After struggling for a few months with pain and stiffness in my hand I went to the Dr. I had blood work and x-rays and nothing seemed to be wrong, yet the pain and stiffness continued especially in my middle and ring fingers on my right hand. Since I am right-handed, the pain I had was nearly constant and I would frequently wake up in the middle of the night with pain in stiffness in my hand.
Finally, yesterday I went to a hand specialist and everything I had been experiencing was validated. I was starting to feel like my symptoms were in my head, but finally, I have some answers and a diagnosis.
The Dr noted some slight Osteoarthritis in my right hand on both the middle and ring fingers. Huh….the same ones with the pain. Then after discussing all my symptoms and problems and feeling around and noting my pain, my second diagnosis was Trigger Finger. Clicking on the words will take you to informational pages on WebMD to learn more. As much as I didn’t want to hear this type of diagnosis, I am happy to know that this is manageable. The main treatment for these conditions is rest, heat therapy, and regular doses of pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium to reduce the inflamation. If these methods do not work, the next step would be a steroid injection (which I want to avoid, if possible). Now, resting my right hand and fingers will be difficult. In fact, typing on the computer can cause pain in my fingers. So, even though I won’t be able to rest my hand entirely, I am taking care not to put added pressure on my hands and resting them when I can.
If you are having symptoms of swelling, stiffness, or pain in any of your joints (knee, hip, feet, hands, back) take note of your pain and symptoms and when they are occuring. If the symptoms don’t go away after a couple months, you may want to see your physician. Even though it took me a little bit to get to my diagnosis, I know what I am dealing with and how to manage it. I may not see or feel relief for awhile, but as long as I continue to follow the dr’s orders, I should see results eventually. Hopefully, the osteoarthritis doesn’t progress any further, though I know it is possible. As my doctor kept telling me….”I’m still young!” That was certainly nice to hear!
Only you (or a family member if you are unable to) can be your best advocate when it comes to your health. If you don’t get the answers you need, keep asking, get a second opinion, a third opinion, until you are satisfied. You only have this life to live on this earth. Make the best of it!