In this article we will discuss the non-surgical repair of chronic hand pain caused by posttraumatic and osteoarthritis and other degenerative soft tissue and bone damage.
A number of different conditions can cause pain in the hand, including arthritis, ganglion cysts and tendon problems such as trigger finger, DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, medial epicondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, dupuytrens contracture and mallet finger. Arthritis in the thumb, as well as other phalangeal joints in the hand, are a major cause of disability, especially among the elderly.
While hand osteoarthritis is a common cause of hand and finger pain and stiffness in older populations, athletic injuries, overuse, and excessive forces are the causes typically associated with younger populations.
Traditional conservative care for chronic hand and finger pain can include topical and oral analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications, rest, exercise, splints and taping, corticosteroid injections, and surgery, though each has its own risks or lack of efficacy.
Two of the more widely used pain treatments include corticosteroid injection and NSAID medications, however, these can accelerate osteoarthritis and further damage the joint.1,2
In addition, anti-inflammatories may not provide much long term pain relief, as seen in a randomized controlled trial which showed that corticosteroid injections in the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb for osteoarthritis were no better than a placebo in reducing pain when compared at 24 weeks.3
Because of the limited response of chronic joint pain to traditional therapies, many people are turning to alternative therapies, including Prolotherapy, for pain control.
Caring Medical has published research studies on patients receiving Prolotherapy for various problems of the hands and fingers. Here is a summary of our research “A Retrospective Observational Study on Hackett-Hemwall Dextrose Prolotherapy for Unresolved Hand and Finger Pain at an Outpatient Charity Clinic in Rural Illinois” published in the Journal of Prolotherapy.
Prolotherapy Research Hand and Finger Pain
Prolotherapy is an injection treatment used to initiate a healing response in injured connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments, tissues commonly involved with hand and finger injuries.
In our study we looked at Forty patients, who had been in pain an average of 55 months (4.6 years), were treated quarterly with Prolotherapy. In patients:
- 98% had improvements in their pain.
- 82% had 50% or more pain relief.
- Treatment with Prolotherapy caused a statistically significant decline in patients’ pain and stiffness.
- Prolotherapy helped all but one patient on pain medications reduce the amount of medications taken.
- All 40 patients have recommended Prolotherapy to someone.4
1 Hauser R. The deterioration of articular cartilage in osteoarthritis by corticosteroid injections. JOP. 2009;1(2):107–123.
2 Hauser R. The acceleration of articular cartilage degeneration in osteoarthritis by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. JOP. 2010;2(1):305–322.
3 Meenagh G, Patton J, Kynes C, Wright G. A randomised controlled trial of intra-articular corticosteroid injection of the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb in osteoarthritis. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2004;63(10):1260-1263. doi:10.1136/ard.2003.015438.
4 Hauser RA, Baird NM, Cukla JJ. A Retrospective Observational Study on Hackett-Hemwall Dextrose Prolotherapy for Unresolved Hand and Finger Pain at an Outpatient Charity Clinic in Rural Illinois. Journal of Prolotherapy. 2010;2(4):480-486.