Why Do I Need an Occupational Therapist?

Why Do I Need an Occupational Therapist?

Suppose a work injury, chronic pain, or disability makes it challenging for you to do daily activities like house chores, schoolwork, or even caring for yourself. This is when you may want to consider seeing an occupational physician.

But what is an occupational physician and when should you see one? Let’s get started.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a non-invasive therapeutic treatment that can help you adapt and learn to manage any condition (illness, disability, or pain) that’s hindering you from living your best life. This type of therapy can help you do specific activities like

¨ Eating on your own

¨ Partake in social activities

¨ Office or schoolwork

¨ Bathe and get dressed

¨ Brush your teeth

¨ House chores like washing dishes or doing laundry

You may think that occupational therapy is the same thing as physical therapy, and while both are natural and conservative types of treatments, they vary in how they help patients.

Is there a difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy?

Physical therapy provides a variety of treatments that help relieve pain and promote healing, focusing primarily on the overall range of motion. 

On the other hand, occupational therapy focuses more on rehabilitating and reteaching skills, movement, or even the use of tools (if needed) to accomplish daily tasks and activities. Occupational physicians work closely with full movement of your upper and lower extremities.

¨ Hands

¨ Elbows

¨ Wrists

¨ Hips

¨ Knees

¨ Ankles

¨ Feet

Another difference between these types of therapies is the areas each treats. Physical therapy aims at relieving pain by treating conditions like arthritis, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and injuries sustained from sports, work, or motor vehicle accidents.

And Occupational therapy focuses on relieving pain by working with conditions such as carpal tunnel, arthritis, burns, nerve injuries, fractures, strokes, and tendonitis.

What do occupational therapists do?

Occupational therapists work closely with people of all ages (from babies to older adults) to teach them how to manage their pain so that they can complete day-to-day tasks as independently as possible.

They do this by assessing your needs and areas in your life where certain activities may be more difficult for you. Then they provide a plan that will let you track your progress as you improve, helping you achieve your tasks and do things you want and need to do in an easier and less painful way.

When you see an occupational therapist, you’ll get:

¨ One-on-one time to evaluate your personal goals and needs

¨ Set goals tailored to your needs and unique conditions, helping you improve your ability to perform daily tasks and activities

¨ An outcome evaluation to review your progress, make sure you’re meeting your goals or make any adjustments needed to continue your progress

Overall, occupational therapists look for ways to adapt the environment to fit your needs so that you can feel as comfortable as possible and go about your day.

When should I see an occupational physician?

If getting through everyday activities is painful or frustrating, seeking an occupational physician can go a long way.

Not only does occupational therapy help you recover from injury, motor, and regain skills, but it’ll give you the support you need as you move through your program.

Does my child need occupational therapy?

If your child has a disability that makes it hard for them to participate fully in school and social activities, an occupational physician can make a difference.

An occupational physician will work with your child and help them develop:

¨ Fine motor skills—The ability to make movements using the small muscles in the hands and wrists. Like holding a pencil, using scissors, or buttoning up a shirt.

¨ Gross motor skills—It’s the ability to do tasks that involve whole-body movement (like running or sweeping) that use large muscles in the torso, arms, and legs. It impacts balance, coordination, body awareness, reaction time, and physical strength. 

¨ Motor planning—It’s the ability to execute movement and allows you to learn, remember, and perform the small steps in tasks like brushing your teeth or getting dressed in the morning. 

As your child progresses through their treatment, it can boost their self-esteem and help them gain confidence in themselves. That’s because they’ll be able to perform basic tasks like developing a self-care routine, keeping up with schoolwork, and better interact in social activities.

Your child can get free occupational therapy at school, and it will likely focus on school-related tasks and activities. Private therapy will provide a strategy to help your child develop and strengthen skills to help them perform at-home tasks and other activities they enjoy.

If you’re in the Ohio area, come to PrimeMD. Whether you need primary care, vision screening, or vaccines, get a checkup at any one of our primary locations.

Find your nearest location—we’re here for you.

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