Throughout the day, we use specific muscles to complete tasks like brushing our teeth, writing, and walking. Specific careers and hobbies, like playing sports, painting, or cooking, may require even more specific movement. We can take these movements for granted because we sometimes need to understand how movement can impact our overall health. Occupational therapy can help us understand how our body works and how we can use specific movements and massage therapies to improve our mobility and ensure we can perform these daily tasks for the rest of our lives.
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy is a holistic medical practice that considers how the body moves in relation to the tasks you are completing and your body’s capabilities. As a holistic practice, it also focuses on treating your body and mind as a whole. Where other types of treatment may focus on individual symptoms, like pain or muscle tightness, occupational therapy considers how each muscle group may impact another, affecting your overall comfort.
Everyone uses movement throughout their day. Understanding how movement impacts their health and how they can perform their tasks more efficiently and comfortably is a benefit anyone can receive from occupational therapy.
Occupational therapists are trained professionals who are licensed to practice occupational therapy. They attend specialized graduate schools. They learn about mental health and how to educate their patients on the best practices to protect and strengthen their minds and bodies for the best long-term overall health. OT programs cover information about muscle groupings and how specific exercises can strengthen your body. These skills can be widely applied, benefiting everyone who may work with an occupational therapist.
Occupational therapist specialties
These are some common specialties for occupational therapists:
- Gerontology: Gerontology refers to the study of aging. This specialty focuses on patients experiencing pain or difficulty due to their age. Everyone may eventually have use for an OT with this specialty.
- Mental Health: OTs can also focus on the mental health aspect of injury rehabilitation or disability management.
- Pediatrics: Pediatrics focus on OT for children. Young and growing bodies may need different treatment than a fully adult or aging person would, so pediatric OTs are essential for ensuring everyone who needs therapy can receive the right kind of treatment.
- Physical Rehabilitation: When many think about OT, they typically think of rehabilitation. This is the type of treatment you may receive if you’ve been in an accident or sustained an injury that impacts your mobility. You can work with an OT to regain total usage of your injured body parts.
- Driving and Community Mobility: Some injuries or disabilities can make specific tasks more difficult, like driving. Driving and community mobility specialists can help ensure that their patients have the mobility and independence they need to improve their quality of life.
- Environmental Modification: Not all solutions are within your body, and an Environmental Modification specialist can help you find orthotics that improve mobility and reduce pain.
- Feeding, Eating and Swallowing: Small essential actions like eating involve muscle groups, and understanding how to use them and how to retrain patients in using them can be a life-saving OT specialty.
Benefits of OT that anyone can utilize
Because everyone utilizes movement in their daily lives, OT teaches techniques and skills that could be useful to anyone.
One of the most considerable benefits of receiving occupational therapy is learning how to move your body. It helps you utilize muscle groups in ways that a least likely to result in pain or injury. Many occupational therapists help retrain your body to perform movements in less painful ways. They also find new ways of completing tasks that don’t risk injury. Preventing pain or injury in this way can help ensure your long-term health and happiness.
For example, if you want to be a rock climber, but feel pain in your wrist, they can teach you grip strength training exercises using a grip strength trainer or a hand grip strengthener to take the pressure off your wrist and improve your ability to rock climb.
Occupational therapy is also a common therapy for people rehabilitating an injury. Sometimes, after surgery, the patient’s doctor can refer them to an OT to help them monitor their healing process. They can help you relearn how to use your muscles and ensure you aren’t re-injuring them. An OT may help someone relearn to walk or improve their fine motor skills using therapy putty.
Body mechanics education
Body mechanics refers to how we move and use our bodies throughout the day. This includes some unconscious activities, like sitting, standing, lifting, carrying things, bending, and sleeping. Their understanding of how bodies work, including your nervous system and muscle groups, can help anyone improve their body mechanics. Understanding body mechanics can help you improve your skills if you are an athlete. It can help you prevent injury, but it can also improve your efficiency. It can also help you monitor your health in the future.
At Living Well Balanced, we offer a wide range of fitness and physical health services from caring and experienced professionals. We provide personal training and physical, occupational, and nutritional therapy to assist our clients in their health and wellness management. You can make an appointment with one of our occupational therapists to learn how they can benefit your treatment plan for injury recovery or prevention and chronic pain. If you have any questions, you can always give us a call at 212-579-2858 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out our blog for more information about alternative therapies.