Last month I wrote about elbow pain and acupuncture, so I thought I would continue with another joint that can cause lots of pain and suffering, the wrist.

When most people think of wrist pain, they automatically think of carpal tunnel syndrome (pain and numbness of the wrist and fingers), but there are many different possible causes of wrist pain.

That is why it is important to talk with your doctor and get a working diagnosis in order to treat it properly.

A common cause of wrist injury is due to sprains.

Sprains occur at joints and affect ligaments, which connect bone to bone.
Sprains at the wrist most often occur from falls, and accidents or collisions. Sprains are usually noticeable when they occur, but sometimes a minor sprain will happen without being noticed.

The symptoms of sprains include:

  • limited mobility
  • inflammation
  • pain
  • swelling
  • bruising

To diagnose sprains, your doctor will look at the impacted area and ask q
uestions about the injury or accident. Your doctor may also take an X-ray to ensure that there are no
broken or chipped bones. For this type of injury, rest, compression, and a bit of ice at the very beginning of the injury are recommended. After about 6 hours, switch from ice to a heating pad.

Acupuncture is a very good option for this type of injury as it can help reduce the swelling and inflammation as well as help manage the pain so that less pain medication is needed and the healing time is shorter.

Arthritis, which is an inflammation of the joints, is another possible cause of wrist pain. One cause of arthritis is due to normal wear and tear of cartilage around the joint. Cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue in your joints, which protects the joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created from stress and movement. A reduction in the normal amount of cartilage tissue in a joint can cause pain in the joint.

The most common symptoms of arthritis are:

  • joint pain
  • stiffness
  • swelling
  • the range of motion of the joint may decrease
  • there may also be redness of the skin around the joint (a sign of inflammation)

Many people with arthritis notice that their symptoms are worse in the morning and on humid days. Diagnosis of arthritis by a doctor begins with a physical exam to check for fluid around the joints, warm or red joints, and limited range of motion in the joints. In order to determine the exact type of arthritis, a doctor will have to extract and analyze inflammation levels in your blood and joint fluids.

Although acupuncture cannot replace the cartilage in your joints, it can be an important way to help manage the pain and swelling in the wrist joint as well as help ease the stiffness of the joint.

Another common cause of wrist pain is tendonitis, which usually occurs from injury, repetitive movements, and aging.

Pain from tendinitis:

  • typically a dull ache that is concentrated around the affected joint
  • increases when you move the injured area
  • tender to the touch
  • may also be some swelling

As with all forms of tendonitis, tendonitis of the wrist responds well to acupuncture as it helps to heal the injured tendons and muscles and reduces the swelling and pain.

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