hariQ acupuncture & herbs

How To Use One Spoon To Treat Your Trigger Finger By Yourself

How to Use a Spoon to treat Your Trigger finger by yourself
Trigger Finger

How to Use a Spoon to Treat Your Trigger Finger by Yourself

Hi, it’s Satoru here from hariQ acupuncture & herbs. In this blog, I would like to share how to use an oriental soup spoon called “Renge” in Japanese to treat your trigger finger by yourself.

The technique I use with a spoon is similar to the technique of “Graston” or “Gua sha” in traditional Chinese medicine. These tools are used to break down scar tissue and adhesions in muscles, tendons, and ligaments by scraping the affected area or skin. This helps to improve the range of motion, alleviate pain, and enhance the function of fingers.

Graston Technique for Trigger Finger: A Case Study

There is a case study that a patient suffering from an unresolved right trigger thumb. The treatment involved two chiropractic-based therapies, namely, the active release technique and the Graston technique, resulting improving the range of motion, reduction in pain, and better function were recored after eight treatments. The patient reported personal satisfaction with the conservative approach.

When treating this condition, the typical options are getting corticosteroid injections or undergoing surgery to remove tissue. However, there’s a non-invasive approach can also give you results that are just as good, if not better, than those accepted treatments.

According to some research, corticosteroid injections can give you relief for up to three months. However, some patients prefer not to go through surgery, even though it has a 91% success rate. For those who want to go the conservative safe approach and if you’re one of them, you would try this technique to improve your trigger finger all on your own!

We understand this can be a lot of information and overwhelming: if you are looking for more support and answers, set up a free consultation with our Trigger Finger Specialist, Satoru Ozawa. Share your story, get your questions answered, and learn how you can set yourself up for tremendous success in achieving a healthy life.

Call us to get Free Consultation at 972-777-0836

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What is Trigger Finger?

The mechanism of trigger finger

Trigger Finger, also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, is a medical condition that occurs when the flexor tendon (palmer side) and/or tendon sheath of a finger becomes inflamed. This inflammation can cause difficulty in straightening or bending the finger or locking it in a bent position. While it is more common in women, anyone can be affected. This condition is commonly found in people who use their hands for repetitive gripping, typing, or playing an instrument like the guitar or piano. Additionally, individuals who have medical conditions such as diabetes or gout are also at a higher risk of developing this condition.

What kind of symptoms do you get with a trigger finger?

There are 5 stages of signs and symptoms in the affected fingers when a trigger finger occurs.

1. Morning Stiffness

During the early stages of trigger finger, you may feel stiffness in your fingers, particularly in the morning. This sensation is often described as the hand needing to “wake up,” “warm up,” or “get the blood flowing.” If you experience this, it could be a sign of trigger finger.

2. Popping and Clicking

Once you experience morning stiffness, you may soon notice that your finger starts to pop or click when you move it. You might feel this sensation or even hear the sound as you move your finger.

3. A Tender Nodule at the Base of the Finger

If a loud sound is made with the finger, tenderness may arise at the base of the fingers, along with a small bump or nodule.

*If you notice a bump or nodule in the central area of your palm, it could be a sign of Dupuytren’s Contracture, which differs from a typical trigger finger. It is essential to note that this condition is not caused by tendon inflammation like a trigger finger.

Dupuytren’s Contracture is a medical condition that results in the bending of fingers towards the palm due to the growth of a benign lump in the connective tissue of the hand. The underlying cause of this condition is currently unknown, but it is often linked to diabetes and epilepsy. Additionally, individuals who struggle with alcoholism may be more susceptible to developing this condition.

4. Catching or Locking in a Bent Position

If you experience clicking and popping sensations in your finger, you may notice that it starts to catch or lock in a bent position from time to time, making it hard to straighten it out again. This occurs when the swollen tendon becomes trapped inside its tendon sheath and suddenly pops back into place, causing sharp pain.

5. Permanent Deformity

In the final stage, the finger becomes immobilized for several hours and eventually days, until it can no longer move at all. This usually happens when attempting to grasp an item, and upon releasing the grip, the finger remains in a bent position.

Spoon Technique for Trigger Finger

Earlier, I mentioned that the spoon technique is quite similar to the Graston technique or Gua Sha in Traditional Oriental medicine. These two techniques use different shaped tools – Graston uses stainless steel instruments while Gua Sha uses jade, rose quartz or metal. Both techniques aim to break down scar tissue and adhesions in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, or break up stagnant energy or Qi and promote the flow of blood and lymph by scraping the affected areas with these tools. The basic concept of both techniques is the same, and they both work towards achieving the same goal.

You can also use a spoon to break down scar tissue or stagnant Qi and achieve similar results to releasing tension, reducing pain, and improving range of motion.

Spoon Technique for Trigger finger

Where Can You Find an Oriental Soup Spoon?

You can purchase this type of spoon at an Asian grocery store or online for less than $10. There are various sizes and types of this spoon, but I prefer the smoother edge.

