When you’ve injured your hand or wrist, and you need help, where do you turn? The list can be long and confusing: physical therapy, occupational therapy, hand therapy. Which one do you make an appointment with? Does it matter? Actually, it does. There is a difference between a physical therapist and a certified hand therapist. Choosing the one you need is the first step in your healing process. Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Certified Hand Therapist?
A certified hand therapist is an occupational therapist or a physical therapist at their core. However, they have chosen to go the extra mile and completed advanced studies in order to earn their CHT. This means they have completed additional education in order to become experts in healing all parts of the hands and upper extremities.
It’s more than just extra classwork, however. In order to become a certified hand therapist, they have to first become either an OT (occupational therapist) or a PT (physical therapist) through an accredited program. Then they have to have at least 3 years of experience and over 4,000 (yes, 4,000!) hours of hand therapy and upper extremity rehabilitation. A must then pass an exam that demonstrates their knowledge of all areas of hand therapy in order to earn their official certification.
A CHT is basically a hand specialist – and choosing a hand specialist to help with any ailment related to the hand or upper extremities is your best bet towards healing successfully.
Why would you choose a hand therapist over a physical therapist?
If you need your air conditioning fixed, who do you call? Probably a company who specializes in fixing A/C units. The idea is the same – if you have injuries or issues with your hands, choosing an expert who specializes in hand health is your best option. Plus, because a CHT has the same background as a physical therapist or occupational therapist, you’re still getting the best of both worlds.
By choosing a hand therapist, you will receive:
- Accurate assessments of the injured area
- Immediate care and effective treatment which would reduce treatment time
- Faster recovery results which would also reduce medical costs overall
- Returning to the highest functional ability in order to get back to your usual lifestyle
- Comprehensive treatment that addresses the use of the entire hand
- Custom-splints for your healing needs
No matter what type of pain you’re feeling, be sure to consult a physician first.
Before making the decision to see a hand therapist, it’s crucial that you visit a doctor who can examine the injured area. They will be able to properly diagnose you, refer you to a certified hand therapist, and help you create a plan of action for healing. Hand therapy could be the answer that you’re looking for. It’s time to stop living with pain and get back to the life you love!