Hand therapy comes under occupational therapy as a practice and a discipline. The aim of any therapy is to get patients to successfully do everyday tasks easily through various exercises. Hand therapy can also offer a range of benefits to improve health and well-being.
Hand therapy can be mental, physical, or even psychological. It can be used for any person who has a hard time properly performing daily activities due to injury, trauma, or illness. They are especially important for aging individuals who struggle with tasks due to weakness and age. In today’s blog, we will discuss five key benefits of hand therapy for senior citizens and list the common hand conditions treated by hand therapy.
Arthritis is frequently an anticipated and concerning aspect of the aging process. Its likelihood grows with advancing years, and it is frequently a long-term challenge once it sets in. The most effective approach to address arthritis is to take proactive measures to prevent its onset. Hand therapists are skilled at instructing individuals on proper arm and hand usage to minimize inflammation that leads to arthritis. Adhering to their guidance can enhance hand strength, grip, and stamina.
Hand therapy often involves a series of exercises known as “range of motion” exercises, which are among the most commonly prescribed treatments. These exercises serve the purpose of reducing hand pain, preventing joint stiffness, and improving the range of movement for both the hand and arm.
These exercises can be categorized into two main groups. The first group comprises “self-directed range of motion exercises,” which patients can perform independently. The second group involves exercises that require the assistance of a therapist, referred to as “therapist-assisted range of motion exercises.
Pain is a natural part of life, serving as a vital warning signal for our bodies. However, chronic pain persists beyond its helpful role and becomes a constant presence. Hand therapy employs proactive pain management techniques, alleviates muscle tension, and effectively incorporates ergonomic design principles to address chronic pain. These approaches aim to enhance one’s ability to engage in active living by minimizing the inhibiting impact of pain.
In our fast-paced modern world, stress and anxiety often play significant roles in various health issues, ranging from back pain to digestive problems. Hand massage and other massage techniques offer effective methods to combat stress, reduce anxiety, and relieve tension. During a hand massage, specific areas of the hand are gently manipulated, transmitting signals through nerve fibers that trigger a relaxation response. This relaxation leads to muscle relaxation, causing blood vessels to dilate and enhancing circulation. Consequently, more oxygen and nutrients reach the cells in the targeted area, fostering a sense of tranquility and well-being.
Hand massage serves as a valuable method for promoting increased blood flow to the hands. This heightened circulation ensures that vital oxygen and essential nutrients are efficiently delivered to all parts of the body, optimizing overall function. Moreover, oxygenated blood plays a pivotal role in expediting the healing process in areas of the body that may have been injured or affected by conditions like arthritis. Regular hand massages can effectively stimulate repair mechanisms, ultimately leading to improved hand function over time.
A certified hand therapist has specialist training in treating hand and upper extremity injuries. They incorporate several techniques that are specially developed for the wrist, fingers, hand, elbow, shoulder, and arm. Treatment can help relieve pain and improve function, strength, range of motion, and dexterity.
Many conditions and injuries affect the hand, and the upper extremities can be successfully treated by a hand therapist, including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Congenital hand differences
- Fractures and dislocations
- Joint instabilities and conditions
- Nail bed injuries
- Nerve compression/injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Rotator cuff strains and tears
- Soft tissue injuries
- Sports-related injuries
- Tendonitis and tendon injuries
- Work-related injuries
The Final Word
Hand therapies can make a huge difference in one’s life by helping them return to life with proper
rehabilitative treatments. Your hand therapist will help you to choose the best treatment for your
condition after consultation with your doctor. A therapist can suggest some hand therapy exercises
using a squeezing ball, such as thumb extension, table roll, finger, flexion, pinch, finger squeeze, thumb