Pain is actually an important survival response that keeps our bodies safe.
Acute, or beneficial pain:
let's us know when something is wrong
warns us that we need to take action to prevent potential tissue damage.
is usually short-lived, typically under 6 weeks
is typically a sharper, localized throbbing ache that is common with an initial, normal inflammatory healing response.
typically responds well to medication.
At times, pain outlives it's usefulness. Chronic pain:
typically lasts longer than 3 months of onset
is usually a duller and less specific type of pain
is no longer providing appropriate feedback about the potential for tissue damage.
is not as responsive to medications as acute pain.
If the hand or arm is painful, there is a natural tendency to immobilize the arm and to not use it naturally for activity. This guarded response to protect the arm can then cause long-term stiffness and weakness.
Hand therapists use techniques to help minimize the pain response. These may include the following:
Light motion to keep joints loose and pump out swelling
Swelling & Inflammation control (elevation, compression, modalities)
Manual therapy techniques including soft tissue mobilization; trigger Point Therapy, myofascial release techniques
Education in Relaxation techniques & deep breathing, Stress management; Joint protection instruction, arthritis management, energy conservation instruction;
Application of Therapeutic Taping techniques;
Sensory re-education, desensitization techniques
Use of Modalities: electrical stimulation, FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation), TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), iontophoresis, heat, cold, Fluidotherapy
Mirror Box, Imagery & Laterality Retraining
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