Painful hands and the arthritis myth; The second opinion that can offer relief safely and effectively.
Osteoarthritis is considered a normal part of aging and most of us have seen the television commercials for pain relievers that offer temporary relief of arthritis pain. Doctors for years have often told their patients that the painful hands, thumbs, and wrists are likely due to arthritis. The myth is often reinforced by the internet, via medical sites, or drug company websites that sell products that relieve pain while the problem worsens over the years. It is also likely that those who experience these types of pain also notice their ability to grab, squeeze, and manipulate things with their hands also becomes more difficult as time goes on.
Over the years, patients have visited our offices for problems such as their lower back or their neck. Quite often, they will have hand or wrist pain or stiffness that they believe is normal for them. Many of those same people make the assumption the pain is due to arthritic. When I ask how they concluded their hand pain is due to arthritis, they often share the source as their doctor or aging or they just assumed it was based on other people in their family who may also have experienced similar problems.
The surprising reason for hand pain is that poor lower body mechanics usually results in hand and wrist pain. The reductionist approach most of us are accustomed to which means that our hand pain must be a hand problem, our elbow pain is just an elbow problem and our back pain is just a back problem is often completely wrong since the human body is not built that way. Unless you had trauma to the area, you are likely feeling pain in your hands and arms due to compensation from other parts of your body.
We are all built differently, and we all compensate differently which can cause different symptoms. Families look alike, walk alike, and compensate similarly, because of genetic traits. Is it any wonder that hand or wrist pain runs in families?
A holistic approach to hand, finger, and wrist pain is more rational, since looking at everything will help your doctor understand why you hurt. Holistic means that we are thorough and will look at everything. A personalized approach to care can make all the difference. Understanding why you hurt rather than resorting to medication to cover it up is essential to avoid more problems later on.
Active evaluation; a better approach to evaluation and treatment.
Our office uses active evaluation to evaluate and treat. This type of treat – test – treat methodology is more efficient, more scientific in its approach as the healthcare provider tests the effectiveness of the intervention that visit to make sure it resulted in improved function. Sometimes, just placing a foot orthosis in a patient’s shoe will improve hand and grip strength, and the patient will notice less pain when the grip. By being holistic meaning, considering and evaluating the entire body to understand the source of pain and malfunction, your diagnosis and treatment will be more accurate and effective.
Our typical evaluation considers the feet, the lower body, and the upper body as well. A poor ability to grip is often a compensation from the lower back. Poor lower back and core function affect shoulder alignment due to tightness in the fascial system resulting in sore and tight muscles and tendons in the shoulders, wrists, and hands. This is the most common cause of arm, shoulder, wrist, and hand pain and can result in ganglions, tendon pain, and even frozen shoulder and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Foot orthotics to balance the hips.
- Myofascial Release treatment to loosen tight fascia.
- Manipulation to restore proper movement to the spine and extremities.
- Corrective exercises to strengthen and reeducate poor movement patterns and improve posture.
Instead of the typical regimens of paraffin baths, or massage to the sore hands and areas of pain, restoring grip strength and function to the problem areas of the body will markedly improve the way you feel and function and resolve most chronic hand and wrist pain. You will also feel the improvement of other chronic problems as well as you move and function better than before.
Many musicians report marked improvement from this approach since it addresses the problem, rather than symptoms.
You do not have to tolerate hand and wrist pain if you use the right approach and the good news is; even patients with osteoarthritis feel a marked improvement in pain.