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What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy (OT) helps those who have various injuries, impairments, and debilitating conditions to improve function in their daily lives. Functions to consider are those needed to do your job or schoolwork, care for yourself, complete household chores, move around, or take part in other activities or hobbies. It is for people of all ages who have functional problems resulting from back and neck injuries; sprains, strains, and fractures; arthritis; amputations; neurological disorders, such as stroke, Parkinson’s or Multiple Sclerosis; injuries related to work and sports; and other conditions. Some benefits include gaining an understanding of preventative care, improved body mechanics, strength, and independence.

Common goals of function addressed to promote independence include:

  • Eat without help from others

  • Take part in leisure activities

  • Return to employment

  • Bathe and get dressed

  • Complete cooking cleaning

Our Occupational Therapists use a variety of techniques to care for you. These techniques include training in adapted techniques and equipment use; cognitive training for safety and processing needed for daily tasks; functional movement; neuro-developmental treatment (NDT): therapeutic exercise; stretches; and skilled manipulation of joints, muscles, and other soft tissue to improve mobility and reduce pain.

At your first therapy session, your therapist will examine and assess your needs. They’ll ask you questions about your pain or other symptoms, your ability to move or do everyday tasks, and your medical history. The objective is to determine a diagnosis of your condition, why you have the condition, including impairments that either caused or are a result of the condition, then develop a plan of care to address each.

The treatment plan they create with you will be individualized and focused on your specific needs. For example, a patient working to recover functions lost after a stroke needs care different from that of a patient recovering from a sports injury. Your Occupational Therapists may also help you maintain or improve function by developing fitness and wellness programs that encourage healthy, active lifestyles. Our therapists work as part of a healthcare team by collaborating with other therapists, physicians, surgeons, and specialists to develop and implement your individualized treatment plan.


What Does an
Occupational Therapist Do?

They work with people of all ages, from premature babies to young children, adults in midlife, and seniors. In short, the therapist looks at how you do any kind of activity or task. Then they come up with a plan to improve the way you do it to make it easier or less painful. At your first appointment, the OT will assess your needs. They will review paperwork received from your physician and then speak with you regarding your pain and movement and where you would like to see improvements. They may have you do some stretches or exercises to assist in this. Next, they’ll work with you to come up with a therapy plan and set goals designed for your needs, disability, or limits. Your OT can train you to adapt your movements, improve your motor skills and hand-eye coordination, or do tasks in new ways.

Your Occupational Therapist may:

Prescribe and train you to use assistive devices like raised toilet seats or wheelchairs

Help older adults prevent falls in their home or in public areas

Address behavior problems in kids who act out or hit others

Work on motor skills so you can grasp a pencil

Teach you new ways to button a shirt, tie your shoes, get in and out of the shower, or work on your computer

Treat adults who’ve had a stroke to improve balance, change their home to prevent injuries, build muscle strength, or adapt to their memory or speech problems

Build hand-eye coordination so you can hit a tennis ball

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Who Needs Occupational Therapy?

If you have one of these health problems, OT could help you:

  • Arthritis and chronic pain

  • Stroke

  • Brain injury

  • Joint replacement

  • Spinal cord injury

  • Low vision

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Poor balance

  • Cancer

  • Diabetes

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Cerebral palsy

Physical, Aquatic, and Occupational Therapies

74-057 Highway 111

Palm Desert, CA 92260 

Mon - Fri 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM 
Sat/Sun - Closed

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