Hand Cramps

What are hand cramps, and how are they treated?

Have you ever experienced sudden and uncontrollable twinges in your hand? If so, it may be due to a hand cramp.

Our board-certified surgeons at OrthoNeuro have assisted many in finding relief from hand cramping, as well as diagnosing the underlying cause. If you are having frequent bouts with this hand condition, schedule an appointment with us today! We have many offices throughout Columbus, OH for your convenience.

What Are Hand Cramps?

Hand cramps (also known as muscle spasms) are involuntary contractions of the muscles in the hands. Cramping in the hand can be caused by many different things and can range from mild to severe.

In general, muscle cramps in the hand are not dangerous and may seem like they have no obvious cause. However, if they are coupled with other symptoms, it may indicate that there is an underlying cause.

A muscle spasm in your hand can also be referred to as a:

  • Writer’s cramp, which can occur if you have been writing to typing for an extended period.
  • Musician’s cramp that happens while playing a musical instrument.

Possible Causes of Hand Cramps

Below you will find several factors that commonly cause hand cramps. These include:

  • Repetitive motions- Repetitive motions can occur from activities, such as typing or other tasks that require constant use of the hands for long periods of time.
  • Dehydration or electrolyte imbalances- Dehydration or electrolyte imbalances can occur if a person does not get enough fluids or electrolytes in their diet. Electrolytes are vital for muscle function.
  • Nerve damage- Nerve damage can be caused by direct trauma to the area or trapped nerves due to poor posture.
  • Muscle fatigue- Muscle fatigue is also a common cause of hand cramps and can come from overusing the muscles in the hands without giving them time to rest.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis- Rheumatoid arthritis can result in joint pain, joint stiffness, and other symptoms.
  • Diabetic stiff hand syndrome- Diabetic stiff hand syndrome (also known as diabetic cheiroarthropathy or stiff hand syndrome) is a condition that limits finger movements due to waxy skin and a thickening of the skin.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome- Carpal tunnel syndrome can sometimes cause hand spasms.
  • Poor circulation and kidney disease can also cause hand cramps.
  • Exercising in the heat.

While intense, repetitive hand movements can cause muscle spasms, cramping can also be caused by a neurological disorder called focal dystonia, which can cause involuntary muscle contractions in your hand. Our neurologists have many years of experience when it comes to providing a diagnosis and treatment.

Hand Cramp Symptoms

Symptoms of hand cramping may include:

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness

Hand cramps can sometimes affect a person’s grip strength, making it difficult to do everyday tasks.

Hand Cramp Treatment Options

Hand cramps usually go away on their own. However, if you notice that your hands are frequently cramping, be sure to contact a medical professional. Your treatment will depend on the cause of your symptoms.

Treatment for hand cramps includes:

  • Rest
  • Stretching exercises
  • Improved posture
  • Lifestyle changes such as getting more fluids or adding more electrolytes to the diet.
  • In some cases, medications such as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or Vitamin D supplements may be needed to help manage symptoms.

Hand cramps can be treated by neurologists, rehabilitation specialists, hand therapists, or a combination of these for a multi-disciplinary approach. Your specialist will let you know the best treatment for your specific needs. It is very rare that hand surgery is needed to treat this condition. However, prevention is the best treatment.

How Can Hand Cramps Be Prevented?

There are several things you can do to prevent hand cramps from occurring. Below you will find a detailed list of options that may help you.

Take Regular Breaks

One way to prevent hand cramps is to make sure you take regular breaks throughout the day to give your muscles a break. Any activity involving the hands should be done in intervals, and taking breaks every 15 minutes or so can help reduce the strain on the muscles.

Stay Hydrated

In addition to regular breaks, making sure you’re staying hydrated is an important way to keep cramps at bay. It’s essential to make sure you drink plenty of water, as dehydration can lead to cramping.

Exercise Regularly

Engaging in regular exercise is also beneficial because it helps maintain good muscle health and strength. Exercises that work the arms, shoulders, and hands are especially helpful for relieving tension in these areas. Stretching exercises can also help prevent cramps by reducing tightness and tension in the muscles.

Improve Your Posture

Lastly, it’s important to ensure you have good posture while performing any activity involving your hands. Poor posture can put a strain on the muscles, making them more prone to cramping. Making sure to sit or stand with good posture will help reduce the chances of cramping.

Following these simple steps can help prevent hand cramps before they start, so you can keep doing the activities you love without interruption.

Outlook for Hand Cramps

The outlook for hand cramps is usually good. Most cases are mild and can be resolved with simple changes to lifestyle or diet. However, if you are experiencing severe cramps or they do not seem to get better with treatment, it is important to see a doctor, as this could be a sign of something more serious.

Overall, hand cramps can be a minor annoyance for many people, but it is essential to pay attention to any signs that something more serious is happening.

If you are experiencing severe or persistent hand cramps, schedule an appointment at OrthoNeuro in Columbus, Ohio for proper diagnosis and treatment! With the right lifestyle changes and treatments, you can get relief from your cramps.

Hand, Wrist, and Elbow Specialists

“I love this group of Doctors. They have specialists to cover what ever part of the body is in need of treatment. Every doctor i have seen in this practice have had a very good bedside manner and very knowledgeable. I highly recommend this practice for all your orthopedic and neurological needs”
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