Michigan Scar Desensitization Therapy:
Pain Relief & Healing

Soothing the Senses, Revitalize Your Touch

Desensitization therapy for hypersensitive scars and fingertip injuries is a specialized approach used in physical therapy to reduce pain, improve sensory tolerance, and promote healing in these areas. By promoting sensory reintegration, desensitization therapy helps individuals regain normal function, improve their ability to engage in daily activities, and enhance their overall quality of life.

Desensitization Therapy

Benefits of Desensitization Therapy

Desensitization therapy can be helpful for treating hypersensitive scars and fingertip injuries. Personalized treatment plans can make injured areas less painful and reduce over guarding of the area to accelerate healing and restore normal sensation. This accessible, low-risk method offers a range of benefits, including:

Reduces Pain and Discomfort

The light touching and tapping utilized in desensitization therapy helps retrain the nerves and brain to get accustomed to sensations in the affected area, gradually decreasing feelings of pain/discomfort.

Prevents Overprotective Behavior

When an area becomes hypersensitive, people often avoid using or touching it, which can hinder daily activities. As the area gets desensitized through therapy, normal use and function are restored.

Promotes Healing

The gentle stimulation of scar tissue and injured fingertips facilitates increased blood flow, nerve regeneration, and cell reorganization – all important components of the healing process.

Improves Sensation

In some cases, hypersensitive areas experience numbness or altered sensations. Desensitization aims to normalize feeling in the skin and nerves around an injury site.

Non-Invasive Technique

Since it does not involve drugs or surgery, desensitization provides a safe, conservative therapy option for scar and fingertip hypersensitivity.


Special equipment is not required for treatment, making it an affordable option compared to other medical interventions.

Treatment Options

It’s crucial to see an occupational therapist experienced in desensitization therapy for this treatment because they understand how to apply just the right amount of touch and stimulation to sensitive scar tissue to retrain the nerves without causing more pain or damage. Properly implementing this methodical therapy after an injury can safely reduce discomfort and restore function of the affected area. Treatment for desensitization therapy typically includes the following steps:


The physical therapist performs an initial assessment to evaluate the individual’s hypersensitive scars or fingertip injuries. This includes assessing the location, severity, and characteristics of the sensitivity, as well as determining any limitations or functional impairments associated with the condition.


The therapist provides education to the patient about the nature of hypersensitivity, scar tissue, and the healing process. This helps them understand the reasons behind their symptoms and sets realistic expectations for desensitization therapy.

Gentle Touch

The therapist starts by introducing gentle touch to the hypersensitive areas or fingertips. This may involve using soft materials, such as cotton balls or brushes, to gradually apply light pressure and stimulate sensory receptors. The goal is to desensitize the area and decrease the perception of pain or discomfort.

Gradual Progression

The therapist progressively increases the intensity and duration of touch, gradually exposing the individual to more stimulating sensations. This progression is tailored to the individual’s tolerance and ensures that the therapy remains within their comfort zone.

Texture and Pressure Variations

The therapist introduces different textures and pressures during desensitization therapy. This may include using various fabrics, sponges, or therapeutic tools to provide a range of sensory input. The individual is encouraged to explore and interact with these stimuli to promote sensory reintegration.

Scar Massage

For hypersensitive scars, the therapist may incorporate scar massage techniques. These gentle manual techniques help break down scar tissue, improve tissue mobility, and decrease hypersensitivity. The therapist may use their hands or specialized tools to perform scar massage.

Graded Activities

The therapist gradually introduces functional activities or exercises that involve the hypersensitive areas or fingertips. This may include activities such as touching different textures, manipulating objects of varying sizes or weights, or engaging in specific hand movements. The gradual exposure to functional tasks helps the individual regain confidence and improve sensory tolerance during daily activities.

Follow-Up Care

Dedicated follow-up care lets therapists monitor the desensitization process, enhance ongoing treatment, encourage patient compliance, and rapidly respond to any concerns that may arise after initial injury rehabilitation. This helps the patient achieve long-term improvement. Our expert team offers occupational therapy in Michigan and will create a tailored treatment plan for you to achieve the best results through home programs, progress monitoring, and ongoing support and education.

Home Program

The therapist designs a customized home program for the individual to continue desensitization exercises and activities independently. The individual is provided with instructions, guidance, and any necessary tools or materials to ensure proper implementation of the home program.

Progress Monitoring

The therapist regularly assesses the individual’s progress throughout the desensitization therapy process. This includes tracking improvements in sensory tolerance, pain levels, and functional abilities. The treatment plan is adjusted based on the individual’s responses and needs.

Ongoing Support and Education

The therapist provides ongoing support, encouragement, and education to the individual. This includes addressing any concerns or questions, providing strategies for self-management, and promoting a holistic approach to healing and sensory recovery.

Am I a Candidate for Desensitization Therapy?

The ideal candidate for desensitization therapy is someone struggling with moderately to severely distracting or disabling hypersensitivity from scar tissue or fingertip injuries that were established 2-6 months prior. Suitable patients need adequate sensation in the affected area and, ideally, a full range of motion. Those still in the acute inflammatory phase post-trauma won’t benefit, as sensitization often improves in early wound healing. 

This noninvasive retraining approach also works best for patients without ongoing pain issues or complex regional pain syndrome. Diligent individuals who will adhere to exercise regimens and sensation re-education between clinical visits tend to experience improvement from tactile discomfort and guarding behaviors that hinder normal use of fingers, hands, limbs, or scarred regions.

Our Doctors

With over 15 years of restoring sensation and mobility to sensitive injured areas, the certified hand therapists and scar rehabilitation experts at Synergy Health have the specialized skills to gently retrain even the most delicate fingertips and painful scars. If hypersensitivity is limiting your everyday capabilities, request an appointment with our compassionate Michigan team to discuss desensitization therapy.

Michigan’s Trusted Occupational Therapy Clinic: Healing Through Desensitization

Come see a specialist at one of our 3 convenient occupational clinics in Michigan – Livonia, Warren, and Shelby Township.! Find a location near you:

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