how to treat snake bites as an occupational therapist
[00:00:00] Hi There. It's Hoang with hand therapy secrets. I'm gonna talk today about snake bites and how do you handle it As an occupational therapist, if this is the first time you're listening, you're tuning in, you're watching then welcome. My name is Wong. I'm an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist, and I developed hand therapy secrets to help develop careers for occupational therapists in the hand therapy space.
[00:00:26] And also, if you want to become a certified hand therapist, I'm here to help you as well. So this video. It's a long time coming. Cesar, who is a nurse and he helps me with all my podcasting and YouTube stuff, has been asking me to make a video on how to handle snake bites as a therapist. And it's because he.
[00:00:45] Lives in Texas and certain times a year there's a lot of snake bites. And he's I think that'd be a really valuable video for the therapist and even any healthcare professionals. So I'll share with you my perspective on what I would do. I've worked with a few snake bites [00:01:00] and depending on their severity is how you would handle it.
[00:01:04] So as an occupational therapist we don't necessarily see them right after a snake bite, right? So if you get a snake bite it depends on what you think the snake is and how you handle it from an emergency standpoint is different than how you would handle it as a therapist. So if you're looking for like first aid stuff that is not this video, right?
[00:01:26] Like one of the things I read is if it's this kind of snake by don't put don't put cold on it, right? And one of the reasons why you don't put cold on it initially is cuz. You know when something happens to your body sends protective cells and rushes to protect itself, right? So all that in initial immediate, like swelling and all that stuff that goes to that area is to prevent it from getting worse.
[00:01:50] So if you put ice on it initially, it's to reduce all the, all of what your body is trying to do to protect itself. So initially, it's not like the [00:02:00] best thing to do. That's the only tidbit that I can share with you in terms of that oh, sorry. The second tidbit I would say is like, when I was reading up on what happens with snake bites is that sometimes they immobilize the area just to, once they determine like what's going on, just to stop the flow of blood and moving the.
[00:02:20] The poison essentially through the body. But of course that depends on what you think is what snake and the venom and stuff like that. So you definitely, that's a first aid thing, so look that up. But from a therapy standpoint, what happens is we usually see them. After the fact. We don't necessarily see them in the initial state of I got a snake bite.
[00:02:41] Shit, if you got a snake bite, call 9 1 1. Go to the urgent care. Now. Go to the hospital. Go to the hospital. Cause they're gonna ask you more questions in terms of what kind of snake you think it is, that kind of stuff. But here's what happens from a therapy standpoint is that, [00:03:00] And I turn the camera, so I'm on right on the whiteboard.
[00:03:03] Let's see if you guys can see it. So what happens in, what happens with a, what happens with snake bite? So you have essentially, you have poison, right? And you have swelling.
[00:03:21] Why does it look like I spelled poison wrong? Don't worry, I'm not a great speller, but that's all right. Swelling. You have scarring, so swelling your body produces edema and causes swelling. Swelling, and also the poison, the venom. Causes internal scarring. And sometimes depending on where your bite is, especially if it's in a hand or arm and you stopped moving it because of that, then what you would have is decreased range of motion, right?
[00:03:57] And that could present itself into. [00:04:00] Stiffness because of the swelling and because of the scarring. Does that make sense? So what do you do? How do you handle it? As an occupational therapist working in outpatient center as an occupational therapist working in acute care. So I've seen some stuff in acute care and then what do you do to help them?
[00:04:20] So if they, if it's mild enough that they don't need surgery, then what you think about is you think about how do I work to reduce the swelling? How do I work to reduce the swelling? So you can do some edema massage.
[00:04:42] You can, depending on the area, you can wrap it or co, you can wrap it or glove it. So some form or fashion of compression, right? This pen is not writing that well. Lemme get another one. You [00:05:00] can position, right? How do you decrease swelling? One of the number one things. To produce, to reduce swelling is movement.
