Tag Archives: occupational therapy

OT Month 2018

OT Month 2018

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OT Month 2018

Occupational therapists & physical therapists are similar but different.
Here’s why…

Occupational therapy focuses on a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living.

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY (OT)
mainly focuses on activities of daily living (ADL’s). For example this would mean helping patients to eat and write again after a stroke. OT’s also modify movements or the environment so a patient can complete tasks safely. These modifications help patients lead full and active lives.

PHYSICAL THERAPY (PT)

focuses on treating the injury itself, through the use of orthopedics, manual therapy and modalities. With the goals of reducing pain and improving function.

occupational therapist

Both professions educate patients on wellness and injury prevention. In some cases, like those having suffered a stroke, the patient may see both an OT and PT during recovery.

Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.

Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes. Occupational therapy services typically include:

  • an individualized evaluation, during which the client/family and occupational therapist determine the person’s goals,
  • customized intervention to improve the person’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals, and
  • an outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the intervention plan.

Occupational therapy practitioners have a holistic perspective, in which the focus is on adapting the environment and/or task to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team. It is an evidence-based practice deeply rooted in science.

Safe Lifting Practices for Back Injury Prevention

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Whether at home or at work safe lifting practices can keep your back healthy and safe. Before lifting heavy objects decide how you will lift carry & place the item before you
pick it up. Test the weight of the load by moving or tipping it. Figure out if you can break the load down by placing the contents of large containers into a number of smaller ones before moving them. Is the path clear? What is the weight of the load? How much stress will be placed upon your back? Is there traffic, a tripping hazard, a doorway to go through, or a stairway to go up or down? Avoid carrying an object that requires two hands to hold, either up or especially down a flight of stairs. Use the elevator. Plan a rest stop, if needed. Knowing what you’re doing and where you’re going will prevent you from making awkward movements while holding something heavy. Clear a path, and if lifting something with another person, make sure both of you agree on the plan.

KEY STEPS FOR SAFE LIFTING PRACTICES

Establish a Base of Support: Use a wide, balanced stance with one foot in front of the other. Make sure that you have firm footing and that your feet are a shoulders-width apart. This staggered stance gives you the stability of not falling over and being able to secure the load.

Keep Your Eyes Up: Looking slightly upward will help you maintain a better position of the spine. Keeping your eyes focused upwards helps you keep your back straight.

Get a Good Grip: With your palms and make sure you have an adequate hold on the object. Be certain you will be able to maintain a hold on the object without having to adjust your grip later. You can use gloves to help maintain an adequate grip, but don’t rely on gloves because they can desensitize the fingers and make you unable to feel the object.

Lift Gradually with Your Legs: Without using jerky motions. By using your leg strength, your chance of lower back injury is greatly reduced.

Tighten you stomach muscles: As you begin the lift and keep you head and shoulders up.

Pivot – Don’t Twist: Move your feet in the direction of the lift. This will eliminate the need to twist at the waist.

Weight: A lighter load normally means a lesser risk of injury. The weight of the object should be within the capacity of the person to handle safely.

Handling: It is easier to pull or push a load than it is to lift, put down or carry.

Keep the Load Close: Holding a 20lb object with your hands 20 inches from the body creates more compressive force on your low back than holding it 10 inches away. This is because the muscles in your back have to work to counterbalance the weight when it is further from the body. As the compressive force on your low back increases, so does the risk of muscle strains, ligament sprains and damage to the disks in the spine.

Frequency: The more times a load is handled, the more tired the muscles become, making it easier for the person to be injured.

Distance: The farther the load has to be moved, the greater the risk of injury.

Duration (TIME): Where the job involves repetitive movements, reducing the time spent on handling will help to ensure the movements are not causing unnecessary strain.

Forces Applied: Forces should be applied smoothly, evenly and close to the body. Forces exerted should be well within the capacity of the person, and the person should maintain proper posture.

Nature of the Load: Loads that are compact, stable, easy to grip, and capable of being held close to the body are much easier to handle.

Terrain: Rough ground, steep slopes, slippery and uneven floors, stairs and cluttered floors make moving a load awkward and increase the chance for injury.

Environment (Climate & Lighting): If it is too hot, too humid, too cold or the lighting is inadequate, the capacity to work safely is reduced.

Condition of the Workplace: Safe and comfortable working conditions, with adequate space to perform the task, and tools and equipment that are well-maintained, make their job safer.

Age/Gender: Young and old workers alike may be at an increased risk of injury from manual materials handling activities. Ensure abilities of employees are in line with functional job requirements.

Training: Proper training for the specific task is vital to reduce injury.

