The upper extremities of our body are subject to pain due to a plethora of conditions. The conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis have unique characteristics with symptoms that include pain in the arm, hands, or both. Hand therapy comes under the umbrella of physical therapy that treats a plethora of such conditions that cause chronic pain in the upper limbs and can help handle injuries like fractures.
Specialized treatments for injuries and conditions
A hand therapist is trained and certified to evaluate and treat patients who suffer from hand or wrist injuries or conditions. This kind of attention helps improve mobility, achieve the maximum function, and reduces the pain significantly. Let us have a look at some of the common conditions that can be treated with this method.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common conditions observed in patients complaining of aching hands. It is often caused repetitive activity for long hours like in hairdressers or professional gamers who have to maneuver their fingers and wrists for a major part of the day. Studies have demonstrated that therapy is extremely effective and helps avoid surgery by gradually subsiding the pain.
This disorder is extremely specific and affects the ring or pinky fingers or sometimes both in one or both the hands. As the disease progresses the movement of these fingers becomes extremely difficult and causes severe pain to the patients. Hand therapy subdues the pain to a certain extent but surgery is warranted if there is continued progression. If untreated the patient can lose partial functionality of their hands which can hinder their lives.
DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis affects the wrists on the thumb side. It can be caused due to the change in hormones, swelling, repetitive movement. The causes are still ambiguous and often unknown. Pain and swelling on the thumb side of the wrist is the most common symptom for this condition. The therapist can analyze the condition and suggest treatment plans accordingly and may suggest no heavy lifting at least until the swelling dies down.
Trigger finger or thumbs
This is a condition that affects the tendons around your fingers and thumb and acts as a painful obstacle while the patient attempts any movements like bending towards the palm of their hand. Therapy has known to be an extremely effective way of treating the early-onset condition. Soft tissue massages combined with heat treatments and hand-stretching exercises work wonders to recover from the pain and increase mobility. The most common symptoms include clicking, popping, and stiffness due to an inflamed tendon that is stuck in the bent position.
Tennis elbow and Golfer’s elbow
Tennis elbow and Golfer’s elbow are both forms of elbow tendinitis, which is the inflammation of tendons surrounding the elbow joint. The major difference between them is the former is caused by inflammation of the tendons situated on the outer part of the elbow and forearms while the latter is caused by inflammation of the tendons on the inner surface of the elbow. Tennis elbow is more frequently observed in patients. The most common symptoms include pain, inflammation, and inability to move the arms. Doctors advise rest, ice compression, and hand therapy to heal quickly from this condition.
Finally, hand therapy is useful in an assortment of injuries
When one suffers an accident while driving a motor vehicle, during sports activities or at their occupational sites, hand injuries are often dealt with care to regain the inherent potential and resume the activities again. Hand therapy builds the strength back and eases the patient’s way into recovery. Some genetic or autism spectrum disorders in children are aided through occupational therapy which may include hand therapy as a way to develop their motor skills at par with their overall development.