[00:05:10] Movement right now when it comes to scarring, again, you can do scar massage and there's different ways of doing that. There's different techniques when it comes to massaging the scar. And remember, the scar isn't just the pinpoint spot where the snake might have bitten you. It might be all over as that.
[00:05:34] Poison venom pass and move through your body. So the scarring you might not see, but as a therapist, what you wanna do is you wanna be able to feel for it, right? So there's lots of different techniques that you can use just like in terms of compression and stuff like that. There's all different ways.
[00:05:51] But one way is. Is one thing you can do for scarring is just massage. And another thing to do for scarring is movement. I'm [00:06:00] telling you, movement is a thing that can really help because the tendons and the muscles are deep under. And so is that scarring And it's through the movement that then softens the scar and realigns the scar fibers, right?
[00:06:17] So when your body dumps dumps like cells for inflammation and healing, what it does is it creates a lot of if you can imagine, I usually describe it like this. That's how I usually describe swelling. Swelling is like a flood coming in and it goes out and it comes in and it goes out. And then what happens is as the flood subsides a little bit and the swelling subsides and the water gets reabsorbed in the body you're left with its debris, right?
[00:06:45] Debris and all that. Debris is all over the place. And so you can imagine like all these sticks of spaghetti and that's your debris and it's all over the place. And it's through movement and through different various types of scar [00:07:00] massage and DMA massage that help to realign those fibers so that they lay in one direction versus being jumbled up and messed up all over the place.
[00:07:09] And so that can help you through movement and through movement. It also, it helps to realign the scar fibers. Softens the scar fibers, but also helps to reduce swelling. So movement is key. So now if you have decreased range of motion and you're really sick, you're like, how do I move the sucker? So there's two types of movements.
[00:07:29] You have active range of motion, and then you also have passive range of motion. So what do you do first? So if someone's stiff, then you do pass a range of motion first, and so you start to mobilize the joint you, and through mobilization of the joint, you inherently stretch and move the tendon stretch and move the ligaments because the ligaments hold bone and bone together.
[00:07:52] And so you'll start to move those the fibers and the tissues of the ligaments. And when you do that, you're also [00:08:00] passively moving the muscles and tendons, and you're moving those muscles and tendons. They only get long and they only get short. When you passively move, then you're also what? You're also moving the skin and fascia, right?
[00:08:10] You're also moving the skin and fascia. So first you do a passive range of motion and then you wanna follow it up by active range of motion, and that's how you combat the stiffness and increase the range of motion. So this is a very generalized. Generalize what to do or how to do, and then you can get real specific depending on the body part. Now I worked with this guy one time. He had a snake bite. I'm trying to remember what snake bite he had, but the venom traveled up his arm and did, killed a lot of tissue and especially skin. And so he ended up having he ended up having a skin graft so that to regraft his whole arm, and it came from hand on its shoulder.
[00:08:52] So every time you have scar that passes by a joint, elbows a joint supination and pronation. [00:09:00] Being able to turn your palm up and down has two joints that it has to move and the skin and the muscles have to move. And then you have your wrist joint, your thumb and your fingers. So every time you have count up the number of joints that you cannot move, it makes it that much more.
[00:09:16] Complex right now. So I'm talking, this is, it is a very generalized thing. So this is like non-surgical, if you want to think about it. Non-surgical snake bites. Why do I think this is a no, it's gonna drive me crazy and spell something correctly, but Not the best fella, and I'm okay with that. I hope you're okay with that.
[00:09:36] You understand what I'm trying to say? The poison. So this is a non-surgical depiction. Now, if you had a case where it was surgical then you have to follow the guidelines of whatever that surgery is. Now some people develop what's called compartment syndrome. And need require that requires surgery.
[00:09:56] Compartment syndrome just means that you have so much swelling within [00:10:00] the compartments of your arm that they have to now, open it up, vasectomy, they open it up so that the pressure doesn't start to kill off your tissue. So they have to open it up to the swelling, to give room to those muscles.
