3 Tips to Manage Your Hand Pain
6th April 2017
By Stacey Jackson
1. Seek treatment EARLY
Often patients think ‘it’s just a finger, it will get better soon’…..low and behold you end up in our treatment rooms 3 months down the track with a finger that doesn’t work and continues to cause you pain. That’s 3 months later!!! We can assess, diagnose and treat you injury immediately, and in most cases patient who seek treatment early are back to full function within 6 weeks. Treatment can include; splinting/ strapping, reducing your swelling, prescribing exercises and once you are ready, we can strengthen the injured hand/ wrist/ arm!!
2. Don’t do too much, too soon
Injured tissues need the opportunity to rest so they can heal. Because our hands are so ‘handy’ (pun intended) we use them for almost everything we do! As a result, we often continue to use our hands after injury, pushing through pain and hence delaying the healing process. When the healing is delayed, the swelling and pain can become prolonged and the tissues can become less responsive to treatment. If you seek treatment early enough, our therapist can perform a comprehensive assessment and begin the appropriate treatment straight away- which in some cases is to immobilize the injured joint to allow the tissues to rest and heal! Once the tissues are on their way to healing, we can progress therapy as required, ensuring you are back in action ASAP…but not too soon of course!
3. Don’t be afraid to take pain relief
“Inadequately treated acute pain can result in the sensitization of the peripheral and central nervous system, which may ultimately lead to the development of chronic pain” (Ekam & Koman, 2004)….in other words if you don’t get on top of your pain from the start, it’s likely to resolve a lot slower. The other benefit of pain relief is that it will allow you to perform your prescribed treatment program in more comfort, getting you better sooner!
So remember, pain is an important part of our protection mechanism, but at times, it can be over protective. If you have injured your hand, wrist or arm and your pain is not well managed from the start with appropriate treatment and pain relief, you may be at risk of developing long term, chronic pain.
Let us help you get on top of your hand pain today! You can find a local practitioner of hand therapy via our website in the Find a Therapist section www.ahta.com.au.
Reference: Evan F. Ekman, MD; L. Andrew Koman, MD Acute Pain Following Musculoskeletal Injuries and Orthopaedic Surgery Mechanisms and Management
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2004 Jun; 86 (6): 1316 -1327