Part 1: Simple Ways to Manage Your Pain!
Hand Arthritis | What to Look For
Are the joints of your hands stiff and achy? Do you notice any swelling at these joints? Do the joints of your hand sometimes feel warm to touch? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have arthritis in your hands.
Osteoarthritis v. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. With osteoarthritis, the protective cartilage between the joints breaks down and wears away. Once this tissue is gone, the body then produces bony spurs throughout the area to “protect” the now compromised joint – resulting in bulky and misaligned joints.
With rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common form of arthritis, is an autoimmune inflammatory disease that attacks the synovial capsules that envelope the joints. Over time, this process can cause deterioration of the boney aspects of the joint.
What Can ProTailored Physical Therapy do for My Arthritic Pain?
If you believe you are suffering from arthritic pain – we highly recommend that you pop on in for an evaluation! Our Doctor’s of Physical and Occupational Therapy will be able to provide you with personalized techniques and recommendations to best manage your pain.
Our therapists have been specially trained to perform various hands-on manual techniques to address your musculoskeletal aches and pains. Some of the manual techniques you may experience at ProTailored Physical Therapy include:
- Active Myofascial Trigger Point Release
- Joint Mobilizations
- Joint Manipulations
- Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization | Known by most as “scraping”
The BEST Ways to Manage Your Arthritic Pain!
HEAT AND ICE
Applying a heat pack to the stiff joints can loosen the tight capsules and promote a greater pain-free range of motion. When using a heat pack, you will want to leave it on for 10-15 minutes for greatest benefits to be felt. *If you suffer from numbness throughout the hand – we recommend that you don’t use a heat pack!
Applying a cold pack to the swollen, painful joints can decrease inflammation and reduce aches. When using a cold pack, you will want to leave it on for 6-10 minutes.
We suggest giving both of these methods a try to see which your body responds best to!
Immobilizing the painful joints for short periods of time, particularly when performing hand intensive activities, will reduce the stressors applied to the hand and ultimately decrease your pain.
Different orthotics are available to support different aspects of the hand. Our skilled therapists will be able to provide you with specific recommendations to best benefit you.
Utilizing adaptive equipment designed to assist those with limited mobility and strength as a result of arthritis. This equipment is designed to take stressors off the joints thus alleviating pain and promoting functional mobility. These tools allow you to fully engage in the activities that are most meaningful to you.
Below is a picture of a built up grip – which can be used on cutlery, pencils, pens, paint brushes, tooth brushes, etc.