The hand is one of our body’s most intricate and specific parts. Its ability to use strength to grip, pull, tear and lift, as well as have the fine motor skills and talent to pinch, write and feel things, sets the hand apart as our most valuable body part. A variety of injuries can affect the joints, muscles, tendons and specific structures of the hand, and these injuries can significantly impact someone’s life.
Our hands are of enormous importance for many daily tasks, such as driving, cooking, childcare and computer use.
Hand pain and injury are common and can be successfully diagnosed and treated by your physiotherapist.
Please contact your physiotherapist for more specific advice about your hand pain or injury.
5 Top Reasons For Hand Pain
The number one reason for hand pain is arthritis. But arthritis comes in dozens of different forms. Three are most common among people with discomfort ranging from a dull ache to sharp, sudden, stabbing pain in their hands.
- Osteoarthritis (OA) is the number one most common cause. Pain occurs when the cartilage between the joints in your hands breaks down, making it possible for bones to rub together.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that your body’s defences mistakenly attack your joints. RA causes joint damage, pain, swelling, inflammation, and loss of function. It can also cause unsightly deformities in the fingers.
- Gout attacks the big toe most often, but it can affect any joint, anywhere in your body, including fingers and hands. It occurs when sharp, needle-like crystals build up in the joints. The crystals come from uric acid, a waste product that flows through your bloodstream. Besides various forms of arthritis, some other diseases and conditions trigger hand pain.
- Osteoporosis generally occurs with aging, as bones naturally lose mass. They become brittle, weak, and likely to break easily.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is an opening in the bones of the wrist where a large nerve passes through on its way to the hands and fingers. Sometimes, usually with aging, this nerve is compressed, causing pain, weakness, and even numbness in the hand and wrists.
Naturally, your doctor is your best source of information if you need to find out why your hand pain is. Rely only on them to make an accurate diagnosis.
Hand Pain Treatment
Your hand is a complicated group of joints (wrist, hand, thumb and fingers), plus all tendons, muscles and nerves. Understanding the hand is very important for the correct diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
With accurate assessment and early treatment, most hand injuries respond extremely quickly to physiotherapy allowing you to resume pain-free and normal activities of daily living quickly.
Common Hand Pain Treatments
- Acupuncture and Dry Needling.
- Wrist Brace or Support.
- Electrotherapy & Local Modalities.
- Heat Packs.
- Joint Mobilisation Techniques.
- Kinesiology Tape.
- Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
- Supportive Taping & Strapping.
Please ask your physiotherapist for professional treatment advice.
Hand Exercises to relieve hand pain
We’re going to be discussing the hands explicitly working on the muscles that open the hands. This is important because of some exciting research about how much time we spend flexing our fingers. Even if you work at a keyboard all day, the amount of exercise the muscles get that close to your hand vastly outweighs the amount of activity that the muscles get that opens your hand thoroughly. One of the things that come from this over time very often is wrist pain and hand pain.
Another thing that we have noticed over the years is it very often, people have shoulder and neck issues, very often that arise from the hands as well.
Simple idea if you think about how most people spend their days we sit in a car, and then we go to the office, and we sit in a chair and then reflect forward, and everything kind of gets more and more, and more in a caveman posture including our hands. So very often, we were going to need to open up the body the other way. The way we’re to do that in the hands is to go back to one of the tools called a rubber band cool.
In some of our habits. The problem is we don’t remember we want to change their habits until maybe eight or nine o’clock, right before bed. We discussed having systems and reminders in place, and one of the things we recommended was getting some rubber bands and writing on them a catchphrase or a term that would get your attention and go. Every 30 minutes up out of our desk. We’ll take that same rubber band you’ve been wearing on your wrist. And we’re now going to slide it down, and we’re going to put it over your fingers. Because once you have an excellent strong rubber band, you have a great exercise tool to begin working on the muscles that open the hand and reverse the effects of the stuff we do all day. You know, take the rubber band, slip it around the fingers, and simply work on the opening. You’ll have to adjust it and make sure it doesn’t, but the goal here is to do some relatively high repetition opening while you’re sitting there thinking about the next thing you have to type or whatever you’re doing at work. Think about building up to 20 repetitions, depending on how fast you’re going. You can get a big rubber band and only try and do maybe two or three repetitions, but we’re trying to counteract the amount of movement and work we do in a Flex posture all day, every day. Think more along the high repetition route. You do that on both sides, and then once you’ve done that, you will begin doing a little bit of individual finger strengthening. The way that we’re gonna do this is. We’re going to take the same band to make a small loop.
Put it over our index and middle finger, and then we’re going to grip the lower aspect of the band and give ourselves a little bit of resistance. Now we can begin working on spreading the fingers against opposition as well. in this particular set of exercises; we’re opening and extending both against resistance. You will try to do 10 to 20 repetitions of spreading the fingers. Start with the index in the middle, then work in the middle and ring, and finally the ring finger and little finger. You will find these surprisingly weak. There are most people have never exercised them, and as a result. You’ll find a minimal amount of resistance. Go carefully, take it easy, but think about building up repetition throughout the day. This would be a great exercise to combine, as we said, with a habit idea where maybe on your rubber band, you right work for your hands or remind yourself to try and do this regularly throughout the day.
We recommend at least two sessions a day. That may make you sore in the beginning, so stretch it out if you need to but begin thinking, how often can I just do some exercise or work to extend and open my hand and open my fingers?
When you do that, you’re gonna give yourself a huge opportunity to avoid a lot of the common wrist hand issues that arise, plus you may also fix, or at least alleviate some of the discomforts that many people experience in their shoulders and necks as a result of them of the issues that occur in hand.
Please let us know if you have any questions or ideas about this. Be happy to help.
Exercises for Hand Pain
A lot of hand pain comes from compressions or pinches in your nerves. In your shoulder or your wrist. To stretch those, all you have to do is find yourself a wall. A door or the railing of the bed. You put your elbow at a right angle. And then turn away from it and hold this for about 30 seconds. To help with the wrist, you put your fingers on that door, wall, or bed rail and then just turn away from your hand.
You can do it if you don’t have a door wall or bed rail.
We’ll take our hands and bring them up into the air, and then bring them down to the sides with the fingertips facing the ceiling, then take a breath in and drop the shoulders and push the walls away for five, four, three, two, one, and then you can let your arms fall.
All of these stretches give you a little feeling of a pull in your shoulder and wrist, and that’s okay.
Hopefully, this will help, and it can’t hurt to give it a try.