Do I Need the Help? Benefits of Occupational Therapy

Ready for life to get back to normal after an injury? Hire an occupational therapist.

Occupational therapy is the fastest and most reliable path back to normalcy after getting hurt. Take a look at this guide to understanding the benefits of occupational therapy.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Physical therapy is pretty easy to understand. As the name implies, you hire a physical therapist to help you retrain your physical body after an accident.

When your body isn’t operating at 100 percent, a physical therapist gives you exercises and techniques to help your healing progress so you can get back to normal. An occupational therapist helps you learn new ways to get things done while you’re in transition.

Occupational therapists can help people who’ve been injured, but they can also help children develop certain skills if they’re falling behind growth milestones.

Most occupational therapists, however, are looking to help a person recover any skills that might have been lost after an injury or illness. The type of occupational therapist a person hires depends on the reason they need help.

Older adults with permanent illnesses might need a different type of care than a child with a spinal condition. A good occupational therapist works with family and caregivers to ensure everyone knows how to help a patient accomplish tasks.

Improving Range of Motion

When you’re injured, one of the first things that suffers if your range of motion. This doesn’t just happen after you’re physically hurt.

An illness can mean being bedridden for weeks. You might lose full mobility in your arms or legs after being in a hospital bed for extended time periods.

Common reasons mobility is lost after illness is surgery, a stroke or even developing arthritis. Your joints won’t be the same for a while without focused effort.

Occupational therapists help improve a person’s passive range of motion by stimulating the area with small joint related movements. They can also help with active range of motion by teaching patients certain movements and allowing them to do them independently.

A person’s range of motion improves when an occupational therapists helps them focus on better body positioning throughout the day. Maybe they need to lay on their side instead of their back in order to restore an injured shoulder.

Finding a good position for healing means allowing gravity to work where it can so patients have less strain during daily activities. Joints can move more freely when there’s less pain with each movement.

The goal with occupational therapy isn’t for patients to suffer through uncomfortable movements. Occupational therapists look for ways to ease the pain so that patients feel more at home.

Another way occupational therapy improves range of motion is through compensatory prevention techniques. These techniques allow patients to regain strength while getting their movement back.

Everyday Life Struggles

The main goal of occupational therapy is to make life easier after a person suffers an injury or illness. For some, the need for change is permanent.

A person diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease need to permanently alter how they cook, eat and groom themselves. An occupational therapist can work with them as the disease progresses to help make these tasks easier.

The occupational therapist works as a coach to assure the patient they can still do many of the same things they did before. The goal is simply thinking about the task from another perspective.

Consider hiring an occupational therapist when daily tasks are too much for any reason. It may be old age slowing down your joints, or an injury that won’t seem to heal.

Don’t give up and simply stop living life the way your accustomed to living. Call an occupational therapist so you regain the confidence and sense of purpose you felt before your injury.

Giving up on daily tasks can worsen your condition and sometimes lead to depression. Avoid isolation with regular contact with family and friends.

Your occupational therapist will take the necessary steps to help you with fine motor skills, dexterity and range of motion. Tiny improvements boost your confidence on your road to recovery.

Avoiding Falls

Older adults have a hard time coming back from falls. The best way to recover from a fall as a senior is to not fall in the first place.

If you’re having trouble moving around your home, it’s time to hire an occupational therapist. An occupational therapist can help you modify the layout of your home so you can perform daily tasks with ease.

Perhaps you need to move your bedroom down to the main floor of your home and use a guest bathroom as the master. These small changes remove unneeded stress from your day as you navigate your changing mobility.

Take falls seriously. A trip to the emergency room can permanently alter how you live.

Therapists have techniques to help seniors avoid falls no matter their lifestyle. They teach patients how to properly balance and build their muscles in a way that discourages falling.

Restoring Memory

There are some irreversible memory conditions that no occupational therapist can cure even with the best occupational therapy software. But minor memory loss might improve with the help of an occupational therapist.

Therapists offer memory building activities like puzzles and games. They can help caregivers adjust to personality changes brought on by memory loss so patients don’t become more disoriented.

Benefits of Occupational Therapy

In many cases, patients can get back to normal life without the help of occupational therapy. In other instances, occupational therapy simply offers an option for prevention.

No matter your reasons for seeking occupational therapy, you can improve your quality of life and gain a fresh perspective on your abilities.

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