5 PT treatments that can improve hand pain

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.When your hand is in pain, nearly every task can cause you to wince, from typing on a keyboard to turning a doorknob. Although it may be tempting to try to grin and bear the pain, being proactive about treatment can help alleviate your current pain while reducing your risk of feeling it again in the future.

There are many different ways that you can improve your hand pain. But physical therapy should be one of your first courses of action. With a personalized treatment plan, a physical therapist can help alleviate your hand pain and improve the overall function of the affected muscles and joints.

We’ll talk about potential causes of hand pain as well as a variety of physical therapy treatments that can help.

Potential causes of hand pain

It’s important to remember that hand pain shouldn’t always be brushed off. While some causes result in only temporary discomfort, others can stem from injuries or medical conditions.

Here are some common causes of hand pain:

  • Arthritis — The most common cause of hand pain is arthritis, which means the joints are inflamed. It can cause issues in the hand and wrist, including pain, stiffness and swelling.
  • Trigger finger — Also referred to as stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger finger refers to your finger or thumb being stuck in a bent position. It occurs when the tendon can’t move due to swelling in the tendon sheath.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome — At the base of your hand, there’s a passageway of bone and ligament called the carpal tunnel. This passageway contains the median nerve. The nerve can become compressed if the tunnel narrows due to inflammation or irritation, causing pain.
  • Trauma injuries — Common hand injuries stem from playing sports, falling or working in construction. Bone fractures and muscle sprains are common traumatic hand injuries.

5 physical therapy treatments that can help hand pain

Without proper treatment, hand pain can persist or worsen, interfering with your overall quality of life. There are many physical therapy treatments that can alleviate hand pain as well as improve the overall quality and function of your hands and wrists. Physical therapy for your hand and wrist can increase the strength, flexibility and range of motion of your joints to reduce the risk of future pain and injury.

A physical therapist will design a personalized treatment plan for your hand pain based on the cause, severity of symptoms and physical abilities.

Here are five physical therapy treatments that can improve hand pain:

  • Exercises and stretches — Your physical therapist can guide you through therapeutic stretches and exercises to reduce your hand pain and joint stiffness as well as increase the strength and flexibility of the surrounding muscles.
  • Manual therapy — There are a variety of hands-on techniques that can decrease pain and improve joint mobility, such as joint mobilization. Joint mobilization involves slow, repetitive movements to loosen up stiff joints.
  • IASTM therapy — Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization therapy involves your physical therapist using specialized instruments to break up painful scar tissue. The goal is to restore joint mobility and encourage soft tissue growth in the affected tendons and muscles.
  • Heat and cold — Using hot and cold compresses for hand pain is a tried-and-true method for alleviating the ache. Your physical therapist will likely utilize heat and cold in sessions along with other modalities to reduce potential swelling. 
  • Custom splint — Many causes of hand pain, such as arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, may benefit from a custom splint. It can provide support and pain relief for inflamed joints. Having a custom splint for your hand will ensure that it provides the right level of support for your symptoms, ranging from mild stabilization to maximum immobility.

Lattimore Physical Therapy can show you physical therapy treatments for hand pain

It’s important to be proactive about hand pain because you use your hand hundreds of times a day without even realizing it. At Lattimore Physical Therapy, we have a variety of physical therapy treatments to address your hand pain and restore its function, from therapeutic exercises to custom splint fabrication. 

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