What can my non-joint hand pain be?
May 17, 2007 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Besides "see a doctor", what can my relatively mild, non-joint, pressure induced hand pain be? Too many details inside.

It's localized in the middle (metacarpals) of the back of my right hand, nowhere near any joints, roughly below my index finger.

It happens infrequently, only when I apply pressure to the palm of my right hand (as though doing a push up) or the back of my right hand (wrist bent, opposite of doing a push up). It's worst when the pressure is where my index finger joins the palm... pressure at the base of my palm or on the pinky side isn't nearly as bad.

If I let up, the pain goes away instantly. Normal activities (typing, writing, etc.) don't produce pain or anything unusual. Things which actually cause pain happen roughly once a week or less and are basically short things like sitting on the floor and getting up by pressing down, or pulling myself out of the pool by pressing down.

I've been trying the "don't do things that hurt and it'll go away" method, which hasn't worked (uh, it's been a long time, long enough that I've forgotten when it first started...say years). More recently I've been trying the stretch it gently and it'll get better method, which is similarly not working.

My hands sometimes do fall asleep at night, but only when I'm actually sleeping on top of my arms. No other tingling, numbness, loss of strength, etc.

Possibly unrelated, I have a marble sized lump which I am pretty sure is a cyst on that hand where the wrist joint is. Giving it a decent whack didn't produce any pain or anything unexpected besides the "ow there's skin here" sensation. I'm not sure how long it's been there since it's pretty well hidden by the skin around the joint, I'm almost completely sure that it hasn't been there as long as the pain.

I (no surprises) do not like doctors. I understand that I will be told to visit one anyway, and I may actually do so... But I want to emphasize that this is pretty mild as far as pain goes and it's been pretty easy to avoid things which put pressure on my wrist in that way (it doesn't kill me to swim five extra feet to the pool ladder).
posted by anaelith to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Ok, IANAD but I do have tendonitis in my hand/wrist. It is not associated with a joint and I have had it diagnosed by my doctor.

The best treatments for it have been (1) Wearing an immobilizing splint as often as possible, especially while sleeping. (2) Icing it when it hurts. (3) Taking Aleve when it hurts.

My doctor told me that it should take about 2-3 weeks for my tendonitis flare up to go away, and to come back after that. So, I'm not saying you should not go to the doctor, because I think you should. But if you want to try the relatively common sense approach I mentioned above, and it STILL hurts after 2-3 weeks, then I very strongly suggest the doctor, because you may need to have some x-rays and tests done, and possibly see an occupational therapist.
posted by tastybrains at 8:59 AM on May 17, 2007

and to come back after that.

I realize this sounded a little unclear. I meant that if it didn't go away in 2-3 weeks time, that she said I should come back for further investigation. (It did go away, btw)
posted by tastybrains at 9:00 AM on May 17, 2007

The bump in your wrist sounds like it could be a ganglion cyst. There are several treatments for those ranging from an outpatient surgical procedure to having someone place a heavy book on it and smack it.
posted by Soda-Da at 9:09 AM on May 17, 2007

Thanks tastybrains. I'm curious: Did your tendonitis hurt all of the time, or just when you did certain things?

Soda-Da: I agree that it's probably a cyst and non-problematic, I just bring it up for the sake of thoroughness, since I noticed it while I was poking at my hand trying to figure out which things hurt and which didn't.
posted by anaelith at 9:20 AM on May 17, 2007

I'm curious: Did your tendonitis hurt all of the time, or just when you did certain things?

It hurt when I bent my hand in a certain way, such as reaching for the seatbelt behind me. It also sometimes hurt when I was trying to sleep because I sleep all curled up stupid, which is why the brace helped me from twisting it into an uncomfy position while sleeping.

The brace/splint I got was relatively cheap & I got it at CVS, btw. Definitely the kind with the metal bar is necessary, otherwise it won't do squat. When you get it, flatten the metal bar completely out. I did this on the advice of my stepmother who is an occupational therapist who specializes in hands.
posted by tastybrains at 12:06 PM on May 17, 2007

I have had tendonitis too, and I was advised by a physical therapist, a occupational health physician, and a hand surgeon that a wrist brace was contraindicated, as it could make things worse. So I wouldn't do that without talking to a medical professional first.

Things which actually cause pain happen roughly once a week or less and are basically short things like sitting on the floor and getting up by pressing down

You probably already figured out that it was a better idea to shift to your knees and get up that way.
posted by grouse at 3:52 PM on May 17, 2007

If you don't like doctors, how do you feel about acupuncturists? I guarantee you they would have a 'cure' for this. And getting accupuncture is pretty *cool*.

Otherwise, 2-3 Advils before you do anything you know is going to cause pain, will prevent it from inflaming.

Things it could be: bone spur, bone bruise, cartiledge decay, wierd deposit (anything that can make it through your blood vessels can get lodged anywhere in your body if it find a way into your circulatory system), tendonitis, just off the top of my head.
posted by valentinepig at 3:59 PM on May 17, 2007

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