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Occupational therapy

What does Occupational therapy do?

Occupational therapy works with patients to help them increase their ability to perform daily tasks and participate in life roles, which includes roles at home and at work. Treatment programs will vary depending on functional limitations, severity, and goals identified in conjunction with the patient. Occupational therapy may include instruction in postures and body mechanics for sitting, sleep, home management, child/dependent care and work task performance. Additionally, a therapist may help you determine how much, and what type of activity you should do on a given day, using activity pacing, energy conservation and work simplification strategies. Computer postures and ergonomics for workstation set-up may be addressed, or recommendations may be made with regard to work restrictions.

What other names might this go by?

Work Hardening

Functional Capacity Evaluation

Ergonomic Assessment/job consultation/job coaching

What to expect

Through interview and movement assessment, specialists (Occupational Therapists) will examine and evaluate your needs and also take into consideration your medical history and physical condition. After the evaluation, the occupational therapist determines what treatment program works best for you, based on the identified goals. It may include exercises, instruction of how to move using proper body mechanics and postural training, development of a daily/weekly schedule to improve your level of function, and assessment of your work environment to improve your approach to work activity. You may also learn how to avoid pain flare-ups.

Potential Risks

As with any exercise program, there are risks of overdoing it which could exacerbate pain. However, effects are short-term and can be resolved using techniques such as heat, cold, and massage.


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