What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is a vast, progressive field of study that collectively aims at assisting those who struggle with going about their daily chores, at home or at work, or leisure activities, because of illness or disability.
Some occupational therapists (OTs) have specialist knowledge in dealing with difficulties caused by arthritis and related conditions, because the quality and condition of our joints and bones has a massive bearing on our quality of life. Occupational therapists work in tandem with the patients to devise tailored solution that minimizes pain and maximize comfort.
Occupational therapy can often be a long-term commitment, because most patients need support throughout their lifespans, backed by the scientific mettle of clinical therapy. Occupational therapy practitioners are the modern-day alchemists who enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent — or live better with — injury, illness, or disability.
Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities in honing their social skills, recover from injuries, and providing support for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes, which might lead to them experiencing alienation, if not tended to.
Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, and the set and the setting of the therapy becomes an integral part of the overall experience. Being an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science, it is known to create long-term health equity for patients.
Occupational therapy can help you to manage your arthritis in a number of ways.
Occupational therapists can offer you:
- Advice on using your joints without straining them (joint protection)
- Splints to support your joints while working or resting
- Recommendations on gadgets and equipment to help you with tasks at home and work
- Exercises to improve hand and wrist movements and grip
- Advice on planning and balancing daily activities with rest to reduce tiredness
- Help and advice on driving and mobility problems
- Relaxation techniques
- Help and advice on coping with physical and emotional changes
When You Should See an Occupational Therapist:
Right after your arthritis diagnosis is a good time to see an occupational therapist. Even if a certain amount of time has lapsed following diagnosis, it’s never too late to get an OT’s help. Many people with arthritis seek the expertise of an OT when they realise that arthritis is curbing their ability to perform simple tasks. The earlier you seek help upon self-diagnosis, the better it is.
Gadgets and equipment:
A huge range of gadgets – from chunky-grip pens to vegetable peelers – can be recommended to you by occupational therapists to serve as able companions in your journey. From small and handy tools like kettle-tippers to sanitary modifications like special bath seats, raised toilet seats and custom stairlifts, many lifestyle adjustments can be made.
What to Expect From Your First Occupational Therapy Visit:
The first visit with an arthritis patient typically involves learning what activities they engage in, which is mapped by studying their daily routine, followed by a physical exam. Following this, a planner is made, to serve as a long-term recovery aid for the patient. The planner aims at tackling cognitive problems as well as physical problems, by providing clinical solutions and assistive modification suggestions to enhance the overall life quotient for the patient.
The long-term goal is to improve life skills, motor planning, enhance motor training capabilities and fine motor skills, resolve functional deficiencies and other sensorial problems, improve daily living and working skills, amongst other key transformations. To lead to successful rehabilitation and enable the patient to live independently.
What to Expect During Ongoing Occupational Therapy:
The plan could include custom-fitting splints or supports that can ease stress on painful joints and help prevent deformity. Occupational therapists also train patients on adapting themselves to perform tasks with the assistance of special devices. Assistive devices greatly help reduce stress and pain, while increasing range of motion, flexibility and strength. Functional activities, like turning doorknobs, are made easier with their help.
The return of strength, balance, and the restoration of the full range of motion to the joints is crucial when one rehabilitates fromelbow injuries, wrist injuries, hand injuries, shoulder injuries, which lead to sensory processing disorders, sensory processing issues, and other impairments upon occurrence. The prevalence of arthritis can compound matters, which is where Occupational Therapy gains heightened significance.
Keep in consideration that arthritis is a chronic disease, which changes and persists over time, occupational therapy is a good option for anyone with arthritis or related conditions interested in learning how to handle everyday tasks that are becoming increasingly challenging with each passing day.
If the early onset of arthritis is a concern for you, a consultation with an experienced Occupational Therapist can pry open the doors of wellness for you.