Arthritis Hand Therapy: A different approach
Hand Therapy can play an integral part in the treatment for people with arthritis. Members of the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) are either Occupational or Physical Therapists with specialized training in treatment of the hand and upper extremities. Many carry the advanced certification credential of CHT (Certified Hand Therapist).
While medications play an important role in the management of symptoms, many patients are concerned by the loss of some of their “tried and true” arthritis medications which have been pulled off the market in the wake of health safety concerns. Hand Therapy is a valuable adjunctive treatment to provide long term benefit for a more functional and less painful daily life.
Benefits of hand therapy treatments can include:
- Reduction of pain, deformity, disability, instability
- Increased range of motion and function
- Increased strength and endurance
Hand Therapists may use different approaches to the problems caused by arthritis, including:
- Fabricating or providing new equipment and teaching techniques to make activities of daily living easier and less painful
- Fabrication of custom orthoses to stabilize and/or support joints
- Development of a customized home exercise program
- Stretches to keep joints more loose and flexible
- Exercises to increase muscle function for endurance and strength
- Modalities such as paraffin and moist heat to decrease pain
- Instruction in joint protection, energy conservation and work simplification to protect and reduce external stresses on joints