Who Can Benefit From Hand Therapy?

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Most physical therapists work with patients who have problems throughout their bodies. However, physical therapists who call themselves "hand therapists" focus on treating and managing problems with the hands, wrists, and lower arms. When might you want to see a hand therapist? Here are a few of the key situations in which seeing one of these practitioners is advised.

Arthritis in the Hands

Think about how many different things you do with your hands. You cut and prepare ingredients, eat food, write, type, and so much more. Arthritis in your hands can get in the way of all of these things. You may have trouble gripping items like pens and forks, and moving your fingers with enough dexterity to type. A hand therapist can work with you to strengthen your hands, increase your flexibility, and ease your arthritis pain. They may give you exercises to do on a daily basis to strengthen the affected muscles. They may also give you stretches you can perform on an as-needed basis when your arthritis is acting up. This may make it easier to complete your daily tasks and keep working.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

People often assume that they need surgery to treat their carpal tunnel syndrome, when in fact, carpal tunnel can often be treated with non-surgical means. A hand therapist can work with you to strengthen muscles in your hands, which will change the way you use your hands, taking pressure off the nerves that run through your wrist. They may even show you stretches that can help bring sensation back to your hands when you start feeling a tingling sensation. You won't get results overnight, but if you stick with hand therapy for a few months, you may find you no longer need surgery for your carpal tunnel.

Stroke 

Having a stroke can leave you less able to use your hands. Sometimes, you may need to re-learn how to do basic things, like pick up a fork and fasten buttons. Not all hand therapists work with stroke patients, but many do. They can teach you how to bend and use your hands to perform the tasks necessary for daily living. After a stroke, this is mostly about repeating certain motions to re-build nerve connections that were lost.

If you are struggling with any of the issues above, consider meeting with a hand therapist. They can assess your condition and let you know how their hand therapy can help you.

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14 March 2022

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