What can a physical therapist do to treat arthritis pain in the hands?

The answer to this question can vary based on several factors. For instance, each person experiences hand arthritis symptoms differently, and this means your physical therapist could use certain treatment options for you and not for other patients with the same condition. However, there are several things that physical therapists can do to treat arthritis pain in the hands

What causes hand arthritis?

Certain people are more likely to develop arthritis pain in their hands, and it’s estimated that 42.4% of women and 37.7% of men develop hand arthritis as they get older. In general, this condition is a result of natural wear and tear from using your hands. However, you’re more likely to develop hand osteoarthritis if you:

  • Have had a previous hand injury. 
  • Have an occupation that involves lots of repetitive hand movements. 
  • Have a family history of arthritis. 

Ways a physical therapist can treat arthritis pain in your hands

Physical therapists offer treatment options that can help reduce arthritis pain in your hands. Before they start treating you, they’ll examine your hands to determine how severe your symptoms are. This examination also helps them rule out other causes of hand pain. 

Once your physical therapist has learned as much as possible about your arthritis, they will build you a treatment plan. Your plan will be unique to your needs and may involve: 

  1. Therapeutic exercises — Doing exercises that gently move your finger joints can have many benefits for hand arthritis patients. They can help increase the amount of synovial fluid in your painful joints. This helps lubricate them and reduce the joint friction that leads to pain. One study on hand arthritis patients shows that therapeutic exercises helped reduce combined hand pain by more than six points on the visual analogue scale (VAS). 
  1. Assistive device training — Arthritic hands can make tasks like opening jars difficult. Your physical therapist can help you learn how to use assistive devices to make such tasks easier and less painful. 
  1. Joint mobilization — This is a type of manual therapy. It involves your physical therapist using their hands to move the affected joint. The movements your therapist performs will stay within the joint’s normal range of motion. They can help realign joints affected by osteoarthritis. A study of hand osteoarthritis patients found that manual therapy methods like joint mobilization helped reduce hand pain by over three points on the VAS. 

Find help for arthritis pain in your hands at Back in Motion PT

Struggling with arthritis pain in your hands? Our Back in Motion Physical Therapy specialists are ready to help you find effective treatment that can reduce your pain. We offer free screenings intended to help us learn about how arthritis is affecting your hands. Then, our physical therapists can create a personalized therapy plan designed to improve your joint mobility and decrease your pain. 

Want to get help for your hand arthritis without leaving home? Our team offers several therapy services that fit the bill: our at-home care and virtual therapy options. 

Contact us today for more information about our arthritis treatment services or to schedule an initial appointment. 

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