Knowing when to see a doctor for De Quervain's syndrome may be difficult, especially if you believe you can treat De Quervain's syndrome at home. However, since De Quervain's syndrome can lead to permanent damage if not properly treated, there are certain times when you should see a health care provider despite any misgivings you may have. If you suspect you have De Quervain's syndrome you should see a doctor:
- If the pain is getting worse or your range of motion and grip strength is continually lessening you should seek medical help.
- If the condition becomes chronic, reoccurring regularly over a long period of time, or does not abate at all and has been persistent for a long time.
- If the pain, lack of grip strength or loss of range of motion interfere with your required daily activities and proper rest is not practical
- If preventative measures for De Quervain's syndrome have not been sufficient
- If treating De Quervain's syndrome at home has not helped
- If you can't avoid repetitive stress or the cause of De Quervain's syndrome
What to Expect From Your Doctor
Your first stop should probably be your general practitioner. Your doctor will take a history of your symptoms and ask about activities that trigger or worsen the symptoms. They will also ask about in treatments, over the counter medication or home remedies you have tried and what affect they have had.
Your doctor can perform some basic tests for De Quervain's syndrome like Finkelstein's test. They may also request some form of imagery, such as an X-ray or MRI. And, depending on their knowledge of the condition, may be qualified to prescribe proper treatment.
Your general practitioner may refer you to: a physical therapist or occupational therapist for therapy; an orthopedist, rheumatologist, hand therapist or other specialist for further evaluation; or a surgeon if surgery is an option.
You should leave you appointment with a diagnosis and treatment regiment or a referral.
What to Bring to Your Doctor
Being prepared with a thorough history of your symptoms can help your doctor, whether it is your primary care provider or a physical therapist, diagnose your De Quervain's syndrome. Having your information well organized can similarly help your doctor get through all the pertinent information in the time usually allotted for an appointment.
Information you should have on hand is:
- What your symptoms are
- When your symptoms first presented or started
- How severe your symptoms are
- If your symptoms come and go or are persistant
- What activities trigger or worsen your symptoms
- What kind of repetitive stress concerning your hands or wrists you regularly encounter
- Any candidate causes of De Quervain's syndrome you have identified
- Any recent injuries to your hand or wrist and how they were treated
- Other medical conditions you currently suffer from or have had in the past, including surgeries
Journal your symptoms. Write down all your symptoms with notes about duration and severity. Use a Visual Analog Pain Scale to track the pain. Make notes of the activities you partake in, especially if they put you at risk for De Quervain's syndrome, and if they seem to have a positive or negative effect. Likewise note any treatments and if they have a positive or negative effect. It is always helpful to write down any questions you have for your doctor before your appointment.
Patients often get flustered or forget when in the exam room. Write down your questions and make sure you get satisfactory answers before you leave. Remember, your doctor is there to help you and you are paying them for that help, so get your money's worth.