Pain is a symptom. Symptoms are the feedback that the body generates when it faces problems with its delicate internal balance (homeostasis). Without symptoms like pain, thirst, nausea and fevers, it would be very difficult for us to maintain a healthy body in the same way that it would be hard to drive a car safely with no dashboard display.
Treatments And Technologies We Use To Treat Wrist & Hand Pain
The ultimate key to successful treatment of wrist and hand pain is working with a team who are willing to take a sufficiently flexible approach, and trial a number of different therapies to see what works best on your specific case.
It should go without saying that we have a tendency to hold tension in our shoulders. This kind of tension Is a major contributor to many cases of shoulder pain. By using specific stretch techniques for the muscles in the shoulder you can often release a great deal of tension from the shoulder and shoulders. Post Isometric stretches are a specific style of stretching that utilises your muscle’s tendency to relax after it has contracted strongly.
ShockwaveTherapy was originally researched and developed in the 1980s for the non-invasive treatment of kidney stones. Later it was discovered that the same sound soundwaves have a profoundly beneficial effect on injured soft tissues and even bone.
The startling effects of Shockwave Therapy that have been observed in the scientific literature include: blood vessel regeneration – reduction of pain signals – regeneration of bone tissue – prevention of cartilage degeneration – increase in tissue ‘growth factors’ – reversal of chronic inflammation re-absorption of calcification in the tendon – reducing tendinopathies. These effects are a glimpse into how useful shockwave is in the treatment of hand pain and wrist pain.
Shockwave is widely considered the treatment of choice for chronic soft tissue pains in the wrist and hand.
Low Energy Laser Therapy is the application of specific deeply penetrating light waves to a painful area. Light with a wavelength in the red to near infrared region of the spectrum (660nm–905nm) is generally employed because these wavelengths have the ability to penetrate skin, and soft/hard tissues.
Lasers like these are known to trigger the release of a substance called ATP within cells, this indicates that the treatment boosts tissue metabolism in painful areas. A great many clinical trials have shown this type of treatment has a meaningful effect on inflammation and tissue repair. In our experience people with wrist and hand pain often experience immediate improvements in their pain after laser sessions.
A large number of people suffer with stubborn wrist pain and hand pain caused in part by soft tissue adhesions. A bit like a tiny spider web that creates tissue tension and irritation. These types of adhesions can come from almost any history of physical injury, trauma or overuse.
Graston Technique is like a form of specialised massage that utilises ‘scraping’ tools to release the connective tissues. Using Graston Technique to release adhesions can bring shockingly fast relief for many wrist pain and hand pain sufferers. Even for those patients who have struggled for years.
In the world of pain management there has been a very decisive move away from ímmobilisation’’ in favour of more active types of rehab in the last 30 or so years. And yet in NZ at least bracing for wrist pain and hand pain is still surprisingly common given that the evidence has led largely away from these types of approach.
While bone and soft tissue are healing from major breaks and tears bracing, casts and splints are essential. Beyond that a modern take on pain management broadly indicates that you should be suspicious of managing your pain in a way that favours bracing over intense hands on treatment and exercise prescription.
There is an important nuance to understand about the use of exercises in wrist pain and hand pain management. Exercises are a vital part of the longer term rehab of wrist pain and hand pain. In the short term however exercises often either have little effect or slightly aggravate your condition.
If you have a significant build up of muscle knots, soft tissue adhesions or tendinopathies it is way too much to expect that exercises alone will resolve them. Most stubborn cases of wrist pain and hand pain require hands on treatment before they are truly responsive to exercise prescription.
Pain relief first, exercises later, is an excellent rule to observe for most wrist and hand pain cases.
Acupuncture can be extremely helpful in the management of many cases of wrist pain and hand pain. As opposed to the traditional approach to acupuncture (where needles are placed in a wider set of related locations) we generally focus directly on the area of pain.
Needling aims to promote blood flow, ease painful pressure points in soft tissues and reduce pain signals. Needles are placed very superficially around the area of pain and we generally leave them in for around 10 minutes, depending on your body’s tolerance to them. If acupuncture works for your wrist pain and hand pain the benefits are usually felt within the first 2-3 sessions.
Trigger point release techniques use the hands to release those painful muscle points that are all too easy to find in and around literally all chronically painful body parts.
There’s still no full scientific understanding of the role myofascial trigger points play in pain. It’s a very hard thing to study and the truth is we still don’t know much about the body.
Meanwhile, in the front lines where pain is treated day in and day out; treatments that release myofascial trigger points bring dramatic improvements for a great many sufferers of wrist and hand pain.
The Mayo Clinic is one of the world’s foremost medical research institutions, their website lists the following known cortisone side effects: Cartilage damage – death of bone tissue – joint infection – nerve damage – joint inflammation – tendon weakening and rupture – thinning of bone (osteoporosis) – permanent thinning of skin and soft tissue around the injection site.
Maybe you might consider trying our long list of treatments that carry no long term side effects whatsoever before you consider risking a cortisone injection as treatment for your wrist and hand pain.