FyzicalElPaso: Hand Therapy

April, 2020




At FYZICAL, Joe Cole and myself are passionate about the many benefits of hand therapy. When I was a student, I worked in a clinic with a physical therapist who was trained in themilitary and

It is also important to note that becoming a hand therapist is not easy – it takes extensive training and testing to become a CHT! I had such a positive experience in Philadelphia that I went on to receivemy certification and passed my CHT exam in 1999. Since then, I have loved each opportunity I have gotten to treat patients with severe hand injuries and help them integrate to a comfortable daily life. Good hand therapy is a game changer. A few years ago, Joe came tome expressing an interest in becoming a CHT. This is something I encouragebut amalways realistic when one of my therapists mentions it – as mentioned before, gaining certification is a difficult process and the exam has a high failure rate. However, I knew right away that Joe would be a good fit. He is patient, inquisitive, and willing to put in the extra work – all perfect attributes for becoming a CHT. He passed his exam on his first try and has been an instrumental part of our hand therapy service team since.

Luis Zuniga PT, DPT, CHT, MTC

had a gift for treating severe hand injuries. Watching him do his work impressed and inspiredme towant to do something similar. I started my journey toward excellence as soon as I was able. Fromthere, I was hooked. I would consistently ask to be placed in the hand therapy service during my clinical training. It took extra time but that was fine with me. I furthered my education at the Philadelphia Hand Therapy Center. It interested me to see both physical therapists and occupational therapists working as trained professionals in hand therapy. It is important to note – a hand therapy specialty is neither PT nor OT; rather, it is its own entity. CHT


April, 2020



INSIDE: • Hand Therapy: Why is it Important? • Relieve Wrist Pain In Minutes • Patient Success Spotlight

Whether you have pain or have been suffering for a long time, seeing a physical therapist at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers can help you return to a more active and pain-free life. Give us a call at the location nearest you!

(continued from outside) So,whydowe lovethisfieldsomuch?Theanswer issimple–tobecome a CHT, you go through extensive studying, training, and examinations. It’s challenging. This builds a more intuitive approach and different mindset when viewing and treating upper extremity injury or disease in this select group of patients. In short, Certified Hand Therapy is different because it promotes a different way of looking at problems – as a result we begin a new conversation for your care.

It’s a challenging field, but that’s why we like it. -Luis, Fyzical ElPaso

PS: We lost the matriarch of hand therapy on 2/19/2020. Evelyn Mackin,PTwasoneofthesixfoundingmembersofoursociety.She was a brilliant innovator starting the Hand Center in Philadelphia where I learned so much. She signed my first textbook which she coauthored and was a mentor for me andmany others. God bless you Evelyn you will be missed.

Everything we do at FYZICAL is designed to open up your life to all it’s possibilities – and we’ve learned certified hand therapy is a gateway.

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Hand therapy is an important part of our treatment practices at FYZICAL El Paso. While the title only specifies hands, this form of therapy focuses on the upper extremity as a whole, which also includes the wrist, forearm, elbow, arm, and shoulder. Hand therapists will treat injuries and ailments that affect the upper extremity and work toward returning the affected area to its highest level of function. If you are suffering from pain in the upper extremity, or if you have been living with a chronic condition that has been affecting the upper extremity, don’t hesitate to call us today! We will schedule an appointment for you and figure out the best steps for your treatment plan. Benefits of hand therapy: Hand therapy can treat a vast variety of conditions. Some of the most common include:

have worked even better than surgical treatments for the correction of certain conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. But how exactly does it work? A hand therapist typically uses manual techniques to manipulate the affected area, in order to release tension, swelling, and pain. Through the use of massage and hands-on treatments, patients can find significant improvement - sometimes after just one session! In some cases, additional techniques, such as ice and heat therapies, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation may also be used as part of your treatment plan, in order to enhance the healing process. Perhaps one of the biggest roles of a hand therapist, however, is prescribing targeted stretches and exercises. These will be dependent upon your diagnosis and will focus on improving your range of motion, strength, and overall function, so you can safely and comfortably perform your daily activities once again. A large part of hand therapy is helping patients regain their independence in day-to-day tasks and improving their quality of life. What now? If you have been suffering from upper extremity pain, contact FYZICAL El Paso today. We’ll help you schedule a consultation so one of our Certified Hand Therapists can evaluate the extent of your condition and create a personalized hand therapy treatment plan for you. Your upper extremities are important aspects of your everyday life – find relief for them today.

