Updated: Feb 2, 2022
There’s no doubt that our hands and wrist work all day, and with that, there are times that it would feel tired, and injures might also happen along the way. A simple driving, reaching your phone to text a friend, means you use the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the hand and wrist.
TREATMENT FOR WRIST AND HAND PAIN
Specific treatments can be performed to decrease pain and inflammation in the hand and wrist tendon and ligaments without surgery. The large wrist flexor and extensor muscles begin at the elbow and travel towards the fingers. Physical Therapy offers several treatments that involve heat, ice, ultrasound and stretching, and motion movements. Graston Technique is one of the most effective treatments and is utilized by many professional therapists and even Olympic and collegiate sports therapy programs.
Graston Technique is used for patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other conditions in the wrist. A special-designed stainless steel instrument has rounded concave and convex edges. The edges are not sharp to safety. Graston tools are classified under Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) and are used to detect and effectively treat soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. With these instruments, the practitioner can scan over and detect areas of fibrotic tissue.
There are six different Graston tools to help break up fascial restrictions or scar tissue that develops after trauma to muscles, ligaments, tendons, or fascia, commonly referred to as soft tissue. Medically speaking, Scar tissue forms when tissue does not heal correctly or is under chronic, repetitive stress. Scar tissue is weaker than normal muscle and connective tissue, so it becomes chronically sore with activity.
HOW GRASTON IMPROVES TREATMENT
It has been reported that including the Graston Technique in any patient treatment decreases the overall treatment time. It reduces the need of a patient to pain medications with chronic conditions since they show significant improvement with Graston treatment. The basic concepts and treatments with Graston include:
Reduce the stress and strain to the injured areas.
Increase muscle flexibility and strength.
Increase blood flow.
Break up scar tissue.
Promote proper tissue repair.
Enhance functional movements.
Home therapies are also recommended to limit scar tissue formation, encourage proper healing, and speed up recovery. Especially now that the pandemic is still present, some Physical Therapists do home therapies for clients.
Graston Technique is not meant to be painful and should be performed comfortably to break up scar tissue. Being too aggressive with Graston Technique causes excessive pain and slows the repair process by flooding the area with inflammation.
Expect that your wrist treatment would usually last a few minutes. If it’s going to be your first time, expect that as the treatment tool slides across the area, the injury may feel bumpy or it would be sandpaper-like. Redness and mild swelling may also develop with treatment, especially after a few sessions. In some cases, patients develop small petechiae or bruises post-treatment. With this, ice therapy is commonly used to limit bruising, pain, and inflammation.
Most patients notice a significant difference after 4 to 6 weeks of Graston treatment. But of course, severe cases may take a while to improve. In sports therapy, runners and athletes have benefited from this therapy. Most patients verbalized a noticeable less bumpiness, sandpaper, and tenderness around the injury site. As the treatment progresses, your healthcare provider will be able to apply more pressure, thereby treating more profound and deeper tissue levels.