Occupational therapy is treatment to help people live as independently as
Occupational therapists work with people of all ages
who, because of illness, injury, developmental delays, or psychological
problems, need assistance in learning skills to help them lead independent,
productive, and satisfying lives. Occupational therapists use work, self-care,
and recreational activities to increase independent function.
The back pain may seem like arthritis or the aches and pains of aging. People often think it's a disc problem or muscle strain. Many people don't even get examined because either they -- or their family members -- don't realize what the problem is. But often back pain among older adults is caused by a spinal compression fracture.
Only your doctor can diagnose a spinal compression fracture. To determine what's wrong, your doctor may ask questions such as:
How long have you had the back pain?
Assistance and training in performing daily
activities. Depending on your needs, these could be:
Personal care activities. Two examples are dressing
Home skills. Some examples are housekeeping, gardening, and
Personal management skills. Two examples are balancing a checkbook
and keeping a schedule.
Skills important in driving a car or other
motor vehicle. Occupational therapy may be involved in the vision, thinking,
and judgment skills needed for driving. It also may involve finding out whether
special adaptations such as hand brakes are needed.
Physical exercises, to increase good posture and
joint motion as well as overall strength and
Instruction in protecting your joints and conserving
Evaluation of your daily living needs and assessment
of your home and work environments. Your occupational therapist may recommend changes in those
environments that may help you continue your
Assessment and training in the use of
assistive devices. Examples are special key-holders for
people who have stiff hands, computer-aided adaptive equipment, and
Fitting splints or braces.
family members and caregivers.
Examples of the many different conditions and situations in
which occupational therapy can help are:
Mental and physical impairments a person has
had since birth.
Recovery and return to work after a work-related
Sudden serious health conditions such as a stroke, heart
attack, brain injury, or amputation.
Chronic (ongoing) conditions,
such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Learning disabilities or developmental
Mental health or behavioral issues such as
Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, and eating