What is Hand Physical Therapy?

Hand Physical Therapy in Brooklyn

brooklyn hand therapy

Hand therapy is a rehabilitation method performed by physical or occupational therapists on patients who have conditions that affect their hands and upper extremities. Hand physical therapy allows patients to recover faster, and return to a healthy, productive lifestyle.

A lot of people who have suffered trauma or accidents resulting in injured nerves or tendons, fractures, wounds, scars, burns, and even amputations of the arms, hands and fingers can benefit greatly from hand therapy. Additionally, many people who suffer from conditions such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, or neurological conditions can also find relief by visiting a certified hand therapist.

However, keep in mind that a certified hand therapist and a therapist who treats patients with hand or arm conditions aren’t even remotely similar in terms of experience and quality. A certified hand therapist goes through several years of experience in order to attain their certification, while a practitioner can treat their patients without any extra formal education.

Hand therapy aims to address the underlying, bio-mechanical issues of upper-extremity conditions. Hand therapy specialists use a client-centered and occupation-based approach that helps identify the needs of the client. In other words, the patient will express what they want to be able to do in their everyday life that is necessary, so that the therapy focuses on improving their performance of those activities as the main goal.

The end-goal of hand physical therapy is to enable patients to perform all of their everyday activities, while ensuring the rehab process promotes permanent healing of their condition. That being said, hand therapy fosters positive outcomes for patients, allowing them to experience an increase in their quality of life and ultimately, making them independent.

What are the Benefits of Hand Physical Therapy?

As aforementioned, hand therapy fosters many positive outcomes for patients. Depending on your condition, your needs, and dedication to the physical therapy, you will experience One of the most satisfying parts of going through hand therapy is the feeling of restored function and mobility. Our arms are of utmost importance to many pivotal tasks. Experiencing constant pain and loss of function can be hard on anyone, and every condition can take a toll on a person, in one way or another. Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and arthritis can kill the enjoyment people receive from fulfilling jobs, hobbies, and many everyday activities. The hands are extremely complex body parts, which may require surgery and months of hand therapy, but the end result will justify the means almost every time.

Another huge benefit of going through hand physical therapy, which is also a direct result of restored function and mobility, is the renewed confidence patients experience. People who lose the ability to perform basic everyday tasks and experience pain from being unable to partake in the hobbies and activities they love are oftentimes left feeling vulnerable and dependent on others. Once they go through therapy and slowly go through the process of restoring function to their upper limbs, they slowly gain back the confidence and strength to live independently, as they did before their condition or injury.

Furthermore, while going through the process, the patient gains knowledge about their body, the condition, the injury, and the healing process. This allows patients to fully understand the importance of hand therapy and the importance of taking care of their body. Conversely, the hand therapist in Brooklyn will come to understand the patient and their injury, because even though they may be treating a hundred patients a month, every body, and every injury is different.

Lastly, patients that go through hand physical therapy experience reduced stress, which is caused by pain in the wrist, elbows, hands and shoulder tension. Moreover, not only do people in pain experience stress, they have trouble sleeping and decreased coping abilities. A certified hand therapist understands this and will work with you to relieve pain. Once you’ve started hand therapy, your ability to function will improve significantly.

What Does Hand Physical Therapy Involve?

The first step to a successful road to recovery from hand physical therapy is forming a close patient-therapist relationship. Therapists usually begin the process by assessing their client, their functional deficits and desired goals from the therapy. This allows the therapist to understand what the client wants, enjoys and values, and what they both need to do in order to get them back on track. This allows both parties to set goals collaboratively. The patient, on the other hand, will understand that the process will address their entire lifestyle, body and mind, including social and psychological issues, not just the injury itself.

Next, the therapist will likely start with a few preparatory methods, such as muscle strengthening, range of motion, physical agent modalities and specific hand therapy exercises. Alternatively, the therapist may decide that performing purposeful activities are the better solution. As the patient progresses, the focus of the therapy is broadened into addressing the performance of the client’s desired life activities, tasks and occupations.

The therapist closely monitors the patient’s progress, and chooses activities accordingly in order to ensure they relate to the actual activities the patient will be doing during and after the rehab process. And even though the activities may not be tailored to help with healing the condition or injury itself, they may still be used as a way to help patients return to a healthy psychological state and social well-being while their bodies heal. Adaptations can be made at any point during the recovery process if that’s what the patient desires.

When the time comes, a certified hand therapist may provide adaptive equipment and splints that will help the patient facilitate instead of inhibit participation in everyday activities such as eating, dressing or driving.

However, keep in mind that every hand therapist can have unique treatment methods and approaches to hand therapy, so you shouldn’t expect to get the same treatment everywhere. Also, don’t forget to differentiate between a certified hand therapist and a therapist or practitioner who treats hand, arm and finger conditions, because the difference is more than adding the word “certified”.

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