Is a constant pain in your hand or wrist impacting your ability to function? It happens more often than you might think.

In fact, the worldwide prevalence for upper extremity orthopedic injuries and disorders is almost 30%. Overuse and accidents could cause pain or impact your hand’s range of motion. With hand therapy, you can improve your functional capacity and quality of life.

What is hand therapy exactly, and what conditions can it treat? What are the benefits of visiting a hand therapist? Keep reading to find out!

In this guide, we’ll review everything you need to know about hand therapy! Then, you can make an informed decision before seeking treatment.

Read on to learn more. 

What Is Hand Therapy?

First, let’s answer the question that’s likely on your mind: what exactly is hand therapy?

Occupational Therapists or Physical Therapist perform this form of therapy. at the basis from which these therapies originate.  A combination of soft tissue techniques and manual therapy can ease your pain.

Hand therapy isn’t only for your hands and fingers, though. In fact, it could also improve the range and motion and strength of your:

  • Elbows
  • Shoulders
  • Forearms
  • Wrists
  • Arms

Strengthening your upper extremities can help if you have an injury or chronic condition. It can also help as a form of preventative care. 

Some patients also choose this form of occupational or physical therapy for post-operational rehabilitation. You can strengthen your upper extremities after surgery to improve their level of function.

You can combine physical therapy with other techniques, including stretching or custom splitting. Retraining and a series of hand exercises could improve your strength, too.

Over time, these techniques can relieve your pain and improve your comfort. You can regain the range of motion and function of your hand. 

Visiting a hand therapist can maximize the effectiveness of your upper extremities. Make sure to choose a licensed, experienced therapist in Woodstock, GA or Marietta, GA. They can create a customized treatment plan with your goals in mind. 

Common Conditions

A physician or surgeon might recommend you visit a hand therapist to improve your strength and functionality. During your initial consultation, a certified hand therapist (CHT) or therapist specifically trained in hand therapy will take a look at your upper extremities. They’ll evaluate your condition, which might include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Amputations
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Tendon Repairs
  • Burns and wounds
  • Sprains, fractures, or dislocations
  • Fine motor skill deficiencies
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis elbow
  • Hand pain
  • Repetitive motion disorder
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Trigger finger
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis
  • Dupuytren’s contracture
  • Ganglion cyst
  • Arthritis

One of the most common cumulative trauma injuries we treat is carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome affects between four to 10 million Americans. You might have a difficult time using your hands. Chronic pain and discomfort are common as well.  

Throughout the course of your treatment, your hand therapist will measure your progress. They’ll track your:

  • Pain
  • Strength
  • Posture
  • Range of motion

Tracking your progress will help them make informed decisions regarding your treatment plan. They might make adjustments to your treatment to ensure your condition is improving.

Common Treatments

Each treatment plan is customized based on the patient’s condition. You might use a combination of different techniques.

The treatments your hand therapist uses can vary depending on post-surgical, non-operative, or preventative goals.

A few common hand therapy treatments include:

  • Taping
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Joint movement
  • Iontophoresis
  • Whirlpools
  • Dexterity training
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Custom orthotic fabrication
  • Pain management
  • Nerve desensitization
  • Injury avoidance education
  • Soft tissue procedures
  • Range of motion activities
  • Occupational conditioning
  • Scar management

You might experience a little soreness as you work your muscles. That’s normal. Any tenderness should fade within 24 hours. 

Your Woodstock, GA hand therapist can also equip you with exercises you can use at home.

Benefits of Visiting a Hand Therapist

Hand therapy can improve your level of function and reduce your pain. Here are a few other reasons you should consider visiting a hand therapist right away.

  1. Professional Assessments

Hand therapists complete 4,000 hours of practice to receive certification. They also complete three years of clinical experience. You can rely on their experience and expertise. 

Your hand therapist can leverage their experience to provide you with an accurate medical assessment. They’ll determine the underlying cause of your pain. Determining the root cause can help beyond treating your symptoms. 

Your CHT or hand therapy trained therapist can also work alongside other care providers. They’ll ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis and start the proper treatment. 

  1. Non-Invasive Treatments

Traumatic injuries sometimes occur.  Following traumatic injury surgery is unavoidable. However with other painful conditions, if caught early surgery can be avoided.

Consider hand therapy first and many times you can avoid surgery.

Therapy can ease your pain with a non-invasive approach.

  1. Ideal for Pre- and Post-Op

Hand therapy is ideal for patients before and after surgery.

You can use this form of therapy pre-op to improve your range of motion. It could improve your surgical outcome as a result.

You can also make your muscles, ligaments and tendons more flexible which improve your surgical results..

Strengthening your upper extremities after surgery is important, too. Therapy will assist you with reducing your pain, increasing your range of motion and increasing your strength.   Skilled hand therapy also assists with the mobilization of and the management of scar tissue. 

  1. Immediate Treatment

Remember, it’s important to discover the root cause of your condition. You can visit a hand therapist and begin treatment right away.

The sooner the root cause of the issue,is discovered the sooner you’ll improve your range of motion, decrease your pain and get back to the things that are important to you.

Consistent attendance and participation in your individually designed home program is essential to  to improving your mobility and quality of life.

  1. Reduced Costs

An independent study performed by the Moran Company  and published by the American Journal of Managed Care found that using therapy as a first intervention resulted in 19% lower costs to the Medicare program when compared to injections and 75% lower costs when compared with surgery as a first intervention.

Instead of expensive surgery, therapy as a first intervention can lower your over overall health care costs.

Healing Hands: Your Comprehensive Guide to Hand Therapy

Don’t live in constant pain. Instead, improve your range of motion, strength and quality of life. With hand therapy, you can receive the care and helping hand you need.

Work with a hand therapist to discover your customized treatment plan today. 

Searching for a hand therapist in Woodstock, GA, and its surrounding areas? We’re here to help. 

Contact us today to get started.