How can wheelchair users manage wrist pain? William George recommends solutions, from medication to lifestyle changes.
Many wheelchair users rely on their arms to carry out daily activities, which include moving around and weight-bearing activities. However, these can take their toll and result in severe wrist pain.
There are both simple and advanced solutions that will help wheelchair users relieve wrist pain or discomfort. These steps will also aid in preventing wrist injury and reduce the chances of developing carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) – a common side effect of strained wrists. This occurs when the median nerve in the wrist is compressed due to pressure or swelling of the nerve.
CTS is characterised by pain, numbness or tingling feelings in the fingers or hand. It is important to note that you should not self-diagnose the condition. It is advisable to consult a doctor if you start experiencing unusual pain in your wrist or arm. The doctor will perform a thorough examination and recommend the appropriate measures.
A wheelchair user may need to adjust their way of performing particular activities, as these may be exacerbating the condition. Lifestyle changes – such as arm and wrist exercises as well as practising alternative ways of propelling the wheelchair without causing pain to the wrist – may help. Wheelchair users can also change their gripping technique.
Wrist strap support
The wrist strap market is filled with options to suit the severity of the condition. For example, there are straps that are suitable for athletic wheelchair users and those who use their arms extensively.
Arm patches come in handy. Wheelchair users ran apply them at night, or even at times when the wheelchair is not in use. This will help relieve the pain or discomfort experienced at certain times of the day.
Generic anti-inflammatory medication is available, ranging from pills to cream solutions. Advanced medication (such as injections) is also available – but should be recommended by a doctor.
Before any surgery is done, the doctor will perform X-ray checks, an electromyogram, and other examinations to rule out other conditions. A doctor will only recommend that CTS surgery be performed if other treatments do not respond. This involves opening the carpal tunnel and cutting the ligament to relieve the pressure.
There are numerous options for treating wrist pain but it is always important to consult your doctor when experiencing any pain or discomfort in with your wrist.