[00:10:13] Otherwise you end up with tissue death and then that's becomes like a whole nother problem, right? So that could be one issue you where you have compartment syndrome and they have to do surgery. Another thing is venom or whatever it is, might cause already muscle or deterioration, necrosis in the muscles and tendons.
[00:10:32] And so then they have to go in. And they could remove all that tissue, right? So then that's a whole nother problem. You have to follow the guidelines or the protocols of that. Now each one is a little different. And so you really have to understand a little bit more about what the surgical procedure is in order to know when you can get started and what you're allowed to move and what you're not allowed to move.
[00:10:53] Some people need the skin graft. So for example, in the skin graft scenario once they put the skin graft, you're not allowed to [00:11:00] move for the first seven days, right? So then after that, once the skin graft is determined that it's taken, then you can go ahead and start moving. But then you can't do a lot of scar massages yet because the skin is still taking, it's still new and so you have to wait a certain amount.
[00:11:15] But there's other techniques to do, and there's gentle ways of making sure that you're moving the scar, making sure that you're working on edema and making sure that you're not getting really stiff. All these are become really technical once you have surgery, but if you just have a snake bite, And you're presented with a person that says I'm really painful after this.
[00:11:37] I'm really painful after the snake bite and I can't move as well as, I can't move my hand, I can't move my arm, whatever it is. I can't move as well. Most of the time I. Hopefully you see the snake bite in your ankle and foot, right? But it's the same thing. I always say, the ankle is like the wrist and the feet and the toes are like the hands the elbow's like the knee.
[00:11:54] And so if you're coming in with somebody who has a snake bite, then as a therapist, you evaluate them [00:12:00] and you say, okay what are the symptoms? Is it pain? Because pain might be related to some of these things. Pain might be re related to the fact that, the nerves got, became sensitive for whatever reason, because of the venom and because of the type of snake, you could have pain because you're not moving in the way you're supposed to be moving.
[00:12:20] So if your patients are coming with pain, you have to determine why are, why do they have pain? Where do they have pain? What's causing the pain and what's causing the pain? Might be all. All are one of these things. And then once you make that determination that those are the actual issues, those are the symptoms, then you work towards reducing those symptoms by making the tissue more pliable and soft and the joints more movable and functional.
[00:12:46] And then once you get everything moving more, then you can focus on getting stronger. Sometimes people, because they feel like they're weak, Think that they need to go to strength right away. And so everyone's squeezing a goddamn ball. I hate [00:13:00] those stupid balls, like just squeeze a ball. If you got no emotion, you're squeezing a ball, what are you doing?
[00:13:05] You're blocking your full capacity to move and you're working on the wrong thing in the wrong order. So I certainly believe there's. There's an order in which to progress so that you can get the best possible results for your patients. So yeah, so that's my take on how you would handle a snake bite as an occupational therapist.
[00:13:23] So no matter where you are in the world, if you're watching this and you have a snake bite or you're working, if you're a therapist, if you're a therapist and you're working with a sneak bite, please feel free to leave me a comment. Let me know your story of, what was presented to you.
[00:13:38] I would love to hear your story. Let me know whether you agree with me, disagree with me. I know that, my channel here helps. Therapist, but I often get people with actual injuries and they're like, but what do I do about this? And one of the things I would say is find a therapist in your local area.
[00:13:55] I'm right currently in Miami. My clinic is called Hands-On Therapy Services. So if [00:14:00] you're in Miami and you ask. Snake bite, you need some help. My name is Wong and you can find me there at Hands-on Therapy Services. But if you're in another part of the world, please look for an occupational therapist, certified hand therapist to help you deal, especially if you have hand and arm injuries to help you get over your snake bites and get the best possible movement so that you don't have any residual issues after that.
[00:14:21] And then be careful next time. Accidents happen, I tr I try not to go where the snakes are, but I understand that sometimes we can't help it. But yeah leave me a comment below if this has helped you and if you like videos like this, or if you're listening on a podcast and you like listening to podcasts like this, then definitely and comment below and I will see you on the next one.
[00:14:43] Thanks so much.