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When to Visit a Wrist Pain Doctor

While wrist pain is experienced by most at some point in their lives, it is typically brief, sharp pain and disappears eventually. In these cases, the pain or discomfort simply goes away on its own. There are times, however, that chronic wrist pain will persist, and you would need to see a doctor to identify the source of the pain and propose a treatment plan.

As you prepare to see a doctor for treatment of wrist injuries in New York City, here are some things to know about this injury. 

Wrist Pain Symptoms

There are many variations of wrist pain. Sometimes, you will experience only pain. Other times, you will also have other symptoms, such as: 

  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Reduced range of motion 
  • Loss of feeling or numbness 
  • Weakness 

Signs You Should See a Pain Management Doctor

Signs You Should See a Pain Management DoctorIf your wrist is just a little sore and the pain has only been there for a few hours, you should probably observe and see what happens after a while. If the condition of your wrist does not improve, it is smart to schedule an appointment with a doctor sooner rather than later for an accurate diagnosis.

The following are common scenarios when you realize that your wrist injury is serious. Once you identify these symptoms, you can decide what kind of doctor to consult for your wrist pain. 

There Is an Obvious Deformity

If you see that something is wrong with your wrist just by looking at it, don’t delay booking an appointment with a doctor. Potential causes of obvious deformities in the wrist include a broken or a dislocated wrist. 

There Is an Open Wound Requiring Treatment

Even if there isn’t an obvious deformity on your wrist, but you have a large open wound, you should go to the doctor. Your open wound should first be cleaned to prevent infection. Also, stitches may be necessary to close the wound.

It Hurts After Trauma

If your wrist starts to hurt after trauma, ask your doctor to evaluate the pain. Explain the incident and have your doctor examine the rest of your body as well. Simple injuries like a slight fall or something similar can worsen if left untreated. 

The Pain Is Severe

The Pain Is SevereEvaluate your level of pain. If the pain feels manageable, try some home remedies for a day or two. You can then decide to visit the doctor if the pain doesn’t go away. But if your pain becomes more and more severe, consult the doctor right away. Severe pain indicates a more serious issue. Even if there isn’t an obvious cause of pain, your doctor may at least be able to recommend some painkillers to alleviate the pain while you wait for further treatment. 

Numbness in Your Hand or Wrist

If you feel numbness on your hand or wrist, take this as a warning that something could be seriously wrong. If you delay treatment, the injury could worsen over time. The sooner you can consult your doctor about the numbness, the better. 

You Notice a Lump, Redness, Warm Sensation, or Swelling

Lumps, redness, a warm sensation, and swelling are signs of an infection. A small infection could potentially lead to serious conditions, so make sure to see a wrist doctor as soon as possible as soon as you notice any of those symptoms. 

Rest or Cold Compress Doesn’t Make It Better

When your wrist hurts, one of the first remedies is to apply a cold compress and give it some rest. These tips should give relief for most minor wrist issues. 

However, if you don’t notice an improvement after a few days of resting and applying a cold compress, you should make an appointment with your doctor. The pain can result from a serious underlying issue that can only be addressed by a doctor. 

You’re in Pain When Your Wrist Is Resting

You are in Pain When Your Wrist Is RestingIt’s completely normal for your wrist to hurt when using your hands continuously for a long time, like when you’re typing, cooking, or cleaning. Frequent periods of rest are recommended when there is pain from overworking your hands. Ideally, the pain will subside when you’re resting and even completely disappear when you’re not using your hands.

However, if the pain persists even when your hands are resting, consult your doctor. You may have an underlying condition, such as carpal tunnel syndrome

The Pain Resumes When You Return to Certain Activities

After you rest your wrists a little, they should be feeling better. However, you may notice that the pain returns once you resume activities such as typing or heavy lifting. When this happens regularly, you know it’s time to contact your doctor. 

Your Wrist Has Reduced Mobility or Range of Motion

One of the most common indicators that you need to see a wrist doctor is when your wrist no longer has a full range of motion. This will mean that you are physically incapable of moving your wrist in certain ways. There may also be instances when you may technically be able to move it, but the motion itself causes extreme pain, numbness, or tingling. This is a cause for concern. 

