THERAPEUTIC MODALITIES AVAILABLE
AT ALASKA HAND REHABILITATION
Traumas or surgeries may cause pain, swelling, scar tissue development, or hypersensitivity. These are treated in the clinic by applying different therapeutic modalities to mitigate swelling, reduce pain, modify scar tissue, and reduce sensitivity. Examples of techniques may include compressive sleeves, ultrasound, cold laser therapy, and desensitization techniques.
Trauma’s or surgeries may cause pain, swelling, scar tissue development, or hypersensitivity. These are treated in the clinic by applying different therapeutic modalities to mitigate swelling, reduce pain, modify scar tissue, and reduce sensitivity. Examples of techniques may include compressive sleeves, ultrasound, cold laser therapy, and desensitization techniques.
Wounds may be caused by a variety of reasons, such as traumatic injuries, pressure sores, or postoperative surgical sites. Wounds may be treated with dressings, debridement (cleaning), or topical ointments to facilitate healing.
Dexterity retraining focuses on improving fine motor skills required for functional tasks such as sewing, tightening a screw, or fastening buttons.
Graded Motor Imagery and Mirror Box Therapy
Graded motor imagery and mirror box therapy are used to treat pain and movement disorders by helping to retrain the brain. A mirror is used to create the illusion that the injured hand can move without pain by moving the uninjured hand in front of the mirror.
Joint Protection Education
The smaller joints in our hands are prone to pain, inflammation, and arthritic changes over time and with repetitive stress. Joint protection education focuses on adaptive changes to daily activities by using larger joints or adaptive equipment to reduce the stress on our hands
Upper Limb Prosthetics Training
Acquiring a prosthetic limb can be a life-changing event for patients. Functional training of the limb is an essential therapy that educates patients on how to complete basic, everyday tasks by using their prosthetic limb. Other focuses in therapy include molding the amputated limb with scar massage, swelling management, and techniques on taking the prosthetic on and off.
The purpose of functional retraining is to break down a large task into its fundamental components. Functional training, otherwise known as activity analysis, breaks down the smaller, individual steps required to perform a functional task.
Adaptive Equipment Recommendations to compensate for functional limitations of the hand/arm
Adaptive equipment may be necessary in order to participate in activities of daily living. Examples of adaptive equipment may include a grabber/reaching tool for limited shoulder mobility, a one-handed cutting board for diminished grip strength, or weighted utensils to ease tremors.
Ergonomics Education and Work Site Recommendations
Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder pain, or forearm tightness may often be attributed to poor workplace ergonomics. Ergonomic education involves the evaluation of the workplace environment and recommendations on changes to facilitate better posture and body mechanics.
THERAPEUTIC MODALITIES TO ENHANCE
RESULTS OF EXERCISE & MANUAL THERAPIES
Moist Heat and/or Paraffin Bath
Moist heat application is applied to help increase blood flow, loosen stiff joints, and soften scar tissue to aid in mobility and pain reduction. Paraffin is a type of therapeutic wax that is often applied to the injured extremity to add a layer of heat for maximum effect.
Ultrasound application involves the use of acoustic sound waves that penetrate through the tissue. These sound waves have a mechanical effect on a cellular level, which can help to improve the healing process of the affected tissue. By increasing the intensity, it may also be used to provide deep heat to scar tissue, causing the cells to vibrate and produce heat. Phonophoresis uses ultrasound to push medication, such as a corticosteroid, through the skin and into the underlying area for pain relief.
Functional Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)
Neuromuscular electrical stimulation is a technique that uses alternating current (A/C) to stimulate the nerves for muscle contraction. NMES is often used for peripheral nerve injuries to aid in healing the connection between the brain and the affected nerve. It may also be used to strengthen muscles that may have weakened after spending weeks in a cast. NMES can aid in swelling reduction through muscle contraction.
Galvanic stimulation uses direct current (D/C) to stimulate the injured extremity for pain relief, swelling reduction, or to aid in tissue healing.
Iontophoresis is a type of low-voltage galvanic current that is used to administer topical corticosteroids into an area of pain or inflammation. This therapeutic modality is commonly used to treat conditions such as tendinitis, bursitis, or localized swelling.
TNS for Pain Management
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) uses the principles of nerve stimulation to aid in pain reduction. Electrodes are placed on or around the areas of pain, then stimulation is administered to provide an analgesic effect for pain relief.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is the use of red and near infrared light to penetrate the tissue which causes change in cellular activity and permeability. The red light is projected through the tissue by using light emitting diodes (LEDs), which are applied on or around the area of pain, swelling, or even wounds.