Our hands are one of our most used parts of the body. We use them for everything, from eating, to driving, to reading, to creating art, and much, much more. When our hands are having problems, that ripples out to affect our entire life. If your hands aren’t functioning properly, this results in much frustration as it can turn even simple tasks like grabbing a cup difficult. This is why there is a specialized branch of physical therapy specifically for the hands – hand therapy.
What Is Hand Therapy?
Hand therapy is a type of rehabilitative therapy aimed at the hands and upper extremities. It is client-centered, aimed to target your specific needs and find a solution to help you regain mobility, lessen pain, regain hand strength, and even re-educate damaged nerves. This means that rather than simply looking at the parts of your hand and how they might be hurt, your hand therapist will work with you to find out what you use your hands for most and the like, to ensure personalized, effective treatment.
As such, hand therapy has no one set treatment plan. After evaluating your situation and speaking with you, your therapist will choose the activities, exercises, and treatments they use with you in order to meet your needs best. If you do a lot of writing, for example, they may include hand tasks to get your hand comfortable with the motion of that again. They’ll adapt treatments in order to suit your needs and goals as needed.
Who Does Hand Therapy Work For?
Hand therapy helps with problems in the hands, as you may expect. These can be either from traumas, like crash injuries, fractures, tears, dislocations, burns, infections, reattachment of amputated parts, and more. They can also be from chronic problems, as well as disordered movement resulting from psychological issues.
Hand therapists can treat conditions like: arthritis, tendonitis, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, hand pain, joint pain, sprains and strains in the wrist and hand, and more. Hand therapists can also help with: monitoring and treating wounds, reducing swelling, decreasing pain, softening scar tissue, helping people who have had amputations on the hands or arms learn to function, and more.
How Does Hand Therapy Work?
Hand therapy can help with hand problems in a number of ways. It offers a non-surgical treatment option to help with pain, learning to feel again after nerve injury or problems, learning how to get back to everyday movements, as well as strengthening and improving movement and healing as a whole.
Hand therapists do this in a number of ways. Hand therapists can help your hands through a variety of exercises that can include putties, grips, water therapy, and more. These treatments can include exercises as mentioned before, as well as other techniques.
They can use electrical stimulation, compression therapy, water therapy, manual and massage therapy, and work with you to both protect your hand and improve its function. They can provide splints and other orthotics to protect and correct injuries, suggest any devices that could help with normal hand functions, and work with you to re-educate your senses and practice real-life hand tasks.
As mentioned above, hand therapy is quite personalized, which is why there are so many treatment options to use for it. What works well for one person may not work the best for another, and what helps your hands recover for one type of movement may not work best for another. This is why your hand therapist will work closely with you and adapt as needed in order to ensure you have the best possible treatment plan for you.
The Benefits Of Hand Therapy
Hand therapy is most beneficial in that it works to help you get your life back. It helps patients participate in activities they wish to as well as complete necessary daily tasks. Hand therapy’s purpose is to get your quality of life back through assisting in the recovery and rehabilitation of issues in your hands that may be inhibiting that. If you have tremors or nerve pain or struggle using your hands for any number of reasons, a hand therapist may be able to help.
Are You Considering Hand Therapy?
Here at Wasatch Peak Physical Therapy, we have a certified hand therapist. This means that they have a minimum of 3 years of experience, over 4000 hours of clinic experience, and passed a comprehensive exam of advanced clinical skills. Our hand therapist will be able to work closely with you to improve the strength, function, and mobility of your hands. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at Wasatch Peak Physical Therapy today!