What Does Hand Therapy Involve And Will It Help Me?

What Does Hand Therapy Involve and Will It Help Me

Hand Therapy is the process of improving the strength as well as the range of motion within the upper extremities of a person. It covers hands, arms, wrists, shoulders, wrists, forearms, elbows, and wrists. Hand therapy patients typically suffer from an injury or a chronic illness that requires therapy. Hand therapists are experts in this area, offering preventative care, post-operative rehabilitation, and non-operative therapy. If you're trying to improve the function of an area or your arm, then hand therapy might be the right option for you. 

What To Know About Hand Therapy?

Hand Therapy

A lot of people have not heard the term hand therapy. Contrary to physical therapy, which addresses the feet, ankles, knees, back, hips, neck as well as shoulders, hand therapy is focused exclusively on the shoulders, the hand, and each joint and muscle that lies between. It is a part of occupational therapy (OT) or physical therapy (PT), or both, helping patients complete their daily tasks with their limitations or working on the problem directly by enhancing mobility and decreasing pain and vice versa.

What Exactly is Hand Therapy?

Hand therapists are trained in kinesiology and physiology, and anatomy. It is basically a branch of the rehabilitative care field, and it means physiotherapists. Occupational therapists also can be hand therapists and treat upper extremity ailments. Becoming a trusted hand therapist certification requires at least five years of professional experience that includes at very least 4,000 hours of specific training in upper extremity work. CHTs need to pass an exam to be certified and undergo regular training every five years to keep their certification.

Hand therapy patients might be affected by accidents or trauma or have undergone surgery. There are many issues that therapy can address. Therapists are able to:

  1. Treat and monitor wounds
  2. Soften scars
  3. Reduce adhesions between the skin and the tendons
  4. Help the nerves glide, tendons slide, and joints move
  5. Reduce swelling
  6. Reduce the amount of pain
  7. Learn to help patients who have lost fingers, hands, or arms to become functional

Hand therapists offer targeted solutions to your upper extremity complication without prescribing invasive surgeries.

Hand Therapists usually work in clinics, hospitals as well as physical therapy centers, and sports medicine facilities. They collaborate with doctors as well as surgeons in treating patients suffering from hand or post-surgical issues. Through evaluation and treatment, hand therapists aid in reducing swelling and pain and help patients increase mobility, strength, and dexterity, allowing an active and pain-free lifestyle.

Alongside rehabilitation following operations, hand therapists can also assist patients suffering from arthritic conditions such as fractures, sprains, dislocations, tendon or nerve injury, tendinitis, shoulder and elbow problems, and a myriad of other ailments.

Hand Therapy Treatment

The initial visit to the hand therapist usually will begin with a discussion about your symptoms and issues and a physical examination of your muscles, ligaments, joints, nerves and. The range of motion, posture, and strength, as well as sensation, can be assessed.

Based on your assessment results, an appropriate treatment plan and objectives will be developed. Massage, heat/ice methods for swelling reduction, mobilization of joints, and custom-designed exercise programs can all be part of your treatment program. Hand therapists are also certified in the evaluation and creation of splints. The therapist you see may recommend having a custom orthosis/splint made or suggest an already-made splint.

Now your next question would be.

What is The Duration of Hand Therapy?

It will completely depend on the severity of your hand condition and what kind of treatment you will receive; also, the body's healing power is an important factor.

Many people are happy to realize that working with hand therapists can result in less medical expenses and an earlier return to work or to living an active life. Hand therapy is not a single treatment but consists of multiple rehabilitative cares. Patients prefer hand therapists because they offer non-operative surgical options. After the CHT has evaluated your health and spoken with your physician or surgeon, the doctor can develop a treatment plan which is the most appropriate for your requirements.

Some of the common hand therapy methods are mentioned below: 

  • Education on injury prevention
  • Procedures for soft tissue
  • Range of motion restoring activities
  • Electrical stimulation treatment
  • Nerve desensitization
  • Whirlpools
  • Iontophoresis
  • Training for work
  • Exercises to build strength
  • Scar management
  • Training in dexterity
  • Management of pain
  • Cold or hot packs
  • Taping
  • Custom orthotic design 

How Can Therapists Assist in Improving Functioning?

Exercises. These could consist of exercises that are active fingers and hand exercises that make use of their own muscles. The passive exercises involve having the therapist or patient forces a joint stiff to move without using their own muscles/tendons.

Strengthening: This could include the use of putty with different thicknesses as well as weights, grippers,

Scar treatment: Massage, tapping using silicone sleeves/sleeves/sheets

Edema control: Utilization of wraps and compression garments the use of retrograde massage, elevation, and active motion

Controlling pain: Some of the methods that can ease the pain are fluid therapy, iontophoresis therapy, ultrasound desensitization, or mirror therapy, as well as guided imagery.

Hand therapy exercises:
Hand therapists often recommend isometric hand therapy exercises with hand strengthening equipment that intend to increase the grasping ability and pinching power of the hand.

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