As recently as 20 years ago, people with chronic pain were too often dismissively told that their problem was "in their heads" or that they were hypochondriacs. But in the last decade, a handful of dedicated researchers learned that chronic pain is not simply a symptom of something else -- such as anxiety, depression, or a need for attention -- but a disease in its own right, one that can alter a person's emotional, professional, and family life in profound and debilitating ways. Today, doctors have...
De Quervain's tendinitis. This is also known as de Quervain's tendinosis. It causes pain on the thumb side of the wrist.
The pain may develop gradually or suddenly. It can travel the length of the thumb and up the forearm. If you have de Quervain's tendinitis, movements that can be painful include:
Making a fist
Grasping or holding objects
Turning the wrist
The pain results from swelling of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb, which is caused by irritation or inflammation. Repetitive activities and overuse are often responsible for the onset of de Quervain's.
New mothers are at high risk because of the awkward position in which they hold their baby and their fluctuating hormones. Wrist fractures can also increase your risk of de Quervain's. Pain relief treatments include:
These symptoms can be particularly noticed in the thumb, index finger, and middle finger. This can make it hard to grip objects.
The discomfort occurs when swelling presses against the median nerve. The median nerve controls sensation and muscle impulses in the thumb and fingers (except for the pinkie finger).
The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a structure made up of bones and connective tissues that is located at the base of the hand. It is in this narrow space that the median nerve is pinched by inflamed or irritated tendons or other swelling.