Consider OT

Consider OT

In occupational therapy (OT), you adapt work, home duties, and hobbies so you can do them despite pain or mobility issues -- and keep your independence. Take some time to learn about OT, how to get it, and what it might do for you.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Migraine, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Fibromyalgia, Nerve Pain, Undiagnosed

Symptoms: Pain when standing, pain when turning head, pain with movement, difficulty moving neck, difficulty sitting down, difficulty standing up, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, arm numbness, leg numbness, anxiety, communication problems, pain, wrist pain, muscle pain, pain, pinched nerve, tender points, TMJ, difficulty sleeping, stiffness, nerve pain, face pain

Triggers: heavy lifting, housework, repetitive motions, desk work, standing too long, using machinery, workplace injury, gardening, overdoing it, driving a long time, overuse, poor posture, sitting too long, stress, tension, fatigue

Treatments: physical therapy, ergonomic improvements, assistive devices, counseling,

Categories: Treatment

Duration

14

How OT Works

Occupational therapy can be a key way of managing chronic pain and stress. OT can:

* Help you identify physical and emotional issues that make pain worse at home, work, or school

* Give you workarounds to make tasks easier to accomplish -- from personal care to housework to hobbies

* Decrease the intensity of your pain -- and maybe lower the amount of pain meds you need

* Teach your family and friends how they can help

Prompt: Why OT?

CTA: Ease stress and pain at home and work.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Migraine, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Fibromyalgia, Nerve Pain, Undiagnosed

Symptoms: pain when standing, pain when turning head, pain with movement, difficulty moving neck, difficulty sitting down, difficulty standing up, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, arm numbness, leg numbness, anxiety, depression, low self esteem, communication problems, memory problems, muscle pain, knee pain, lower back pain, neck pain, wrist pain, pain, pinched nerve, tender points, nerve pain

Triggers: heavy lifting, housework, repetitive motions, desk work, standing too long, using machinery, workplace injury, gardening, overdoing it, driving a long time, overuse, poor posture, sitting too long, stress, tension, fatigue

Treatments: physical therapy, ergonomic improvements, assistive devices, counseling,

Categories: Treatment

How OT Helps

Chronic pain can raise a lot of roadblocks. OT can help you get around them. An occupational therapist may visit your home to identify practical changes like these that may help:

* Replace doorknobs with handles that are easier to open

* Raise toilet seats if bending hurts

* Use gadgets to help you dress, such as long-handled shoe horns, buttoners, and sock-pullers

* Add bars or rails in the bathroom to hold for more stability

Prompt: Is each day painful?

CTA: Use OT for help.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Migraine, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Fibromyalgia, Nerve Pain, Undiagnosed

Symptoms: pain when standing, pain when turning head, pain with movement, difficulty moving neck, difficulty sitting down, difficulty standing up, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, arm numbness, leg numbness, anxiety, communication problems, muscle pain, knee pain, lower back pain, neck pain, wrist pain, pain, pinched nerve, tender points

Triggers: heavy lifting, housework, repetitive motions, desk work, standing too long, using machinery, workplace injury ,  gardening, overdoing it, driving a long time, overuse, poor posture, sitting too long, stress, tension, fatigue

Treatments: physical therapy, ergonomic improvements, assistive devices, counseling,

Categories: Treatment

OT Reduces Stress

Occupational therapists (OTs) don't only focus on your pain, they also look at you as a whole person. They help with your mind as well as your body.

OT often involves relaxation techniques to help reduce stress and pain. These tools can help you focus your mind on something besides your pain, and that can make a big difference in how you feel.

Prompt: Feeling down?

CTA: OT can help you cope.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Migraine, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Fibromyalgia, Nerve Pain, Undiagnosed

Symptoms: anxiety, depression, irritability, low self-esteem, mood changes, nervousness, restlessness, pain, pain when standing, pain when turning head, pain with movement, difficulty moving neck, difficulty sitting down, difficulty standing up, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, arm numbness, leg numbness, anxiety, communication problems, muscle pain, knee pain, lower back pain, neck pain, wrist pain, pinched nerve, tender points,

Triggers: anxiety, stress, sadness, strong emotions, anger, tension

Treatments: physical therapy, ergonomic improvements, assistive devices, counseling,

Categories: Treatment

OT Builds Confidence

Chronic pain can make you feel overwhelmed and powerless. OT helps you learn ways to manage life despite your pain. And that can help you regain confidence and independence.

