Fibromyalgia syndrome can really affect all aspects of your life. Not only can the illness cause chronic pain, fatigue, and other symptoms, but it can take a drastic toll on your working life, home life, and leisure pursuits. Occupational therapy can help fibromyalgia sufferers to restructure their lifestyles in order to make daily living easier and much more enjoyable. If you are finding it difficult to finish your work responsibilities, get on with tasks at home, or enjoy recreational activities, an occupational therapist might be just the thing to help increase your independence.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a treatment that focuses on increasing a person’s ability to perform in all aspects of life. This therapy is oriented in such a way to help you better carry out all those daily tasks, like household chores, work responsibilities, and leisure activities. Occupational therapy also attempts to improve the way that you perform these tasks in order to minimize the physical and emotional symptoms of fibromyalgia. Occupational therapy programs are designed to help you become more independent in all areas of your life, allowing you to live life to its fullest.
What is an Occupational Therapist?
People who run occupational therapy programs are called occupational therapists. Occupational therapists have the job of helping you to become more successful in your daily functioning. These therapists will assist you in finding ways to reduce your fibromyalgia symptoms, and will help you to increase your ability to perform all sorts of different tasks. He will also help you manage the emotional and mental challenges that come with fibromyalgia.
Occupational therapists believe that real health can only be found when there is a balance of work, recreation, and rest in your life. By assessing your home and work environments, your occupational therapist can provide suggestions on how you can better function and achieve health and independence. Occupational therapists are also capable of providing stress management tips, symptom reduction tips, and coping strategies to help you improve the quality of your life.
What are Their Qualifications?
Occupational therapists are very highly trained in the area of physical and psychiatric rehabilitation. In order to become a qualified occupational therapist in the United States, a person must complete a doctoral or master's degree in occupational therapy as well as six months of fieldwork. She must also pass an examination set by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy. Occupational therapy assistants must complete a bachelor's or associate degree.
What does an Occupational Therapist Do?
There are numerous steps involved in occupational therapy treatment. Usually, it will take several weeks or months to finish treatment with your occupational therapy. This is because your therapist will assess and analyze all aspects of your life including your home, work, symptom management, and emotional state.
When you first see your occupational therapist, he will take a case history from you. Your case history will consist of information regarding how well you can function at home and at work, as well as the various health issues that you may have. Your occupational therapist may ask you questions about how well you are able to cook, clean, or take care of your children. He may also ask you how well you can work at a computer or meet work deadlines. Your occupational therapist will also perform a physical exam in order to assess your range of motion and muscle pain.
Assessment of Home and Workplace
After your case history has been taken, your occupational therapist will do an assessment of both your home and work environments. At home, she will observe as you perform your daily routine, including cleaning, cooking, and self-care. At work, your occupational therapist will assess how well you are able to meet deadlines, work under stress, and complete daily tasks. The occupational therapist may also meet with your employer and fellow employees to receive more information about your performance.
Creating an Action Plan
After your home and work-related activities have been assessed, you and your occupational therapist will work together on an action plan, which is a program designed to help you better complete and enjoy your daily activities. Here are just some of the things your action plan may include:
- The use of certain assistive technology, such as mobility scooters or walking aids to increase your independence.
- The rearrangement of your office workspace to increase comfort.
- An exercise program specifically tailored to your needs and symptoms.
- The use of mental exercises to increase memory, such as word recalls and crossword puzzles.
- Learning how to use different coping strategies to deal with emotional stress and physical pain.
- One-on-one, group, or family therapy sessions to help deal with emotional issues.
How to Find an Occupational Therapist
If you are interested in meeting with an occupational therapist, there are numerous places to look for information. Your local hospital may have a practicing occupational therapist, or at least information on where to find one. Often, elementary schools also have occupational therapists. Home health agencies and rehabilitation facilities are two of the best places to look to for occupational therapy as they often have numerous practicing occupational therapists. If you are interested in a private practice, look in the phonebook under "Occupational Therapy."