Have you recently had surgery to your hand and are now in recovery?
Do you feel like you’ve lost strength in your arms or hands?
Are you dealing with chronic pain in your hands, or do they feel like they’re just not working as well as they should be?
If so, physical therapist hand therapy can help.
At Capitol Physical Therapy in Washington DC, one of the physical therapy services we offer is hand therapy.
Read on to find out more about physical therapist hand therapy, and how it can help you regain better use of your arm or hand.
What Is Hand Therapy?
Hand therapy is a type of rehabilitation that targets the hands and upper limbs.
A physical therapist will assist you in restoring function to the hands, wrists, elbows, or even shoulder.
Your physical therapist will provide an evaluation, and then create a plan that can include at home strengthening exercises, activity modification, and planning to reach your goals.
What Does Hand Therapy Do?
Hand therapy can help with many problems, including things like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendon and joint injuries, decreasing pain, and softening scars.
Here are just some of the things hand therapy can do:
- Work as a physical therapy treatment for pain management
- Assist in reducing pain from nerve damage
- Improve movement
- Work as a physical therapy treatment for recovery after surgery
- Work as a physical therapy treatment for sports and running injuries
- Improve strength
- Increase flexibility
- Help prevent injuries
How Does Hand Therapy Work?
If you’re not sure whether hand therapy is right for you, it’s a good idea to book an appointment for a consultation. Your physical therapist will evaluate you to see whether hand therapy or another solution is best for you.
Assuming hand therapy is the best option, your physical therapist will evaluate your current condition and then put together a treatment plan designed to address them.
Active exercises, strengthening exercises, scar treatment, and pain control are all techniques that may be used in hand therapy.
By combining education and these techniques your strength and endurance may improve so you can reach your specific goals.
What Can Hand Therapy Help With?
Hand therapy can assist with strength, movement, and reducing pain.
It can also help you with flexibility, preventing injuries, and recovery after surgery.
Let’s take a closer look at how it can help.
Loss of strength in your hands can be frustrating to deal with, especially if you’ve traditionally been fairly strong. However, hand physical therapy can help.
Your physical therapist may use a number of different techniques to increase your strength in your hand. This may include:
- Manipulating putty in your hands that varies in firmness
- Using grippers to improve your gross grasp fine motor skill
- Using weights and TheraBands
These are just some of the aids that can be used to help strengthen your hands.
Exercises used in hand therapy can be passive or active.
An active exercise would mean you are using your own muscles to increase your strength or range of motion.
Passive exercises may include the therapist manipulating your fingers or joints without you using your own muscles, and may feel similar to massage or a stretch
Hand and upper limb pain can be extremely difficult and distracting, especially if you work in a job that requires the use of your hands a lot (which most jobs do).
Hand therapy can be vital in managing pain that is causing a detriment to your daily life.
Here are some of the techniques that may be used for pain control:
- Pain neuroscience education
- Mirror therapy (using a mirror to trick the brain)
- Manual therapy
- Guided Imagery (a stress management technique)
- Dry needling
Scars can be painful and distracting, or cause stiffness.
Hand therapists can help with scar reduction to minimize these issues.
The following may be used for scar reduction:
- Friction massage with rubbing and vibrations
- Exercises that prevent stiffness
Edema is the swelling caused by excess fluid in the body. It can affect your body anywhere, but it’s usually the most obvious in your limbs – especially your hands.
The following can be used for edema control:
- Compression clothing or wraps
- Active motion
- Retrograde massage (moving fluid from one area of the limb to another)
In some cases, edema can be a sign of a much larger heart issue, like congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, kidney disease, or deep vein thrombosis, all of which can be fatal. So if you have edema, it’s a good idea to speak to your primary care physician as well. A deep vein thrombosis can be detected with an ultrasound, so be sure the facility you’re visiting has one available.
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
Having trouble with your hands, or other upper limb issues?
At Capital Physical Therapy we are here to provide potential solutions for them!
Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy so that our therapists can start you on your path to improvement.