Have you been wondering? Well, let me help you out with that.
My name is Amy Houchens and I am an instructor with the IAOM-US upper extremity track. I am a PT, CHT and found my first course with this group online. I saw who the instructors were and had already interacted and received instruction from one of them – so I signed up. I devoured the remaining classes and decided to get tested for certification. The rest, as they say, is history.
The upper extremity track is, to my knowledge, the only course program that leads to a manual therapy certification that is designed for hand (and upper extremity) specialists – either OT or PT.
Don’t let that scare you off.
Certification is not required, or even sought by, the majority of therapists that take classes in this track. That being said, preparing for and taking the certification exams will deepen your understanding and application of the material. The classes (except for Wrist Part II) can stand alone but are cleverly designed to fit together like pieces of a puzzle. The UE track was developed by a team of two brilliant CHTs, Ann Porretto-Loehrke PT DPT CHT COMT and Mirka Normand OTR MA CHT COMT. They are two of the smartest women in our field – amazing instructors and just generally exceptional people. Beyond full-time clinical practice and family lives, they devote much of their “spare” time prowling for the most recent, relevant research and the courses are constantly updated to reflect this. I learn something new every time I teach with them.
Working smarter is key!
As with all of the IAOM-US manual therapy coursework, the guiding principle is getting the most information from the least amount of testing in the evaluation process. Now, I would say that most experienced hand therapists are pretty darn good at treating post-operative conditions, trauma etc. but do you ever get those patients that come in with a diagnosis of pain or strain/sprain (insert wrist, elbow, shoulder, etc)? Maybe they have been referred by their family doctor and your job is to figure out what the problem is and how to help your patient. All of this in a health care climate of less time, less visits, more documentation and so on. Here is where IAOM really shines for me. It is a systematic approach to evaluation and treatment that I have found invaluable in my practice.
And the manual therapy techniques, oh my!
If the idea of joint mobilization or manipulation sounds intimidating, stop right there. First off, these courses have provided the most thorough joint anatomy and kinematic understanding that I have encountered. This makes learning the techniques intuitive and their application to many conditions very effective. You can go home and start using this stuff in the clinic right away.
So, what are you waiting for? Check us out.