Team Lifting: If one person cannot lift or move a heavy, large or awkward object safely, organize a team lift. Team lifting reduces the risk of injury, reduces fatigue and makes the task much easier.

Raise/Lower Shelves: The best zone for lifting is between your shoulders and your waist. *Put heavier objects on shelves at waist level, lighter objects on lower or higher shelves.

Avoid Lifting from the Floor: Lifting from the floor can greatly increase your risk of injury for two reasons. Firstly, it is difficult to bring objects close to your body when picking them up from the floor, especially large objects where your knees can get in the way. Secondly, your low back must now support the weights of your upper body as you lean forward, in addition to supporting the weight of the item you are lifting. Lifting the same 20lbs from the floor more than doubles the amount of force on your low back when compared with lifting is from waist height. Even a one pound object lifted from the floor increases you risk of injury if you use a bent over posture.

Get Help When You Need It: Don’t try to lift heavy or awkward loads on your own. Even though the muscles in your upper body may be strong enough to handle the load, the muscles, ligaments and disks in your lower back may be injured because of the additional forces they have to withstand. Get help from a co-worker, and whenever possible, use a cart, hand truck or other mechanical device to move the load for you.

This content was written by Fit2WRK who has partnered with PT and Me to give a comprehensive look into the services physical and occupational therapists provide. For more information on Fit2WRK click here.

concussion treatment

Concussion Treatment and What to Expect

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Concussion treatment

CONCUSSION TREATMENT AND WHAT TO EXPECT

  • Our goal is to alleviate all concussion related symptoms so that you may return to a normal, symptom free life.
  • Vestibular, oculomotor, cognitive and cardiovascular exercises will be incorporated into your treatment. Some exercises will bring on symptoms, which is normal. By introducing symptoms in a controlled manner, we are retraining the brain to adapt to these demands.
  • To monitor your symptoms while you are here, imagine that when you come in you have a “gas tank” or work capacity of 100%. We would like to work until your brain is at 50%. The goal is to fatigue your brain to make it stronger, not to make it hurt.
  • In the first 24 hours after therapy, you may experience an increase in symptoms, fatigue and emotional changes.
  • Routine activities such as work and school may bring on symptoms. you should work until symptoms appear, then rest until they are gone. Finding your limit and not going beyond it will contribute to your success.
  • Symptoms can be limited at home, school and work by minimizing screen time, especially at night and learning when your body and brain need to rest.
  • Exercises will slowly increase in duration and intensity as your treatment progresses and your brain begins to heal.

This information about concussion treatment was written by Rehab Associates of Central Virginia, they are dedicated to working with one another as a team across their sub-specialty practices and their our physician partners. For more information click here.

More PTandMe articles about concussions can be found here:

concussion physical therapy   

   

repetitive strain injury

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): Prevention Tips for Strain and Injury in the Workplace

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The Following are Seen as Causes of Repetitive Strain Injury:

  • The overuse of muscles in our hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, neck and back
  • The area is affected by repeated actions, which are usually performed on a daily basis over a long period
  • The repetitive actions are done in a cold place
  • Forceful movements are involved
  • Workstations are poorly organized
  • Equipment is badly designed
  • The individual commonly adopts an awkward posture
  • There are not enough rest breaks

RSI

Prevention 101: Nine Easy Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Repetitive Strain Injury:

  • TAKE BREAKS when using your computer. Every hour or so, get up and walk around, get a drink of water, stretch whatever muscles are tight, and look out the window at a far off object (to rest your eyes).
  • Use good posture. If you can’t hold good posture, it probably means it’s time for you to take a break from typing. If you are perpetually struggling to maintain good posture, you probably need to adjust your workstation or chair, or develop some of the support muscles necessary for good posture.
  • Use an ergonomically-optimized workstation to reduce strain on your body.
  • Exercise regularly. Include strengthening, stretching, and aerobic exercises. Yoga and pilates may also be helpful.
  • Only use the computer as much as you have to. Don’t email people when you could walk down the hall or pick up the phone and talk to them. It’s not only better for your hands – it’s friendlier. Think before you type to avoid unnecessary editing.
  • Don’t stretch for the hard-to-reach keys, e.g. BACKSPACE, ENTER, SHIFT, and CONTROL… basically everything but the letters. Instead, move your entire hand so that you may press the desired key with ease. This is crucial when you are programming or typing something where non-letter keys are used extensively.
  • Let your hands float above the keyboard when you type, and move your entire arm when moving your mouse or typing hard-to-reach keys, keeping the wrist joint straight at all times. This lets the big muscles in your arm, shoulder, and back do most of the work, instead of the smaller, weaker, and more vulnerable muscles in your hand and wrist. If you find it difficult to do this, then your shoulder and back muscles are probably too weak. It is OK, and in fact a good idea, to rest your elbows/wrists when you are not typing.
  • Use two hands to type combination key strokes, such as those involving the SHIFT and CONTROL keys.
  • When writing, avoid gripping the writing utensil tightly. Someone should be able to easily pull the writing utensil out of your hand when you are writing. If your pen or pencil requires you to press too hard, get a new one (my favorite is Dr. Grip Gel Ink).

