Physical & Occupational Therapy
Physical therapy is one of the foremost necessary treatment modes of recovery for back pain. A referral to physiotherapy sometimes is created by your spine surgeon. A physical therapist is a well-trained, skilled health care professional who facilitates improving movement and manages the pain by safe stretching, conditioning, and strengthening exercise techniques. Patients are guided concerning the fundamental anatomy of the body and their mechanism of action. They are also instructed about the varied exercise regimens to extend the activity level thereby strengthening the muscles. Most patients manage low back pain and associated symptoms with therapy and medications without surgical intervention.
The different modalities of physical therapy include hot or cold packs, ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, spinal manipulation, diathermy, massage, and aqua therapy. These treatment options may be indicated depending on the type and severity of pain.
People susceptible to back pain should avoid activities that exert excessive stress on the lower back or twisting movements like in sports activities and weight lifting. The two different forms of physical therapy include:
- Active physical therapy includes physical exercise or stretching, whereby the patient uses their own force to reduce back pain.
- Passive physical therapy is where the modalities are done to the patient by the therapist.
A physical therapist tailors a particular exercise program per the individual necessities and goals.
What are the expectations from physical therapy?
Your first visit will be an initial evaluation. Your therapist will ask history about the present problem followed by a physical examination. You may be asked to walk around or asked to sit or stand to measure the movements (range of motion) and strength. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms and what factors worsen or diminish your pain levels as this helps the therapist to determine the nature of your problem and to determine your special care and focus.
Initial evaluation also includes postural assessment which helps to determine a specific treatment plan for the patient. Make sure to ask questions of your therapist if you are unsure of any of the instructions for your particular treatment plan.
What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy (OT) is a health profession which promotes health and wellbeing by helping people to engage in daily activities and their profession. Occupational therapy is a type of rehabilitation therapy recommended for patients with conditions affecting the upper and lower extremities. The main goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life.
What is the role of an occupational therapist?
Occupational therapists, also called OT’s, are individuals who are trained in the practice of occupational therapy. The role of an occupational therapist is to work with individuals who suffer from mental, physical, developmental, social or emotional disabilities and improve their ability to perform daily activities. This is accomplished through training, exercise, education, and home modifications to encourage an independent lifestyle.
Occupational therapists work in the following settings:
- Private practice
- Special schools
- Rehabilitation centers
- Mental health facilities
Who needs occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy can benefit almost every individual having any of the below mentioned conditions:
- Work related injuries including lower back problems
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractures or other injuries from sports or accidents
- Mental health or behavioral problems and learning disabilities
- Limitations following a stroke or heart attack
- Wound scars and burns
- Birth injuries or birth defects
- Injured nerves
- Post surgical conditions
What is the need for occupational therapy in children?
Occupational therapy is for both adults and children. Occupational therapists evaluate skills in children for playing, functioning in school, and performing daily activities and develop a customized plan for intervention to meet specific goals. Occupational therapy helps children develop fine motor skills and educates family members about safe and effective methods to care for their child. Occupational therapists work with individuals suffering from various conditions including birth defects, orthopedic injuries, and mental health or behavioral problems. Occupational therapy can help improve a child’s cognitive and physical abilities while enhancing their self- esteem and sense of accomplishment. Occupational therapists help to improve a child’s development and performance and allow children to regain function.
Occupational therapists help children with:
- Severe developmental delays
- Behavioral disorders
- Physical disabilities
Certified Hand Therapist
Who is a Certified Hand Therapist?
Certified Hand Therapists (CHTs) are occupational therapists (OTs) or physical therapists (PTs) who have received additional training and certification in rehabilitation of hand, wrist, and upper arm. CHTs have a minimum of five years of clinical experience, with 4,000 hours or more particularly in hand therapy.
What is Hand Therapy?
Hand Therapy is a rehabilitation technique recommended to improve the strength and restore functional activity of hands in patients with upper extremity injuries. Hand therapy also helps in preventing the injury.
Hand therapy, based on the rehabilitation program or preventive therapy, will be initiated within few days of the injury or surgery and continued until the patient restores to normal activities.
Rehabilitative hand therapy aims at minimizing swelling and managing sensitive scars whereas preventive therapy is recommended for minimizing pain, decreasing repetitive firing of sensual impulses in injured nerve, improving motion and strength, preventing or correcting injury using specially designed splints, teaching to cope with pain and new techniques for performing regular activities, and ensuring complete recovery.
Hand therapists also help in modifying the work stations and developing appropriate training programs so as to minimize injuries at work places.
Hand therapy is recommended in various conditions:
- Trauma: Accidents or trauma, burns, injured tendons or nerves, fractures, and amputations of fingers, hands or arms.
- Sports injuries: Carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow
- Disease conditions: Arthritis, and neurological conditions (stroke)
Hand therapists services can be availed in different settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private clinics, sports medicine centers, and industrial medicine centers.