Upper Extremity Pain

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Upper extremity pain can affect the fingers, hands, wrists, and elbows. Causes may vary and each disorder may lead to a specific type of pain. Therefore it’s important to understand the underlying cause of upper extremity pain before beginning treatment.


Common Causes of Upper Extremity Pain


Conditions and injuries that can lead to upper extremity pain include arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, Dupuytren’s disease, sprain and strain of the wrist, trigger finger, and cervical radiculopathy.

Older-man-experiencing-upper-extremity-pain-in-his-wrist
Doctor-examining-patient’s-elbow-for-cause-of-upper-extremity-pain

Other Related Symptoms


Depending on the underlying cause, pain in the upper extremities may also be accompanied by:

  • Inflammation of the joints
  • Warm, swollen, and stiff joints, especially upon waking up in the morning
  • Numbness or tingling in the thumb, index, middle, and radial half of the ring finger
  • Numbness and tingling on the inside of the forearm and hand extending into the little finger and inner half of the ring finger
  • Decreased sensations in the affected upper extremity
  • Weakening grip
  • Difficulty with finger coordination
  • Muscle wasting in the hand
  • Elbow stiffness, swelling, numbness, or tingling on the inside of the elbow and forearm
  • Swelling, bruising, weakening, and movement restriction of the wrist
  • The finger or thumb becomes stiff and clicks during movement

Some conditions are characterized by pain that:

  • Is aggravated by bending the elbow
  • Radiates into the forearm and wrist
  • Worsens with activity
  • Increases with gripping, throwing, or moving the forearm
  • Increases with neck extension

Obtaining an accurate diagnosis will help doctors develop a personalized treatment plan and place the patient on the road to recovery.

Doctor-examining-patient’s-wrist-for-cause-of-upper-extremity-pain

Treatment Options for Upper Extremity Pain


At Westcare Clinics, healthcare practitioners treat upper extremity pain with joint and soft tissue injections, pain management techniques, and occupational medicine, depending on the exact location, cause, and severity of the pain.

Joint and soft tissue injections, such as epidural injections (interlaminar and transforaminal), sacroiliac joint injections, piriformis injection, and trigger point injections, can help ease and treat upper extremity pain. The type of soft tissue injection that is done will depend on the severity and location of the pain.

Patients suffering from upper extremity pain may experience relief by incorporating pain management techniques into treatment; these techniques may include cold and heat therapy, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, mind-body techniques, gentle exercise, music therapy, biofeedback, and occupational therapy. The pain management techniques will be customized according to the patient’s needs.

Westcare Clinics also offers occupational medicine to help patients maintain the strength and flexibility they need to continue working. Our healthcare practitioners are available to train employers to adapt the workplace and worker responsibilities to the physical limitations of their employees.

Advanced Treatment


Patients experiencing upper extremity pain may need complex, long-term care to completely eliminate the symptom. Advanced treatment options may include surgery, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, and other forms of rehabilitation, depending on the underlying cause of upper extremity pain. The Westcare Clinics team is happy to answer any questions patients may have about obtaining advanced treatment for upper extremity pain.

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