Rebecca had experienced tingling in her hand before. This time, the tingling was accompanied by a rather large lump on the top of her wrist. As the pain increased, she decided it was time to see a doctor. The lump on her wrist was diagnosed as a ganglion cyst.
“It’s a common problem,” said Dr. M. Shane Frazier, orthopedic surgeon at Central Utah Clinic. “It is by far the most common tumor of the hand or wrist. Besides carpal tunnel syndrome, the next most common ailment is a ganglion cyst.”
Typically, ganglion cysts disappear on their own. In earlier days, people would treat them by smacking the lump with a heavy book, often the Bible – hence the name “Bible bumps.” These days, the main motivators for removing the cysts are their location and appearance.
As stated in an article on WebMD, the cause of ganglion cysts is unknown; however, they occur most often in women. Seventy percent occur in people from 20 to 40 years of age.
While these cysts are often painless, their location can create discomfort or pain. Ganglion cysts can be painful if they press on a nearby nerve, and they can sometimes interfere with joint movement.
For many, the size of the cyst creates unwanted attention with an awkward conversation sure to follow.
“For some people, ganglion cysts are very small,” said Frazier. “But others can be painful and unsightly. A little while ago, I treated one approximately the size of a golf ball.”
If your ganglion cyst is causing pain, the options for treatment may include aspiration and surgery.
Aspiration involves placing a needle into the cyst and drawing out the jelly-like, soft liquid that comprises the cyst. Then an anti-inflammatory solution is injected into the lump.
Surgery is often recommended when painful cysts interfere with normal function or cause numbness or tingling.
Although not life-threatening, ganglion cysts hold the potential for a lot of pain and a number of painful, embarrassing conversations. When in doubt, it is always good to have your doctor check it out. This can help ensure that you will receive a proper diagnosis and can discuss viable treatment options. One form of treatment that is certain not to be discussed is the Bible smack down. This process is bound to cause further injury.