What Is Hand Therapy? Everything You Need to Know

Most people will never try physical therapy of any kind. But somehow, the total annual industry revenue is estimated to be over $25 billion. So that means many individuals are benefiting from it.

Let’s examine a specific branch of physical therapy, referred to as hand therapy. The term refers to the medical treatment of certain conditions that affect the upper extremities and hands.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about hand therapy. By doing so, you can move from confusion to clarity.

So if you’d like to learn about hand therapy, as well as see how it can alleviate a condition that you might have, keep reading.

Who Is A Hand Therapist?

A hand therapist is somebody who through physical therapy, experience, and advanced study treats individuals who have specific conditions that affect the upper extremities and hands.

A qualified specialist can assess and treat any problem that is pertinent to their field of study. Hand therapy can effectively rehabilitate through post-operative, non-operative, preventative, conservative treatments, as well as consultation.

The therapist works closely with the patient and physician to provide continuous care. This starts with the days of the injury or surgery right until the point of return to a productive lifestyle. A hand specialist might also be certified. Apricus Health hand therapy services are professional and provide effective results with all their clients.

Certified Hand Therapist vs Occupational/Physical Therapist

Occupational therapists have graduated from a specialized program, passed an exam, and have become licensed to practice in their state of work. Physical therapists have graduated from a specialized program as well, they also passed an exam and are licensed to practice in their state.

Both can practice in their area of expertise, such as neurological rehabilitation, orthopedics, head injuries, geriatrics, pediatrics, or hand therapy.

However, a certified hand therapist by professions has at least 3 years of experience, plus 4000 hours of practice in hand therapy. A CHT must pass an exam that demonstrates knowledge on all aspects of hand therapy. They must also keep their credential renewed every five years via continued education and participation in events and hand therapy itself.

Beyond certification and experience, look for nice people. Seek specialists who care about you and your progression. To the best of hand therapists, it’s not just a job. It’s a passion that they will continue to uphold to the highest of standards.

What Does It Involve?

Hand therapy consists of various treatments. They can be preventative, non-operative, post-operative, etc.

Once a CHT has assessed your condition and consulted with the doctor, they will develop a special program that benefits your needs.

Some types of standard therapy are:

  1. Strength exercises
  2. Iontophoresis
  3. Whirlpools
  4. Electrical Stimulation
  5. Mobility exercises
  6. Soft-tissue movement
  7. Injury avoidance learning
  8. Joint movement
  9. Taping
  10. Dexterity training
  11. Pain management
  12. Nerve desensitization
  13. Orthotic creation

Hand therapy is a very elaborate field of medicine, which requires a high degree of understanding for each type of treatment.

What Conditions Can Hand Therapy Treat?

Hand therapy is used to treat many of the common conditions. It aims to help patients and lessen the pain that they experience, as to help recover into full functionality and mobility. It can help improve:

  1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – characterized as numbness and tingling from a pinched nerve
  2. Ganglion Cyst – characterized as being lumps on tendons or joints
  3. Hand pain – pain from turning wrist or moving fingers
  4. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome – muscle weakness or numbness caused by a pinched nerve
  5. Trigger finger – tenderness caused by an inflamed tendon
  6. Golfer’s elbow – stiffness caused by forceful and repetitive stress
  7. Arthritis – swelling, stiffness, decreased range of motion by infection, some disease or wear and tear
  8. Dislocations and Fractures – tenderness, pain, swelling caused by bodily trauma

And much, much more. These are just some examples of the conditions that can be treated via hand therapy.

What Can I Expect During My Appointment?

Your hand therapist will ensure that you keep progressing every appointment. To do this, the CHT will measure your posture, strength, range of motion, and nerve sensitivity each visit. Your therapist will discuss exercises that you must complete at home every day.

These are developed to help you recover quicker and more efficiently than if you weren’t doing them. Hand therapy exists to make things easier, not worse. If you’re having a hard time relaxing, try some of the best paraffin wax baths to ease your strain.

That being said, working muscles can cause soreness and discomfort. Stretching might be uncomfortable, but tenderness should be gone by the next day. Your hand therapist is there you make you comfortable, pushing the body too far does no good.

If you believe that hand therapy is for you, then find yourself a qualified CHT and speak to them. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. You don’t have to live in pain or have decreased mobility in your daily life. Hand therapy can ease these symptoms and help you get back on track.

Hand Therapy Awaits You

Now that you know what hand therapy is, you are well on your way to begin your journey to recovery. As you can see, it does not seem to be as bad as it sounds. Hand therapy is a very intricate and sophisticated medicine with high regulations, so it will be quite hard for you to find somebody who is unqualified.

Ensure that you look for certified hand therapists, and gauge their personality. If somebody is working with your body, you might as well find somebody who respects you and tailors to your needs, not their biases. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to check out some other health-related content on the sidebar.