You may not have noticed just how important your hands are until something went wrong. Whether you have nerve damage, an injury or another issue, the inability to use your hands can get in the way of everyday life. Before you rush off to see a surgeon, don't rule out occupational therapy. An occupational therapist can create a rehabilitation plan that (depending on your situation) can provide pain relief and give you better range of motion without having to step foot in an operating room. How can this type of hand therapy help you to get back to your normal activities, and what are the benefits?
You don't have all day to spend in a medical office. You want to get back to work, back to your family or back to everything else that you do in your life. One of the big-time bonuses of hand therapy is the ability to continue your rehabilitation at home. In some cases the therapist gives instructions for 'homework' assignments. This includes daily in-home exercises and activities that you do on your own. These help with movement and strength, without you ever leaving the comfort of your own home (or adding an intrusion into your day).
Return to Work
Sure, a break from work is something that almost everyone looks forward to. That said, wouldn't you rather actually go on vacation when you take time off? Occupational therapy lets you return to your job, even if you aren't 100 percent yet. This isn't to say that your therapist will send you back to work while you're still in major pain or unable to do your job. Instead, the pro will make sure that you have the tools to work in a way that actually helps you. This includes both actual tools that allow for adaptations as well as an understanding of how your hands work and what to do take make the most of the situation The therapist may also speak with your employer, providing information on what accommodations you need right now and in the future.
It's no big secret that an injury can get you down psychologically. As you're in the process of healing, an OT can give you adaptation ideas that allow you to at least partially (if not fully) return to your normal pre-injury life. The ability to do what you've always done (and enjoyed) can brighten your mood and put you in a better place psychologically.
Hand therapy offers a non-surgical option for many patients. Keep in mind, only your doctor/medical professional can help you to decide whether OT is right for you. If you decide to go the way of occupational therapy, your therapist may be able to help you at home, give you easy on-the-job adaptations and ease some of your psychological stress as you recover.