1. Spoon Technique on Fingers

Spoon technique on finger for trigger finger

First, apply olive oil, Vaseline, or massage cream to the affected fingers. There are 3 lines around the fingers.  Hold the spoon upside down and use its edge. Press the edge to the joint and scrape along with the lines. 

Please continue to rub your fingers up and down for 30 seconds and move on to the next line.  Repeat this 2 more times.  

2. Spoon Technique on Palm

Second, there are 5 lines on the palm that extend from the wrist crease to the base of the fingers.  Use a spoon to scrape each line from the wrist crease to the base of the finger ten times before moving on to the next one.

Please continue 2 more times.  

3. Spoon Technique on the Base of the Fingers

Spoon technique on the base of the fingers for trigger finger

One of the root causes of trigger fingers is often located at the base of the fingers where scar tissue tends to accumulate. To alleviate this issue, it’s important to carefully break down any stagnant Qi or tissue build-up in that area.

In between the joints of the hand, known as metacarpal bones, there are tender spots. To massage this area, use a spoon to apply pressure and rub up and down. However, be cautious as this spot can be very sensitive and painful to touch if you have trigger fingers. If you find it too painful, don’t worry, you can always skip this step.

Please continue to rub each joint for 30 seconds before moving on. Repeat this process 2 more times.

4. Spoon Technique on Knukles

Spoon technique on knuckles for trigger finger

To improve the flexibility of your fingers, it is essential to massage the knuckles. People with trigger finger may have sensitivity between their knuckles, and it is necessary to break the scar tissue in this area. You can use the edge of a spoon for massaging. Place the spoon between your knuckles, with your palm facing downwards, and move it up and down for 30 seconds. You can repeat this process for each of your knuckles.

Let’s do this step two more times!

5. Spoon Technique on Forearm

spoon technique on Forearm for trigger finger

Now, I want you to imagine there are 3 lines on your forearm. To locate the three lines on your forearm, start from the elbow crease and move toward the wrist crease. The line closest to the center is line 1, followed by line 2 in the middle and line 3 on the outside. Scrape along with the line using the edge of the spoon 5-10 times. Repeat this process 2 more times. 

Heat Therapy

After you finish these 5 steps of the spoon technique, I want you to use Heat therapy that aims to soften the affected tissues and increase the blood flow to heal quickly.

A portable hand warmer is a convenient option for on-the-go use, but you can also use a heat pack and apply it to the affected area for 20 minutes.

This non-adhesive hand warmer is really great. It can keep my hands warm for up to 10 hours, and it’s small enough to fit in my pocket. I can use it whenever I need to, which is super convenient.

I also suggest using a neck wrap to alleviate any tension in your neck. Tightness in the neck can hinder your progress and make it difficult for proper blood flow to reach your fingers. I recommend using a heat pack for around 20 minutes per day to facilitate the healing process.

Important Note

It can be beneficial to perform this technique regularly as it may accelerate your healing process and eliminate the need for steroid injections or surgery. In case you are still experiencing difficulty in straightening your finger, you could consider seeking alternative treatments such as acupuncture before deciding on surgery to cut your finger.

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We'll be happy to answer your questions.

Is Acupuncture Effective for Trigger Finger?

Yes. Acupuncture is very effective for Trigger Finger. We examined your fingers’ joints and muscle tightness during the initial acupuncture session if you may be unable to straighten your finger or joint movement causing pain or not. The treatments focused on reducing inflammation and swelling and restoring movement in the finger joints.  Acupuncture has been shown in many studies to be incredibly practical in reducing pain and inflammation due to its ability to stimulate the body to release its natural painkillers. So, you start feeling relieved from the pain after each session.

When Should I start Acupuncture?

As a general rule of thumb, the sooner one receives treatment, the better the prognosis.  Some patients come for trigger finger pain treatment months or even years after the initial onset, and these chronic cases are often more complex and take much longer to achieve results. Even then, recovery is not guaranteed.

Regarding the frequency of treatments, Acupuncture follows a simple rule. Acute and relatively new conditions are most effectively treated with more frequent visits, whereas chronic and old conditions can benefit from more widespread treatments. In other words, if you just had an onset of trigger fingers, you will probably be prescribed 2-3 treatments per week in order to get the most effective results, and chronic cases will generally come in only once a week.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with trigger finger pain and want to learn more about Acupuncture and whether it’s appropriate for your case, send us a message through our contact page.  I hope it helps.

We understand this can be a lot of information and overwhelming: if you are looking for more support and answers, set up a free consultation with our Trigger Finger Specialist, Satoru Ozawa. Share your story, get your questions answered, and learn how you can set yourself up for tremendous success in achieving a healthy life.

Resource: Howitt, Scott, Jerome Wing, and Sonja Zbukove. “The Conservative Treatment of Trigger Thumb Using Graston Techniques and Active Release Techniques.” Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 2006 (50) 4:249-254. 

Resource: Sho, Josua L. “Trigger Finer Cure – Cure Your Trigger Finger Permanently with This Comprehensive Guide and Tool Kit.”, 2013: 11-12. 


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