Does your wrist have a squishy lump about the size of a pea? You might have a ganglion cyst, also known as a Bible bump. Some ganglion cysts are painless and disappear over time, but others expand and cause pain as you move the joints in your hand and arm. Depending on where your cyst sits on your wrist, you may feel sharp pains, a burning sensation, or weakness around the area. Fortunately, you don't have to accept the pain as a normal part of your life. Try the helpful tips below to gain some relief
Visit an Orthopedic Specialist
Schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor, also known as a hand surgeon or hand surgery specialist, as soon as possible. The doctor will perform a visual examination of your wrist or order a test, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI, to confirm that you have a ganglion cyst. Orthopedic specialists address ganglion cysts by utilizing one or more of the following treatment options:
- Surgical removal of the cyst
- Aspiration, which is when the doctor removes fluid with a syringe to reduce the size of the cyst
- An immobilizing wrist brace or splint to make the cyst smaller
- Prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications for pain management
Visit an orthopedic surgeon to confirm your suspicions of a ganglion cyst before you try home remedies for pain relief. This helps ensure that you treat the correct condition.
Change Your Work Habits
Leaning your wrist against a pull-out keyboard tray or the edge of a laptop may put pressure on the cyst and make wrist pain worse. Apply a gel-filled cover to the edge of your desk to create a cushioned, comfortable place where you can rest your wrists.
Take frequent breaks during the workday so that your wrist isn't in one position for too long. When you take a break, stretch your hands and wrists by holding your arms above your head and wiggling your fingers. This helps encourage blood flow and eliminate muscle tightness, and it may also help the cyst migrate slightly so that it isn't pressing against nerves. An orthopedic specialist can demonstrate other exercises for pain reduction.
Apply Ice Packs
Ice may help reduce pain caused by swelling and inflammation. If your ganglion cyst hurts, wrap an ice pack or gel pack in a towel and place it on the cyst. Do not apply unwrapped ice directly to your skin, as this may cause frostbite or an ice burn.
Apply the ice pack for up to 20 minutes once every 3 or 4 hours. If you accidentally leave the ice pack on too long and suspect your skin has frostbite, slowly warm the skin up by placing it in warm water for 15 to 30 minutes. Use a thermometer to make sure the temperature falls between 99 degrees Fahrenheit and 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Mayo Clinic warns that you should never heat frostbitten skin with a heating pad or lamp because your skin may burn.
Avoid Outdated Home Remedies
Ganglion cysts earned the nickname "Bible bumps" because they were once treated with a powerful thump from a Bible. This old-fashioned treatment may temporarily make a cyst disappear, but it isn't a safe treatment option. Hitting your arm with a Bible may damage nerves, trigger bruising or swelling, or cause a wrist fracture.
You should also avoid home remedies that encourage you to thump your wrist with other heavy objects or bang it against a hard surface. Like Bible hitting, these actions can damage your wrist.
You don't have to experiment with different pain relief options on your own. Contact a reputable orthopedic surgeon at a location like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates to develop a customized treatment plan for your ganglion cyst.