Disabilities can occur due to injuries, infections, or old age. Whatever the reason, the person has limited movement and suffers from pain and stiffness during this period. In addition to surgery and antibiotics, occupational therapy (OT) helps the patient immensely by providing complete rehabilitation and to help recover completely. Many who do not respond well to medications have benefited from occupational therapy and have had complete functional recovery. The occupational therapist helps patients to improve and maintain skills so they can perform their daily chores on their own.
The benefits of occupational therapy are too many and would depend on the setting in which it is used:
- In the elderly: With age, general movement is reduced and OT can help improve overall movement and quality of life, thereby enabling them to lead more independent lives.
- In mentally disabled: Occupational therapists work with people with emotional and mental limitations and teach them the necessary skills to be able to perform their functions in society. This can even enable them to take up a job and lead healthy, positive relationships.
- In physically disabled: OT can help them teach to perform their chores and socialize at school and home. There is a great deal of facilitating age-appropriate social interactions, thereby improving the chances of social acceptance of the affected individual.
No matter what setting Occupational Therapy is used in, the following are definitely some benefits:
- Improves range of motion: The person undergoing OT will see better movement of the affected parts, especially in old age where some joints are more involved than others.
- Increases mobility in injured or disabled patients: Disability or injury can lead to reduced mobility and OT can significantly improve this.
- Helps the body heal naturally: The body is not being subjected to any external chemical, and only natural movements and exercises are done, which is beneficial for the person.
- May reduce or eliminate muscle spasms: Pain and disability can lead to reduced mobility, which can cause muscle spasm. OT can help reduce and in some cases completely reverse the muscles spasms that may have set in. Can be supplemented with thermal modalities and treatment to reduce pain: Adding heat packs and moist heat to the regimen will produce better results.
- Treatment is customized for the individual: Each person is different with the cause and the effect of disability. The therapist will customize the program based on the person's needs and therefore will benefit the patient.
- Can boost self-esteem and promote feeling of well-being: The mere thought of being independent gives a big moral boost to the affected person, thereby improving quality of life.
Occupational therapy forms a part of the holistic regimen and can, therefore be integrated along with physical therapy to reap benefits.