Article provided by Fit2WRK. The information noted above is a summary of one of the components of Fit2WRK.

Occupational Therapy Month

April is Occupational Therapy Month!

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Occupational Therapy Month is when we celebrate and recognize all of the work our OT’s do. Occupational therapists (OT) help people of all ages participate in the things they want and need to do in their homes, at work, in school and throughout the community. From a patients initial evaluation to the development and follow through of their rehabilitation plans, an OT works hard to make sure that their patient is able to return to the activities they enjoy and need to live a full and healthy life.

In an outpatient setting, some of the responsibilities of our occupational therapists may include:

  • Hand and upper extremity movement and rehabilitation
  • Teaching patients to use assistive devices to complete activities of daily living (ADL’s)
  • Rehabilitating patients recovering from stroke to regain strength, movement, and learn to accomplish ADL’s in modified ways.
  • Working with employers to create programs designed to reduce risk and injury in the workplace.
  • Helping children struggling to achieve developmental goals progress to their highest possible levels
  • Working with patients suffering from neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s to remain active.

This Occupational Therapy Month the AOTA is celebrating 100 years of helping people live their lives to the fullest.
For more info go to: www.aota.org

PTandMe therapists

Clinic Spotlight: PT & Me Therapists

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This month we are featuring stories from some of our PT & Me therapists. We asked them how they got into the awesome world of physical therapy and what they enjoy about it. These are their stories…

Kelly_wilson
Name:
Kelly Wilson, PT, DPT at University Physical Therapy – 8 locations conveniently located throughout the New River Valley in Virginia

Why did you chose physical therapy as a career?
I took an anatomy class in high school with a teacher who absolutely changed my life. I could not get enough of the curriculum and wanted to learn more about how we work and how we can make ourselves better. I stayed after school one day to ask how I could learn about this topic forever. My teacher suggested that I look into physical therapy. I started shadowing a PT in my hometown and loved it! I was hooked!

What is your favorite thing about going to work each day?
I get to work with the absolute best people on the face of the planet.


Name:
Lea Ann Rumlin, PT, Clinic Owner at DeKalb Comprehensive Physical Therapy – Lithonia, Georgia

Why did you chose physical therapy as a career? 
I had an opportunity to observe a PT in high school and found it was very interesting. I thought it was cool to observe a diverse variety of ailments in people.

What is your favorite thing about going to work each day?
I’ve been doing physical therapy for a long time, but it still feels new. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to help people.


Name:
Wendy Richards, MSPT, DPT at Port City Physical Therapy – Portland, Maine

Why did you chose physical therapy as a career? 
I wanted to be in a helping profession. Growing up in rural Maine most of the careers were either in healthcare or nursing. That is why I was drawn to physical therapy. I especially liked the stroke patient rehab and spinal rehab aspect of it. Helping people with paralysis was especially fulfilling.

What is your favorite thing about going to work each day? 
I enjoy working in a team environment. Working in an outpatient climate and helping patients to get better. Being able to resolve their limitations and improve their lives.


Name:
Jocelyn Zolna-Pitts, PT, Director at Metro Spine & Sports Rehabilitation – Chicago, Illinois

Why did you chose physical therapy as a career?
It combined my interest of medicine with sports. I was always interested in medicine and helping others.

What is your favorite thing about going to work each day?
The daily satisfaction of watching people get better. The challenge and variety of problems patients face and solving their problems through critical thinking with them. I enjoy the fact that you get to play every day at work and it’s a lot of fun!

work related stress

Work Related Stress & Increased Risk Zones: Part 2 of 2

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THE SOLUTIONS

• Alternate Heavy Tasks with Light Tasks

• Develop Lifting, Carrying and Push / Pull Guidelines within limits and set up Lift Teams if necessary

• Provide variety in jobs to eliminate or reduce repetition (i.e., overuse of the same muscle groups)

• Adjust work schedules, work pace, or work practices

• Provide recovery time (e.g., short rest breaks)

• Modify work practices so that workers perform work within their power zone (i.e., above the knees, below the shoulders, and close to the body)

• Modify work environment to minimize work related stress (e.g., seating, lighting, workstation, process flow, angle of access to loads)

• Rotate workers through jobs that use different muscles, body parts, or postures (Administrative improvements, such as job rotation, can help reduce workers’ exposures to risk factors by limiting the amount of time workers spend on “problem jobs.”)

