What Areas Are Addressed in Occupational Therapy

What Areas Are Addressed in Occupational Therapy Treatment? 

Occupational Therapist
Occupational Therapist Judy Anderson exercises muscles in ten-year-old Joseph Camano's lower back

What is occupational therapy?

 It is a therapy for pain, illness, and injury and some disabilities that makes it difficult for you to do your day-to-day tasks like school work, office tasks, self-grooming, doing some household chores, and taking part in gaming activities. Occupational therapy educates patients to accept certain changes easily. It guides you through accomplishing tasks smartly. In some cases, you will be asked to use assistive devices to make your job easy.

When you meet an occupational therapist, they will check your problematic area along with movement patterns, so that treatment can be initiated in the right way. The main intent of the treatment is to provide enough independence with quality life

An occupational therapist helps you in many ways such as eating without assistance, taking part in some leisure activities effortlessly, doing office work with no pain, can do self-grooming including bathing and dressing, and doing house chores like cleaning and laundering.

Before talking more about occupational therapy, let’s talk about who is an occupational therapist.

Occupational therapists are professionals who’ve taken special graduate training in occupational therapy. Occupational therapists must be certified and licensed, with minimum of 5 years of clinical experience. Some OTs do further specialization on particular areas of the body such as some OTs further continuing their studies on hand therapy to treat hand-related ailments, or some go for studies related to poor vision in children and older adults.

Occupational therapists often work with doctors, physical therapists, mental health professionals and psychologists.

Occupational therapy treatment addresses follow medical areas

Amputation: It is highly challenging to cope with, particularly if patients experience ghost limbs. Therefore, doing daily activities can be highly difficult, even if it can impact a patient's mental health. Occupational therapists offer treatment, help them to deal with critical medical interventions, identify their objectives, and offer therapy to accomplish their final objective. OTs also provide prosthetic training to make their life easier and effortless.

Anxiety and depression:  Occupational therapists don’t assess physically, they go beyond that, they analyze from a mental level. One patient who suffers from anxiety and depression, OTs help them to come out of this situation. Even they offer them self-awareness skills, targeted exercise, and pacing strategies.

Burn injury, Brain injury dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease: OTs take the help of physiotherapy and occupational therapy to help burn victims alleviate pain while moving and regain physical functionality that has been hampered due to lack of application. Therapists offer a safe and assessed environment for burn-injured patients with proper safety.

Recovering from brain injury is time-consuming. It requires a few months to 2 years. OTs help patients restore their cognitive functionality so that they can do their job, and can do activities that are linked to limbs and the brain.

Even occupational therapists offer medical intervention for Alzheimer's and dementia which form mental connections.

Carpal tunnel syndrome:  If it is at its initial level, it could be treated through occupational therapy otherwise it requires surgery.  However, OT offers treatment that completely recovers without having surgery.  CTS generally takes place due to over usage of the wrist, forearms, hands, and fingers.

OT treatment for CTS involves

  • Splinting
  • Exercises
  • Massage therapy
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • AR/ VR therapy

OT offers rehabilitative care after surgery to speed up the healing process which includes mild flexing and stretching, therapeutic exercise, joint stabilization, and range of motion training.

DuPuy Ren’s Contracture: It is a progressive fibro-proliferative condition that gradually affects our hands and generates permanent flexion and contracture of fingers. OT usually suggests an exercise that helps the patient to restore the range of motion of the overall hand and fingers

Other certain conditions can be cured with occupational therapy such as tendonitis, Huntington’s disease, Knee replacement, multiple sclerosis, neuro-motor disease, Parkinson’s disease, orthopedic complication, spinal injury, stroke, and spinal injury, and Multiple sclerosis.

Cerebral palsy: Occupational therapists treat cerebral palsy to increase motor functionality and reduce limitations.  OT can generate a pathway to do the daily task and retrieve and interpret sensory input.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: ADHD is common problem children and young adults often suffer from due to excessive screen time, continuous switching attention, and easily get distracted. Occupational therapists use sensory integration therapy to develop patients’ sensory processing abilities and activate the complete sensory system as a whole.


Autism: Children suffer from autism enough problems in communication and interaction with others. Occupational therapy studies the nature of problems and works with their parents and teachers to create specialized treatment methods an autistic child needs for their recovery and improvement.

All the OT exercises are designed to improve children’s attention span, attention transition, response stimulation, and communication abilities.

Their parents often ask how to improve grip strength and increase their holding ability, for that occupational therapist to work with hand therapists and design some motor nerve exercises to activate the forearm-associated nerves and restore hand functions.

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