Ironically, patients with hand arthritis aren’t exclusively concerned with what’s in their hands; it’s what’s in YOUR hands to make them feel better. The value you provide them in the clinic is definitely a great first step, but giving them cost-effective home remedies they can perform long-term is key to providing sustainable pain relief. It doesn’t matter if you’re giving away, clinically retailing, or showing your patients where they can purchase them; keeping these three products handy (get it?) in your clinic will undoubtedly result in a round of applause.
3 tools for hand arthritis pain relief
Available in different resistance levels and sizes, these non-latex hand exercisers give patients with hand arthritis the ability to get in a quick workout wherever they are. Even better, a 2015 study showed that treating rheumatoid arthritis with the Hand Exercisers outperformed a traditional drug regimen in terms of cost, strength, dexterity and flexibility. Teach your patients how to progress through the resistance levels of Hand Exercisers so they can see consistent improvement!
After hand exercises, your patients may experience some soreness. Massage is an effective and timeless method of pain relief, comfort and range of motion recovery. According to the Arthritis Foundation:
“In another study published in 2007 by the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, “adults with arthritis of the wrist and hand either received massage therapy or standard treatment. The participants in the massage therapy group received massage on the affected wrist or hand for a four-week period and were also taught self-massage that was to be done at home. At the end of the study, the massage therapy group showed lower anxiety and depressed mood scores than the control group, and reported less pain and greater grip strength after their sessions.”
If your patients don’t have the time or money to pencil in a massage (let alone one for their hands), self-massage is another practice that they can fit in anytime, anywhere. Prossage is a warming soft tissue therapy product that pairs well with both traditional and self-massage remedies. Your patients can even customize their massage experience by choosing between a creme, balm, salve or oil to fit their personal preferences.
Once your patients have completed a self-massage, topping the therapy off with Biofreeze Professional is a proven way to maximize on pain relief. In fact, a 2014 study showed that pairing Biofreeze with massage therapy resulted in greater improvement in hand function and perceived grip strength, while hand pain, depressed mood and sleep disturbances decreased significantly. Because Biofreeze is a topical analgesic, it can, again, be used anywhere (are you sensing a theme here?).
This simple regimen with three easy-to-use products is a great protocol to suggest to your patients with hand osteoarthritis, while giving them the freedom to work independently from your care. Know of any other colleagues that could use this information? Share this article on social media or email and subscribe for regular clinical content updates!
Field T, et al. 2014. Massage therapy plus topical analgesic is more effective than massage alone for hand arthritis pain J Bodywork Movement Therapies 18:322-325
Lamb SE et al. 2015. Exercises to improve function of the rheumatoid hand (SARAH): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet Jan 31;385(9966):421-9. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60998-3. Epub 2014 Oct 9.