hand as usual can worsen the damage.


So, how do you know if your hand pain is a temporary annoyance or a sign of something more serious? Here are some red flags to watch out for:


Pain that persists for more than a week

Minor aches and pains typically resolve within a few days. But if your hand pain lingers longer and does not improve within a few days or weeks, it may indicate an underlying medical issue. This type of lasting pain should not be ignored; it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional as soon as possible.


Swelling, redness, or stiffness

Pain, swelling, or stiffness in multiple joints, especially coupled with morning joint stiffness that lasts over 30 minutes. This widespread joint involvement may indicate inflammation, which various conditions like arthritis, tendinitis, or carpal tunnel syndrome could cause. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent further complications.


hand pain management

Numbness or tingling and loss of function

Functional impairment, such as loss of grip strength, frequent dropping of objects, or inability to turn doorknobs or open jars due to weak, painful hands, suggests a more serious musculoskeletal issue or nerve compression or damage; ignoring it can lead to permanent problems. It requires prompt medical attention to diagnose the problem and regain functionality.


Deformity

If your hand appears visibly deformed, such as swollen knuckles, nodes, or crooked fingers that don't straighten fully, seeking medical attention is essential. Physical deformities indicate advanced arthritis or joint damage.


Visit Our New Jersey Pain Management Clinic

Our hands allow us to interact with the world, so hand pain should never be ignored. While occasional discomfort from overuse may resolve on its own, certain red flags warrant medical attention.


Don't delay if your symptoms concern you. Call our Englewood Cliffs pain management clinic right away if your hand pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other red flags on this list so you can get a proper diagnosis and effective treatment plan.


Leaving problems unchecked can allow them to worsen over time. While dealing with hand pain can be frustrating, being proactive and seeking proper medical care when appropriate can help get you back to using your hands comfortably.

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