• Provide hands-on practice when new tools, equipment, or procedures are introduced to the workforce (review counter balancing of tools and take advantage of gravity flow in product movement)

• Use several types of visual aids (e.g., pictures, charts, videos of actual tasks in your workplace and the “right way to perform tasks”)

• Hold small-group discussions and problem-solving sessions

• Give workers ample opportunity for questions
• Industrial Athlete directed Exercises and Stretches (make them specific to those areas under most stress perform at beginning of day, when leaving for lunch and end of day)

• Ensure proper protective equipment (PPE) is available and used properly

• Research ergonomic assistive aids to accommodate heavier load lifting and movement

• Review packaging of items and research if handles or alternative coupling can be incorporated

• Review exposure to heat and cold extremes and take necessary precautions

• Minimize exposure to vibration (this can be done through tool selection, gloves, or limiting your time of exposure)

• Posture (change or modify your body position periodically throughout the day to relieve stress)

Part one of our Work Related Stress & Increased Risk Zones can be found here

Sources:
1) American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)
2) Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES)
3) National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH)

Increased Risk Zones

Work Related Stress & Increased Risk Zones: Part 1 of 2

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INCREASED RISK ZONES
All Risks Increase with Duration, Frequency and Magnitude.

• Excessive Force

• Repetition of Activity (Can irritate tendons and increase pressure on nerves)

• Awkward Posture (Can compress nerves and irritate tendons)

• Sustained Static Posture (Can restrict blood flow and damage muscles)

• Unsupported Positions

• Motion (Increased speed or acceleration when bending / twisting, can increase the amount of force exerted on the body)

• Compression (Grasping sharp edges like tool handles, can concentrate force on small areas of the body, reducing blood flow and nerve transmission, and damaging tendons and tendon sheaths)

• Inadequate Recovery Time (Overtime, lack of breaks, & failure to vary tasks)

• Vibration of Tools (From vibrating tools, can decrease blood flow, damage nerves, and contribute to muscle fatigue)

• Whole Body Vibration (From driving trucks or operating subways, can affect skeletal muscles and cause low-back pain)

• Effects of Temperature (Cold temperatures can adversely affect a worker’s coordination and manual dexterity while Heat stroke can be very serious as when the body becomes unable to control its temperature, it rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down.)

• Environment (Slip/Fall hazard-Uneven Floor Surfaces)

• Material Handling Guidelines:
Weight Loading over 50lbs
Lift Speed greater than 5/minute
Vertical Lift Exceeds 3ft
Carry over 1 minute
Sustained Push/Pull over 30 seconds
Static reach holding tasks over 1 minute

Part two of our Work Related Stress & Increased Risk Zones can be found here

work related stress

Sources:
1) Ergonomics: The Study of Work, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA 3125, 2000 (Revised)
2) T. R. Waters, “Manual Materials Handling”, in: Physical and Biological Hazards of the Workplace 2nd. Edited by P. Wald and G. Stave. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2002.
3) Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) © Fit2WRK 2015 R.Gagne

PT can Help

Elf Injuries and How PT Can Help: Part 1 of 3

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It’s that time of year, when we check in on Santa’s helpers to see if they can use some physical therapy. With their heavy lifting and high demand job they’re always experiencing injuries. Our new elf friend Ziggy, is the perfect patient for physical therapy. Let’s see how PT can help Ziggy!

Here’s part of his story…

Ziggy was working late one night in the North Pole. When all of a sudden… he lifted a large toy scooter and fell over on to his back. OUCH!

elf on PT & Me website

Luckily, Santa and his elves have an amazingly good north pole internet provider, and Ziggy was able to go online to the PT&Me website and find great physical therapy clinics in his area.

elf on pt table

Now Ziggy is at one of PT & Me’s physical therapy clinics with one of our trusted therapists to help relieve him of all his back pain. He will be back to making more toys real soon, just in time for the holiday!

See Ziggy’s complete physical therapy experience here!

elf injuries physical therapy PTandMe   Elf on the Shelf Physical Therapy

elf injuries

Special thanks to Action Physical Therapy, in Houston, TX, for accommodating the demanding work schedule of Santa’s elves. Click Here for more information about Action Physical Therapy.