Simply put, if you can’t move your wrist without experiencing pain, tingling, or numbness, consult a doctor. For instance, if the pain radiates to your fingers, your nerves may be pinched. There are also other potential causes that your doctor can identify and treat.

Your Pain Levels Change Regularly

Another good indication that a doctor should examine your wrist is when your wrist’s pain levels change throughout the day. Your pain may intensify throughout the day, or it could be at its worst when you wake up in the morning. Any variation in pain levels throughout the day is a good indicator that you need to consult a doctor. 

Temporary Home Remedies

Temporary Home RemediesIf you don’t have any of the above symptoms, you may want to wait a day or two to observe whether or not the wrist pain goes away without medical treatment. If you opt for home remedies, just watch out for any of the serious symptoms mentioned above and be ready to see a doctor if any of those signs appear. 

At home, you can use the RICE recovery method

  • Rest – Reduce use of the injured wrist. It’s best to completely stay off it by using your other hand. 
  • Ice – Apply cold compress on the area for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Always use a barrier like a towel between your skin and the ice.
  • Compression – Use a pressure or compression bandage to support your wrist in order to reduce swelling. Alternatively, you can use a wrist brace. 
  • Elevate – Elevate your wrist so your arm is higher than your heart. This will also reduce swelling. 

You can also take over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. 

The Type of Doctor to See for Wrist Pain

The Type of Doctor to See for Wrist PainOnce you decide to see a doctor wrist pain diagnosis and treatment, you still have to decide what kind of doctor specializes in addressing wrist pain. Your primary physician is a good starting point. If your wrist’s condition is beyond their expertise, they will refer you to physical therapy or other appropriate specialty definitive treatment advice, which may include the following:

  • Rheumatologist
  • Sports medicine provider
  • Physical therapist
  • Physiatrist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Neurologist 
  • Primary care doctor 

Potential Causes of Wrist Pain

There are many reasons that your wrist may hurt, like underlying health conditions, trauma, or injuries resulting from an accident. 

If you get injured at work, common causes of wrist pain from trauma include: 

  • Fractures or a broken bone
  • Ligament damage
  • Tendon damage
  • Burns 

Or you may have an underlying health condition that causes wrist pain, such as: 

  • Arthritis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Dupuytren’s contracture
  • Trigger finger
  • Ganglion cyst
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
  • Brachial plexus injuries

It is even possible for an injury to worsen the pain caused by some of the underlying conditions mentioned above.

Why Visit Neuro Care Injury Institute for Wrist Pain

Why Visit Neuro Care Injury Institute for Wrist PainConsider Neuro Care Injury Institute in the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, Manhattan, or Brooklyn for your wrist pain treatment. We will carefully evaluate your wrist and any other area of your body that may be injured. Our extensive experience helps us give a proper diagnosis of the underlying problem and determine proper treatment, including whether you need wrist surgery. 

Free Diagnostic Evaluations

We are dedicated to making treatment accessible. As part of these efforts, we offer free diagnostic evaluations for our injured patients. This prevents patients from putting off treatment or evaluations due to financial concerns. It also helps us prevent long-term disability or permanent injury by encouraging patients to begin treatment as soon as possible. 

We Prioritize Our Patients

At Neuro Care Injury Institute, we always prioritize our patients, and it’s a convenient place to get treatment if you live in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, or Staten Island. Improving your health is our ultimate goal, but we also do our best to ensure your experience is positive. Our team will answer all the questions you may have. They will also offer the diagnostics and treatment in a clinic located near you.

The Bottom Line

Wrist pain may result from either minor or more severe conditions. In the case of mild wrist pain, applying a cold compress or simply resting at home for a day or two may be enough. If your symptoms don’t improve, there’s pain after a fall or trauma, or you notice other symptoms on your wrist, see a wrist specialist as soon as you can. 

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About The Author

Picture of Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D. is a highly respected neurologist based in New York City. With over 20 years of experience in the field of neurology, he has earned a reputation as a leading expert in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and traumatic brain injuries. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Malhotra is also a dedicated educator and researcher. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and has presented his research at national and international conferences.