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The Importance of Outpatient Care

Could You Benefit from Occupational or Physical Therapy?

Peterson Health goes the extra mile when it comes to all rehabilitation therapies. We offer occupational, physical, and speech therapies to keep you doing all the things you’ve always loved and done all year long. Our amazing therapists have dedicated their lives to helping you get stronger, fitter, faster, and back to all the things you love in life.

Here we highlight our services and explain the important differences between occupational, physical, and speech therapies that return you to your life routine.

 

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

Occasional aches and pains are normal, but if they’re persistent, they may be a sign of a larger issue. When your pain starts interfering with everyday life, an occupational therapist can help.

Here are three things to think about when deciding whether it’s time to see an occupational therapist:

1. Daily Activities
If your pain prevents you from participating in the activities you love most, an occupational therapist can help. They treat patients who are disabled, ill, or injured and have problems that keep them from their hobbies, interests, jobs, and other day-to-day activities. They’ll help determine why the problem is happening and help you change your behavior and build the skills you need to get back to your everyday life.

2. Technology
If you’re always on your smartphone, it can cause pain and sometimes damage to your neck, elbows, thumbs, and shoulders—not to mention eyestrain. An occupational therapist can tell you how your technology habits are causing your pain, give you strategies to heal, and show you ways to change your behavior to prevent more pain in the future.

3. Goals
Your goals for recovery can be as simple as preventing headaches at work or as complex as learning to get dressed again after a stroke. Occupational therapists can help with a wide variety of conditions. For example, they can:

  • Help children with disabilities participate in school activities with modified equipment
  • Teach patients with cerebral palsy how to use wheelchairs, eating aids, or leg braces
  • Make changes to work environments to prevent eyestrain and carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Label cabinets for adults with memory problems
  • Provide stretching exercises for patients with arthritis
  • Administer driving assessments for safe driving recommendations

If you’re experiencing pain, talk with your primary care provider to see if occupational therapy is the right treatment option for you.

 

PHYSICAL THERAPY

Physical therapy may help you avoid surgery, save money, and live with less pain!

Physical therapists are movement experts who help with many health conditions, including arthritis, back pain, and fractures.

Could physical therapy help you? Here are two things to consider:

1. Health Conditions
In general, physical therapy is for people who have health conditions that affect their ability to move and function. Let’s say you’ve broken a hip, for example. A physical therapist will design an individualized rehabilitation program for you, which may include learning exercises and stretches. This will help restore normal movement in your hip and leg.

Overall, physical therapy aims to reduce pain, increase mobility, and improve quality of life. You may benefit from working with a physical therapist if you:

  • Are prone to falls and need to improve your balance
  • Are recovering from surgery or injury
  • Have chronic pain, such as low back pain or frequent headaches

2. Progress Without Pain
Physical therapy should not cause pain. While your physical therapist will not make your exercises easy, they should be relatively pain free. Physical therapists look for a steady progression of strength training. Physical therapy can help with pain and can be an option for non-narcotic pain control.

Talk with your primary care provider to see if physical therapy is the right treatment option for you.

 

SPEECH THERAPY

Speech therapists can help those who have difficulty with swallowing food, liquids, or medication. They can also help people who have difficulty with communication, understanding, memory, and problem solving.

Here are three things to think about when deciding whether it’s time to see a speech therapist.

1. Mealtimes
If you have limited swallowing abilities that keep you from participating in social events, a speech pathologist can help. They can help determine the cause of the swallow disorder and create strategies to improve your tolerance of preferred foods and to strengthen the swallowing muscles.

2. Communication
A speech pathologist can help you if your communication abilities are limited. They can identity techniques that will help you improve both your understanding and expressive communications abilities, such as word finding. This can increase a person’s confidence in social situations, leading to greater social participation.

3. Memory
Are your or a loved one’s memory abilities limited, making it difficult to perform tasks in the home, recall appointments, and function in the community? A speech pathologist can work with you to identify areas of weakness, then provide strategies to help improve abilities in those specific areas.

If you’re experiencing any of the above concerns, talk with your primary care provider to see if speech therapy is the right treatment option for you.

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