A good night’s sleep is the backbone of daily productivity, energy, and good mood. When anything disrupts sleep for too long, we’re looking at the potential for chronic symptoms that affect the overall quality of life. We can attribute poor quality sleep to some factors. For some people, it’s the ambient noise that keeps them awake at night. For others, it’s light shining in from outdoors. Pain is also a common problem the can affect sleep.
When we think about pain as a sleep disruptor, we usually imagine “big” problems like back pain or sciatica. Rarely do we consider that hand pain could be at the heart of our sleep issues. For many people, hand pain becomes more noticeable at night. This could be because inflammation has increased over the course of the day, by typing or texting, by opening jars and inserting keys into locks. Simple tasks that we don’t even think about do cause normal stress for joints and muscles in the hands and wrists, and this is reason enough for occasional nighttime hand pain. But there are other triggers, as well, and we may want to look into them.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Hand pain that originates in the carpal tunnel occurs because pressure is being placed on the median nerve that runs through this bony tunnel in the wrist joint. When pressure is consistent, symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and pain are likely. Usually, it is the thumb and first three fingers that are affected.
Osteoarthritis of the Thumb
One of the joints that are susceptible to arthritis is located at the base of the thumb. The capralmetacarpal or CMC joint may become stiff and painful, making it difficult to hold small objects such as your keys or a pen. Joint pain may increase in cold weather, as well.
Hand pain caused by tendonitis is usually related to overuse. Your hands may ache after a day spent in the garden, holding shovels and rakes. Painting, holding a racquet to play sports, and even performing certain household chores can also cause inflammation in the tendons of the hand and wrist, leading to pain.
Dupuytren’s Disease (Dupuytren’s Contracture)
There is a thick band of tissue on the palm called fascia. Dupuytren’s Contracture describes a thickened and tightened state of this tissue, which may cause stiffness that worsens over time.