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What is Occupational Therapy

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The Science of Returning to Normal

The first thing everyone recovering from a severe illness, injury, or surgery wants to do is to get back to their normal routine. The first thing every kid in school with a disability wants to do is join in the same activities as their friends. Occupational therapy can be the way groups of people like these achieve fulfillment. Usually abbreviated OT, occupational therapy is the field of healthcare that aims to help pediatric and adult patients better participate in their everyday work, education, and leisure.

Everyone knows that serious medical problems don't have an instant cure. Even if a course of treatment is a complete success, and the injury or disease is expected to heal quickly and fully, the patient still needs to rehabilitate. Occupational therapy is a crucial part of this, because it can let people go back to their daily lives. When other needed therapies are part of a normal routine, they're easier to receive and more effective. Therefore, OT is not only helpful on its own – it also supports other types of treatment. JAG PT incorporates our occupational therapy department as part of a comprehensive set of physical rehab services.

Who Needs Occupational Therapy?

People of all ages can benefit from occupational therapy as part of a medical treatment plan. At JAG PT, we know every case is different, and every person has specific needs and wants from their course of occupational therapy. We take differing approaches to OT for adults and OT for children.

Occupational Therapy for Adults

Adult patients may need help regaining their motor skills during recovery from a period of ill-health. Some people need to redevelop their ability to dress, cook, clean, and wash up – basic activities that are essential for our dignity and independence. Others may use occupational therapy to relearn tasks related to their jobs and hobbies. Adults who have chronic pain conditions can benefit from occupational therapy in order to approach daily activities in different, adaptive ways. Even patients with similar backgrounds who undergo similar medical events may have a wide spectrum of needs. That is why JAG Physical Therapy's occupational therapists focus on individualized roadmaps to recovery, patient education, and a holistic outlook.

Occupational Therapy for Children

Children who go through medical emergencies or have physical or developmental disabilities can also be helped greatly through occupational therapy. Occupational therapy for children focuses on helping kids better handle their schoolwork, activities at home, playing, and interacting with peers. JAG PT's occupational therapists understand that kids want to be kids – we use a variety of strategies to help our child patients thrive at home and school. JAG PT's pediatric programs aid with motor skill development, mental and concentration techniques, access to specialized therapeutic equipment when needed, and keeping patients and their parents or guardians informed.

What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?

Our lives all consist of “occupations” – a word that doesn't just mean a career. Occupations are all the things we do with our time. An occupational therapist's job is to help people with medical conditions engage in the occupations they want and need to do.

How is Occupational Therapy Different Than Physical Therapy?

An occupational therapist is different from a physical therapist because an OT's job involves learning or relearning activities, while a PT treats a specific ailment or injury that is holding a person back physically. These medical fields overlap significantly, because the conditions that physical therapy treats are often barriers to the occupations that occupational therapy aims to restore. At JAG Physical Therapy, our occupational therapy and physical therapy specialties all work in concert. Our large network and wide array of resources allow us to offer highly collaborative treatment. We stand out by giving our patients every rehabilitation service and specialty they need in one place.

Occupational therapists are trained in a wide variety of treatments. They assess a patient's needs by thoroughly reviewing their medical history and then asking them questions and observing them. Occupational therapists may also demonstrate exercises that a patient needs to improve their condition over time and show them how to use adaptive equipment. They teach other methods to cope with recovery or a long-term medical condition, and can recommend changes to a patient's home, work, or school life that will make their overall outlook better.

What Conditions Can Occupational Therapy Treat?

Occupational therapy is a broad discipline with many applications. As noted, all types of people can be in medical situations that benefit from OT. It can be helpful for chronic conditions such as scoliosis through changes in posture in body mechanics, or returning to the field after a sports injury through safely relearning the maneuvers of the game. Occupational therapy is also a key part of post-operative rehab. While these are major use case for OT, there are many more possibilities where occupational therapy can be a major help.

Find a JAG PT location in your area that offers occupational therapy, learn more about the techniques of OT, or contact us!

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