Hand pain can be a crippling thing when you consider how much of our daily lives revolve around the use of our hands. Hand therapy is a type of rehabilitation that has many different benefits and can help people who have suffered from various types of problems. This includes patients who have experienced some kind of trauma involving their hands, such as wounds, scars, burns, injured nerves and tendons, and fractures.

Hand therapy can also be beneficial for people after having a hand surgery completed. Things that used to be easy daily tasks that involved your hands, may be troublesome immediately following your surgery depending on the procedure completed. After surgery, it is often recommended by your doctor to see a hand therapist to assist with recovery, healing wounds, infection prevention, and reducing swelling.

Rehabilitation through hand therapy has the ability to provide people with help to reduce long-lasting pain, sensitivity, and learning to gain back feeling after having a nerve injury. It also provides patients with some freedom when it comes to certain exercises. There are many different therapy exercises that can be performed at home to help with mobility and strength. Therapists may also suggest heat therapy to reduce stiffness in your joints, or cold therapy to reduce inflammation.

Splints and bandages are used by therapists to control the amount of movement in your hand, wrist or arm. This allows them to have total control over gaining back mobility so that it can be performed in a safe, calculated manner. Overdoing it or pushing things too far can cause a patient to re-injure themselves and have to go back to square one.

Hand therapy is a vital solution for people trying to return to the state of ease they once experienced while using their hands in daily tasks, and get back to work. It’s important to discuss different therapy options with your doctor, as they are the ones in charge of your primary care. You can also use them as a resource and ask them for referrals to assist with finding a therapist of your own.

Dr. Arnold Peter Weiss is the R. Scot Sellers Scholar of Hand Surgery; Chief of Hand Surgery; Vice Chairman & Professor, Brown University.