An occupational therapist may help you break down seemingly impossible tasks into simple, doable steps. Learning how to better manage your day can actually reduce your pain.

What's more, taking an active role in your treatment may -- in itself -- help you feel better and more optimistic.

Prompt: Feeling powerless?

CTA: OT can help.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Migraine, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Fibromyalgia, Nerve Pain, Undiagnosed

Symptoms: anxiety, depression, irritability, low self-esteem, mood changes, nervousness, restlessness, pain, pain when standing, pain when turning head, pain with movement, difficulty moving neck, difficulty sitting down, difficulty standing up, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, arm numbness, leg numbness, anxiety, communication problems, muscle pain, knee pain, lower back pain, neck pain, wrist pain, pinched nerve, tender points

Triggers: anxiety, stress, sadness, strong emotions, anger, tension

Treatments: physical therapy, ergonomic improvements, assistive devices, counseling,

Categories: Treatment

PT vs. OT

Confused about the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy?

Physical therapy (PT) helps you regain mobility and move around with the use of targeted exercises. Occupational therapy (OT) helps you maintain functionality, from keeping your job or taking care of your kids to opening cans or zipping zippers. It helps you work around your pain and keep your independence.

OT and PT aren't exclusive. Getting both may help you the most.

Prompt: PT and OT.

CTA: What's the difference?

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Migraine, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Fibromyalgia, Nerve Pain, Undiagnosed

Symptoms: pain when standing, pain when turning head, pain with movement, difficulty moving neck, difficulty sitting down, difficulty standing up, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, arm numbness, leg numbness, anxiety, communication problems, muscle pain, knee pain, lower back pain, neck pain, wrist pain, tender points, pinched nerve

Triggers: heavy lifting, housework, repetitive motions, desk work, standing too long, using machinery, workplace injury ,  gardening, overdoing it, driving a long time, overuse, poor posture, sitting too long, stress, tension, fatigue

Treatments: physical therapy, ergonomic improvements, assistive devices, counseling, occupational therapy

Categories: Treatment

Finding OT

If pain interferes with your days, look into OT.

* To find an occupational therapist: Ask your doctor, call a local hospital or medical center, or contact the American Occupational Therapy Association.

* Make sure your insurance will cover OT.  Most do. Also ask how many sessions will be covered.

* How often you need OT depends on your needs. Many people get OT once a week. Some only need a few sessions; others benefit from long-term OT.

Prompt: How to get OT.

CTA: Ask for a referral.

Conditions: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Migraine, Back Pain, Neck Pain, Fibromyalgia, Nerve Pain, Undiagnosed

Symptoms: pain when standing, pain when turning head, pain with movement, difficulty moving neck, difficulty sitting down, difficulty standing up, difficulty walking, reduced joint movement, arm numbness, leg numbness, anxiety, communication problems, pain, muscle pain, knee pain, lower back pain, neck pain, wrist pain, tender points, pinched nerve

Triggers:  heavy lifting, housework, repetitive motions, desk work, standing too long, using machinery, workplace injury, gardening, overdoing it, driving a long time, overuse, poor posture, sitting too long, stress, tension, fatigue

Treatments: physical therapy, ergonomic improvements, assistive devices, counseling, occupational therapy

Categories: Treatment

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on January 22, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

American Occupational Therapy Organization: "What Is Occupational Therapy?" "Chronic Pain," "Living Life to Its Fullest: Managing Chronic Pain with Occupational Therapy."

International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).

Arthritis Today: "Opening Medicine Bottles with Ease," "Self-Help Arthritis Devices."

Johns Hopkins Health Alert: "Arthritis Household Helpers."

Cleveland Clinic: "Occupational and Physical Therapy for Arthritis."

University of Washington Medicine: "Frequently Asked Questions About Living With Arthritis."

University Hospitals Birmingham: "Living With Arthritis."

Minnesota Department of Health: "Self Help Tools for Arthritis Work for Us All."

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