Have you noticed that at the end of the day, you have pain and stiffness? Are you experiencing tingling, numbness or weakness of the fingers/hand? These are just some of the indications that you may be experiencing a work related musculoskeletal disorder or repetitive strain injury.
Contributing factors to a repetitive strain injury can include:-
Ergonomics can be defined as the design and arranging of things people use so that their interaction maximises safety and efficiency.
In other words, the environment must suit the worker and not the worker suit the environment.
The OTs role is to highlight areas of your work station or your practice that could be the cause of your symptoms. Whether you work at a computer, cash register, in an automotive shop, on an assembly line, operating heavy duty equipment etc having the correct set up of your work station and employing sound practices will have you working safer.
Image from: safety and Risk Services – Ergonomic Guidelines
If you are already experiencing back and neck pain your doctor may refer you for Back School where you will be instructed in managing your pain as you learn:-
April 30, 2016 By Fleur Minott Nembhard
So, you’ve suffered an injury or illness and you have a referral to see the Occupational Therapist, what should you expect and what are the therapist’s expectations of you?
Your first visit will be an evaluation and during this period, you will be asked several questions as well as undergo a series of tests to determine your current level of function. Any information from your referral source, along with the results of the assessments, will be used to establish a baseline of your condition. If you are unable to communicate, questions will be asked of the family member/caregiver accompanying you.
From this baseline, a treatment plan and goals are established.
During this initial session you can expect a summary of the findings to be discussed with you and a plan of treatment explained. Depending on the nature of your complaint, you may:
In addition to the management by the occupational therapist, the success of your treatment will also depend on 6 tasks which you (and your carer) have to fulfill. These are your Occupational Therapist’s expectations of you:
Practice does make perfect! Your consistent performance of your home programme will be essential to the success of your therapy. Your therapy visits while important, are not the only keys to success. You have a responsibility to yourself to follow your programme. Remember- Repetition equals Retention.
Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Compare what you can do today that you couldn’t last week or last month. Baby steps….small increments
Your condition is NOT your conclusion, don’t loose heart, just keep working, working, working
4. Remain POSITIVE
Your psychological status will be very important in the outcome of your condition, it’s going to drive you to try harder even when your progress may appear slow. Surround yourself with activities and persons that will have a constructive influence on you. Seek support if you need it. Encouragement goes a long way
5. PUSH yourself!
While pain is the body’s language that tells us something is wrong and we respect it, there are times when pain is gain. Your occupational therapist will guide you with ways to manage your pain and there will be times when you will be encouraged to PUSH through.
6. PERFORMANCE of Everyday Activities
Performing everyday activities provides opportunities for practice and skill development in areas that you may have deficits. Even if you can’t complete a task, do what you can. Don’t be a spectator……….Get back into this game called LIFE!
April 30, 2016 By Fleur Minott Nembhard
So I’m often asked, What is Occupational therapy? ….. Do you teach people how to work?
… And I often use the phrase- “……it’s the functional side of rehabilitation” Of course it’s a lot more than that, and our sister rehabilitation specialties also influence function BUT, it’s a start to the dialogue. Often at the end of this conversation I’ve educated someone that comprehensive rehabilitation is not just about being able to walk!
Occupational Therapy is founded on the belief that man is an occupational being…..he is always doing – doing for himself- doing for his work/play- doing for others and as such there are roles that we are always playing.
Sometimes an injury or illness prevents us from performing those roles. The Occupational Therapist’s role is to assist clients in determining how they can restore or develop new occupational roles that will be of value within the family and the community in which they live or work.
Occupational Therapy seeks to bring balance into the situations surrounding people’s lives e.g. through coaching. Sometimes it is a preventative action to avoid loss of function.
Occupational therapy therefore addresses the ‘SKILLS FOR THE JOB OF LIVING’, from moving in bed, getting out of bed, moving to a wheel chair/ tub/toilet or car as well as bathing, dressing, feeding, writing, using your computer or phone, meal preparation and working. Simultaneously, the OT addresses all the component skills in between including balance, strength, fine motor skills. Along with those skills, we are also looking at the cognitive skills such as memory, concentration, attention, problem solving, multi-tasking etc. which are the foundation of being able to perform these living job skills.
In addition to working with our clients to achieve their goals, Occupational Therapists are always advocates for the disabled while offering support to their caregivers and families. We encourage accessibility by making recommendations for safety equipment, as well as providing recommendations for maintaining a balance in one’s life. Moreover, we assess work places for possible ergonomic challenges, teaching energy conservation and work simplification strategies along with the use of good body mechanics. Hence, the services of an Occupational Therapist are always needed.
Education is a large component of our service. From making recommendations to encourage you how to take charge of your back, your arthritis, your stress, your stroke, your anger, your posture, your fracture, your pain, your depression, we are always coaching.
So even though we don’t teach someone how to walk our clients may do a lot of moving in the clinic as we Empower and Inspire them to Achieve to the best of their ability, and be able to LIVE LIFE TO ITS FULLEST!