• Strains. • Sprains. • Impingement. • Tendinitis.

• Arthritis. • Bursitis.

• Carpal tunnel syndrome. • Cubital tunnel syndrome.

The upper extremity is used multiple times throughout the day. Just think of your morning routine: you get out of bed, brush your teeth, shower, get dressed, make breakfast, and commute to work. In just that small portion of the day, you have already used your hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, arms, and shoulders hundreds of times. If you are suffering from one of the above conditions, or from a generalized pain that you can’t figure out, it can make completing even simple activities (such as your morning routine) difficult. Hand therapy can help with that. It can relieve pain and get you back to comfortably performing your daily activities. In fact, according to the American Physical Therapy Association, conservative treatments

Meet Our Two Hand Therapists Call us today at (915) 330-8854 to schedule an appointment!

Luis Zuniga, PT, DPT, CHT, MTC. Completed his education at UT Health Science Center – San Antonio in 1984 receiving the highest honors for clinical excellence. Luis completed his first certification in Manual Therapy in 1991 fromwhat is now the University of St. Augustine and since then has lectured, taught, written and continued

He is the founder and president of FYZICAL Therapy Balance & Hand Centers.

Joseph Cole, PT, DPT, CHT. Joe received his Bachelor’s degree in exercise science while studying in the field of Kinesiology in 2011 and then received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2014. His interests are in sports rehabilitation and manual orthopedics in physical therapy field. He is a member of the Texas Physical Therapy Association & the American Physical therapy Association.

to expand his knowledge in this field. He has completed extensive training at the Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine program in manual therapy and manipulation. He received his certification in Hand Therapy (CHT) in 1999 and since then has practiced and taught internationally in the field of hand therapy.


Patient Success Spotlight

“I have recovered full mobility of my shoulder again!” “I will admit after surgery I found myself very skeptical in even knowing if physical therapy would work, much less which place to choose. Now I can say that thanks to Cristina and Jennifer, I have recovered full mobility of my shoulder again and can return to full duty as a peace officer. I would like to take a minute to thank all the staff from FYZICAL for their wonderful care and support through this stressful journey. God bless! I give FYZICAL 10 out of 5 stars.” - Carlos G.

Relieve Wrist Pain In Minutes Try this movement if you are experiencing wrist pain.

Improves Flexibility



Use your unaffected hand to bend the affected wrist up as shown. Keep the elbow straight on the affected side the entire time. Hold for 20 seconds.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER CHICKPEA SOUP INGREDIENTS • 1 cauliflower head, cut into florets

• 1/4 tsp black pepper • 4 cups vegetable broth • 1 cup water • 1/2 cup heavy cream For Garnish • Reserved roasted cauliflower mix

• 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas • 5 garlic cloves, peeled • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil • 1 tsp ground cumin • 1/2 tsp salt • 1/8 tsp paprika • 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cubed

• Red pepper flakes • Fresh thyme leaves • Heavy cream

DIRECTIONS Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss cauliflower florets, chickpeas and garlic cloves with 3 tbsp of olive oil and cumin, salt and paprika. Roast in the oven for 30 min, stirring once half way through. Remove from oven and set aside. Reserve about 1/2 cup for the garnish. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add cubed potatoes and black pepper. Cook for 2 min, stirring frequently. Add vegetable broth and water and increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to simmer for about 15-20 min until potatoes are very soft. Remove pot from the heat and stir in roasted cauliflower mix. Puree the soup using an immersion blender, food processor, or blender, working in batches if necessary. Return pureed soup to the stovetop and gently re-warm it. Stir in heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with reserved roasted cauliflower mix, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme leaves and drizzle of heavy cream.

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