How Occupational Therapy is Beneficial to Patients Recovering from Injury
People often confuse traditional physical therapy with occupational therapy when, in reality, the techniques have fundamental differences. Occupational therapy is a unique treatment method that allows patients to reap numerous health benefits, but it strays from what many perceive to be traditional medical practice. Here is a brief Q&A to help you better understand it:
What is occupational therapy?
The therapeutic use of work, self-care, and play activities to increase development and prevent disability. It may include adaptation of specific tasks or environments to achieve maximum independence and to enhance the quality of life.
How does occupational therapy differ from traditional physical therapy?
- Physical therapy seeks to directly treat a specific injury through a reactionary process, while occupational therapy deals with injury in a more holistic fashion, seeking to heal the mind and spirit as well as your physical aillment.
Who is eligible?
If, at any point in your life (whether present at birth or onset at a later time), illness, injury or disability prevents you from effectively functioning independently, occupational therapy can intervene to help you regain and maintain a healthy level of functional activity. A therapist can work with you on everything from physical disabilities to metal disorders.
So, how does it work?
Suppose you are a patient with limitations in upper extremity strength and range of motion. A physical therapist may instruct you to preform arm exercises, bike, or repetitively lift weights over your head. However, occupational therapists take a different approach. For example, if you enjoy playing basketball, they may have you increase your strength, range of motion and regain function by engaging your natural passion playing basketball. Monitoring your activity, a therapist would gradually increase the weight of the ball or height of the basket. These exercises would allow you to regain function while doing something you enjoy, which motivates you to strive for your maximum potential.
What are the benefits?
Occupational therapists are devoted to educating you about your condition as they teach you therapeutic methods and physical techniques to help you improve. Using occupational therapy can help you increase or maintain mobility, while also elevating your mood state, and contributing to a higher quality of life. It goes beyond healing the surface level symptoms through engaging the whole person- body, mind, and spirit.