Understanding Occupational Therapy

Most people have never heard of occupational therapy until their health care provider recommends that they seek this type of treatment. But when an injury, orthopedic condition, or surgery make it hard to do everyday tasks, occupational therapy is exactly what you need.

The team at iMed Regeneration Center may incorporate occupational therapy into your rehabilitation plan or recommend it as a standalone treatment, depending on your personal needs and goals.

Occupational therapy explained

Occupational therapy is the treatment you need when an injury, orthopedic condition, or surgery affect your mobility and coordination, preventing you from performing basic activities or fully participating in activities at work, school, or home.

This type of therapy helps you relearn functional skills and return to performing daily activities. For example, you may need to restore hand coordination so you can write or throw a ball, relearn sports-specific skills so you can get back into the game, or regain basic abilities like buttoning a shirt.

Conditions treated with occupational therapy

There’s some crossover between physical therapy and occupational therapy because both improve your strength and movement.

Occupational therapy differs from physical therapy in that it focuses on functional activities such as fine and gross motor skills and motor planning. Motor planning teaches each step you need to learn in order to move in a purposeful and coordinated manner.

You’ll find occupational therapy especially beneficial for recovering fine and gross motor abilities following an injury to the tendons or ligaments in your hands, wrist, elbows, shoulders, and legs.

A few examples of musculoskeletal conditions that benefit from occupational therapy include:

We may include occupational therapy as part of your rehabilitation from auto injuries, sports injuries, and the many injuries and health conditions that cause knee, back, neck, and shoulder pain.

Interventions during occupational therapy

During your first appointment, your occupational therapist performs a thorough evaluation and assesses your strengths and weaknesses. Then they talk with you about your goals and develop an individualized treatment plan to reach those goals, whether they’re related to work, sports, recreation, or self-care.

Occupational therapists use a wide range of techniques and therapies, but you can always count on interventions that are specific to your challenges. Sometimes they create a therapy that’s specific for your needs. They may also recommend an assistive device. 

They may teach you compensatory techniques to reduce pain during activities or avoid muscle strain as you cope with the pain and limitations of an injury. The occupational therapist trains you to do activities that you once took for granted but are now a challenge, such as dressing and bathing.

You may also learn proactive problem-solving strategies. When you’re healthy, you don’t always plan your activities. But after an injury, you need to learn to anticipate challenges you may face before they happen and come up with a plan to navigate difficult situations.

These are only a few examples of the many interventions used during occupational therapy. To learn more, call our Colorado Springs, Colorado, center or schedule an appointment online.

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