If you have arm and hand pain, it is probably because of joint injuries or compressed nerves. If the ache is at the top of your forearm or behind the hand or wrist, then there is a good chance that you have radial tunnel syndrome.
Radial tunnel pain ranges from mild to debilitating, and the treatment options also vary according to the severity of your condition. Read on to learn how you can relieve your hand pain at home and with the help of your doctor.
What Causes Radial Tunnel Syndrome?
The arm has three main nerves running through it: the median, ulnar, and radial nerves. The radial nerve runs from the neck to the underside of your arm, and radial tunnel syndrome occurs any time it is pinched or compressed.
You can feel the aches of radial tunnel syndrome in different parts of your arm. However, you will typically experience hand pain when you try to move your hands. Symptoms of radial tunnel syndrome also include fatigue and weakness in your forearm and wrist.
Overuse of the arm affects the muscles adjacent to the radial nerve and leads to its compression. So, you are more likely to develop radial tunnel pain if you are working in manufacturing, construction, or even a desk job. Playing sports also puts you at risk of radial tunnel syndrome, especially when the game involves repetitive motion.
How Do You Treat Radial Tunnel Syndrome?
After a review of your medical history and by conducting a physical examination, your doctor can diagnose radial tunnel syndrome and give you the necessary treatment. Your options will depend on the severity of your condition.
Conservative Treatments and Medication
Most patients will only need rest and conservative medical treatment to recover. Part of this treatment is to cease using the affected hand. If you must use it, it is best to take frequent breaks to avoid aggravating the injury. An occupational therapist can evaluate your workstation and recommend stretching exercises that you can do whenever you have a break.
They can also prescribe medications that will help with your symptoms. Over-the-counter medications are usually effective at reducing swelling. However, steroid injections help relieve inflammation and ease pressure on your radial nerve.
Splinting and physical therapy are also appropriate conservative treatments for radial tunnel syndrome. In addition, you can use heat and ice to ease your hand pain and reduce the inflammation of the radial nerve.
Doctors tend to reserve surgery for those patients whose radial tunnel pain does not improve over time. Fortunately, this is an outpatient procedure, so a prolonged hospital stay is not necessary.
There are two surgical approaches. First is the muscle-splitting approach, which isolates the surgery to the affected region. Conversely, the extended approach performs surgery on the entirety of the forearm for radial nerve decompression. In either case, your orthopedic surgeon will work to ease pressure on your radial nerve.
The opinion of the orthopedic surgeon along with your preferences determine which approach is best for your condition. Recovery from surgery, including splinting and exercise, can take around 6 to 8 months or more.
Hand Pain Relief In North Dakota
If you are experiencing any hand pain, it is best to consult with your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Although rare, even relatively minor conditions such as radial tunnel syndrome can sometimes seriously affect your quality of life.
For orthopedic care that you can trust, visit The Bone & Joint Center today! We are the largest private practice in North Dakota dedicated to providing relief from musculoskeletal issues, including hand pain from radial tunnel syndrome.
With nine offices located all over the state, we are ready to serve and provide you with quality and affordable healthcare. Our skilled health providers are equipped with the latest therapy and rehabilitation practices to help you resume your life as usual.
Reach out to us today at (800) 424-2663 for more information on how we can help your orthopedic condition. To schedule a consultation, you can call our friendly staff at (701) 946-7400 or (866) 900-8650. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to giving you the compassionate healthcare you deserve!