Embracing Challenges, Enhancing Lives

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) uses evidence-based practice, in-depth research and clinical knowledge to help people across the lifespan live life to the fullest. OT is the only profession that uses a rehabilitative approach focused on therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations) to promote health, prevent further injury or live a more meaningful life with injury, illness or disability. OT practitioners utilize a holistic perspective of the person to provide best therapeutic interventions and exercises by adapting the environment or occupation to fit the person instead of focusing on how a person cannot participate in occupations. OT providers include registered and licensed OTs with the national and state boards with a graduate level degree (Masters or Doctorate) as well as certified occupational therapy assistants (COTAs). OTs and COTAs are supported and assisted by therapy technicians, student interns and volunteers. Simply put, OTs are “doing” therapists; they help people to perform the tasks that are necessary or meaningful to each individual. 

Wait, you mean I’m not in Physical Therapy right now??

No, Ascend Hand Therapy (AHT) is an outpatient OT clinic that exclusively specializes in hand to shoulder injuries and is owned by two Certified Hand Therapists (CHTs). Commonly used OT interventions for hand therapy include therapeutic exercises for motion, strength, muscle endurance, fine motor coordination, and more. The purpose of these therapeutic interventions is to regain functional, daily skills. All interventions and exercises used at AHT are custom created to address your specific needs and injury. Hand therapy is a unique specialty that is not isolated to just one profession. Both occupational therapists and physical therapists can be hand therapy providers. At AHT all four therapists have degrees in OT. 

If OT is that awesome how is Physical Therapy different?

Physical Therapy (PT) is considered the sister profession of OT, and therefore addresses similar health-related dysfunction, but with a fundamentally different approach: focusing on strength and movement to maximize function, manage or prevent injury and to decrease pain. OT can treat the whole person, yet focuses on the upper body and upper extremity. PT can also treat the whole person yet focuses on the lower body, neck and walking-related dysfunction (gait training). Similar to OT, physical therapy services can be provided across a multitude of settings as well as ages across the lifespan. In some settings, OTs and PTs often work as an interprofessional team, utilizing their similar but different approaches to facilitate a person’s safe, confident return to daily tasks.    

During World War I, this apparatus was used to measure wrist extension and flexion.


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