Living with Chronic Pain

The Role of an Occupational Therapist

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An OT is an occupational therapist. Part of their job is to help you with your everyday tasks and activities that you can no longer do on your own. This could be due to an injury, illness

or from a chronic illness. The goal should always be about making you aware of alternative ways so that you can maintain your independence.

Your first appointment with your occupational therapist will be about what you can and can't do, whether that be at home or your place of employment. They will assess your abilities and suggest changes to make things easier for you.

Once they have assessed you in your environment, they will help you set goals to achieve new ways to do things making you feel more in control of your life.

If you have difficulties with range of motion, coordination or fine motor skills, your occupational therapist can show you assistive devices that may help with your everyday activities.

Some of those devices they may show you are:

- Wheelchairs, canes, walkers

- Jar openers

- Raised toilet seats

- A seated bench for the bathtub

- Grab bars to help you on and off the toilet or in the shower or bathtub so you don't hurt yourself

- A grabber device to pick up things on the floor

- Visual aids such as magnifying eye glasses

A great way to exercise and not hurt yourself is swimming, so try water aerobics, water walking and water weights, you will be surprised at how good you feel in the water as you don't feel pain and you are weightless in the water.

If you have a chronic illness such as MS, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, you may require help with your basic daily needs such as:

- Showering

- Getting dressed

- Cleaning your home

- Going out

- Laundry

- Cooking

- Exercises to strengthen your muscles and fine motor skills

Learning how to prioritize and most importantly showing you how to conserve your energy should be a prerogative for your OT. Occupational Therapists are there to make sure you can function better with the tools you need. OTs should help you in finding new alternative ways to make your life easier which will also build your self esteem and confidence.

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