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Your Questions, Answered! Let’s Talk About Occupational Therapy

Hi! My name is Cynthia Boccia and I am the Occupational Therapy Director at Access. April is OT month and I would like to answer some common patient questions about OT to give you a better understanding of the profession and its benefits.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a health profession that helps people of all ages do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities otherwise known as occupations. OT practitioners enable people to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and either prevent or live better with their injury, illness, or disability.

What conditions do Occupational Therapists treat?

At Access, our occupational therapists specialize in the treatment of  upper extremity (UE) injuries related to the hand, wrist or elbow. Common conditions seen by OT practitioners include fractures of the hand, wrist or elbow, lacerations, amputations, burns, and surgical repairs of tendons and nerves. Acquired conditions such as tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome also are treated by occupational therapy practitioners specializing in hand rehabilitation.

How long is a typical treatment session?

Our sessions run from 45 minutes to an hour long depending on our client’s needs.

What types of tools or techniques are used during a session?

IASTM for hand - occupational therapyOT sessions typically begin with the use of paraffin, hot packs, or ultrasound to prepare the site for occupation-based activities (therapeutic exercises and everyday activities). Additionally, therapists implement the use of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) which has become the growing trend in rehabilitative therapies due to its effectiveness and efficiency while remaining non-invasive. Patients will experience breakdown of scar adhesions, improved muscle function, and increased healing rates of targeted tissues enhancing their overall functional performance.

How many sessions do patients typically need?

The duration of treatment is exclusively based on the client’s deficits. Typically, post-surgical patients tend to be more complex and require more comprehensive treatment and longer duration. On average, our patients attend between 12-24 sessions of OT to maximize their level of independence with their daily functional tasks. These patients are transitioned to a home exercise program so they can continue to improve and/or maintain their current status upon discharge.

How can OT help me get back to my everyday life?

Our goal is to optimize the functional use of the hand and arm. While your hands may be small when compared to the rest of your body, they put in a ton of work each day. Your hands are important for nearly everything that you do, making hand and joint pain extremely inconvenient. If you are unable to pick up objects or lift things without experiencing pain in your hand or wrist, it’s easy to avoid completing even the simplest of tasks. Occupational therapy is safe, effective and treats the root cause of pain without the use of prescription medications. At Access, occupational therapists provide hands-on treatment to help you achieve greater ease of function and pain free motion while engaged in meaningful and purposeful daily tasks.

ACCESS PT offers Occupational Therapy services in several locations: