“It is necessary to keep one’s compass in one’s eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges.” – Michelangelo
For almost everyone, our hands are an absolute necessity. With hands we work, we build, we play, we show affection, and we take care of ourselves and others. Because almost all of us have always had hands, it is difficult to imagine life without them. Until you begin to suffer chronic and debilitating pain in your hands.
Common Causes of Chronic Hand Pain
Perhaps the most obvious cause of hand pain is an injury. Because we do use our hands so frequently, it’s often easy for us to do something to injure them. If we trip and fall, for example, the instinctive motion is to break our fall with our hands and arms. This reaction can easily lead to a badly sprained wrist and even injured fingers.
However, aside from accidental injury, the causes of chronic hand pain can often be the result of other actions.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, is usually the result of repetitive motion. Perhaps the most common example of this is the injury and pain that result from too many hours at a computer keyboarding.
An article at WebMD explains,
“It causes pain in the palm and some fingers of the hand, wrist and forearm. Often the pain is worse at night than during the day. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also cause:
The discomfort happens when swelling constricts the median nerve. The median nerve controls sensation and muscle impulses in the thumb and most of the fingers (except for the pinkie finger and the half of the ring finger that’s closest to the pinkie finger).
The median nerve passes through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a structure made up of bones and connective tissues that is located at the base of the hand. It is in this narrow space that the median nerve is pinched by inflamed or irritated tendons or other swelling.”
In fact, various types of repetitive motion can trigger chronic pain from damaged tendons and other tissues. One such condition is known as De Quervain’s Tendinitis, de Quervain’s tendinosis. This problem causes pain on the thumb side of the wrist that can travel the length of the thumb and even up through the forearm.
For those suffering from de Quervain’s tendinitis, the pain may develop gradually or start suddenly and it becomes painful to make a fist, turn the wrist, and even to grasp or hold objects.
The pain is the result of irritation or inflammation of the wrist tendons at the base of the thumb. Like carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive activities and overuse are often responsible for de Quervain’s.
Other chronic hand pain issues are caused by arthritis, especially osteoarthritis,
one of the most common forms of arthritis in the hands. This can be caused by normal use of the hands, or it can sometimes develop after an injury. Osteoarthritis shows up in one of three locations on the hand: the base of the thumb, at the end joint closest to the fingertip, or at the middle joint of a finger.
Using ART® to Treat Chronic Hand Pain
At Pain and Performance Solutions, we have been employing Active Release Technique® therapy for years. The approach is described in an article at Healthline.com,
“Active Release Technique® (ART) treats your body’s soft tissue by combining manipulation and movement. The technique’s been around for more than 30 years. ART entails identifying, isolating, and targeting the affected area to break up scar tissue. This promotes blood flow and faster healing of injuries. ART can be used to treat problems with your:
It was first used by Dr. P. Michael Leahy, a chiropractor, to treat soft tissue disorders in elite athletes and has since been used to treat millions of people.”
Essentially, Active Release Technique® works by breaking up adhesions – dense formations of scar tissue that can occur when muscles and connective tissues are injured. When this scar tissue binds between your muscles, it limits flexibility, causing stiffness in the muscles and joints.
In addition to tendons, sheaths and muscle tissue, these adhesions can also entrap nerves. With the manipulation of the soft tissues using Active Release Technique®, the adhesions can be broken up so muscles, joints, and nerves can move freely again.
During a session, we use our hands to feel and identify the location of the scar tissue. We then use the technique to isolate and target the area, manipulating it to break up the scar tissue. This also helps to restore proper blood flow so the area can heal.
Simply put, The goal of ART® is to break up the adhesions and restore your range of motion in your hands and improve your pain. By breaking up scar tissue, muscles and joints are able to glide and move freely again without pain and stiffness.
Finding Relief for Chronic Hand Pain
For chronic hand pain, as with any injury, the first step in recovery is allowing us to get to know you and your pain issues. Once you make your first appointment, we’ll want to learn about your present discomfort as well as any history of discomfort.
After a full examination, we can determine which form of treatment is needed to help you on your road to recovery. As our bodies start to compensate for pain, this can allow you to move on with your day. However, your body can also shift that pain around to compensate for your discomfort and this can lead to other forms of pain.
Getting hand pain relief with ART® can only begin when we can understand where your pain started. That could mean it started a while back with another injury you might have sustained.
Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. Ultimately, getting your body working properly and healthy is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any, and all questions that you may have. You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.