Safe Lifting Practices

Safe Lifting Practices: Back Injury Prevention

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Whether you are getting ready for a move, or need to lift things at work, it’s important to use safe lifting practices. Don’t end up with a hurt back – use these tips to keep yourself injury free.

• ESTABLISH A BASE OF SUPPORT: Use a wide, balanced stance with one foot in front of the other. Make sure that you have firm footing and that your feet are a shoulders-width apart. This staggered stance gives you the stability of not falling over and being able to secure the load.•

• KEEP YOUR EYES UP: Looking slightly upward will help you maintain a better position of the spine. Keeping your eyes focused upwards helps you keep your back straight.

• GET A GOOD GRIP: with your palms and make sure you have an adequate hold on the object. Be certain you will be able to maintain a hold on the object without having to adjust your grip later. You can use gloves to help maintain an adequate grip, but don’t rely on gloves because they can desensitize the fingers and make you unable to feel the object.

• LIFT GRADUALLY WITH YOUR LEGS: without using jerky motions. By using your leg strength, your chance of lower back injury is greatly reduced.

• TIGHTEN YOU STOMACH MUSCLES: as you begin the lift and keep you head and shoulders up.

• PIVOT  DON’T TWIST: Move your feet in the direction of the lift. This will eliminate the need to twist at the waist.

• WEIGHT: A lighter load normally means a lesser risk of injury. The weight of the object should be within the capacity of the person to handle safely.

• HANDLING: It is easier to pull or push a load than it is to lift, put down or carry.

• KEEP THE LOAD CLOSE: Holding a 20 lb. object with your hands 20 inches from the body creates more compressive force on your low back than holding it 10 inches away. This is because the muscles in your back have to work to counterbalance the weight when it is further from the body. As the compressive force on your low back increases, so does the risk of muscle strains, ligament sprains and damage to the disks in the spine.

• FREQUENCY: The more times a load is handled, the more tired the muscles become, making it easier for the person to be injured.

• DISTANCE: The farther the load has to be moved, the greater the risk of injury.

• DURATION TIME: Where the job involves repetitive movements, reducing the time spent on handling will help to ensure the movements are not causing unnecessary strain.

• FORCES APPLIED: Forces should be applied smoothly, evenly and close to the body. Forces exerted should be well within the capacity of the person, and the person should maintain proper posture.

• NATURE OF THE LOAD: Loads that are compact, stable, easy to grip, and capable of being held close to the body are much easier to handle.

• TERRAIN: Rough ground, steep slopes, slippery and uneven floors, stairs and cluttered floors make moving a load awkward and increase the chance for injury.

• ENVIRONMENT (CLIMATE & LIGHTING): If it is too hot, too humid, too cold or the lighting is inadequate, the capacity to work safely is reduced.

• CONDITION OF THE WORKPLACE: Safe and comfortable working conditions, with adequate space to perform the task, and tools and equipment that are well-maintained, make their job safer.

• AGE/GENDER: Young and old workers alike may be at an increased risk of injury from manual materials handling activities. Ensure abilities of employees are in line with functional job requirements.

• TRAINING: Proper training for the specific task is vital to reduce injury.

• TEAM LIFTING: If one person cannot lift or move a heavy, large or awkward object safely, organize a team lift. Team lifting reduces the risk of injury, reduces fatigue and makes the task much easier.

• RAISE/LOWER SHELVES: The best zone for lifting is between your shoulders and your waist. Put heavier objects on shelves at waist level, lighter objects on lower or higher shelves.

• AVOID LIFTING FROM THE FLOOR: Lifting from the floor can greatly increase your risk of injury for two reasons. Firstly, it is difficult to bring objects close to your body when picking them up from the floor, especially large objects where your knees can get in the way. Secondly, your low back must now support the weights of your upper body as you lean forward, in addition to supporting the weight of the item you are lifting. Lifting the same 20lbs from the floor more than doubles the amount of force on your low back when compared with lifting is from waist height. Even a one pound object lifted from the floor increases you risk of injury if you use a bent over posture.

• GET HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT: Don’t try to lift heavy or awkward loads on your own. Even though the muscles in your upper body may be strong enough to handle the load, the muscles, ligaments and disks in your lower back may be injured because of the additional forces they have to withstand. Get help from a co-worker, and whenever possible, use a cart, hand truck or other mechanical device to move the load for you.

PROPER LIFTING TECHNIQUE

proper lifting

IMPROPER LIFTING TECHNIQUE

improper lifting

POSTURE

Posture diagram

GOOD POSTURE

good posture

BAD POSTURE

bad posture