Exercise and occupational therapy

Dealing with chronic pain may involve working not only with medical doctors but also with specialists in related areas, such as physical therapy including exercise therapy and occupational therapy.

Exercise Therapy
Under the guidance of a physical therapist, your physical limitations should be taken into account before you begin any program. At the Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, physical therapists establish a baseline for your exercise sessions. We may suggest you start exercises below your current level of capability, working up to greater levels of fitness from there. The idea is to build on success. Progress may be charted after each session. Charting is also an excellent strategy to follow when exercising at home.

Physical therapists help improve patient function, the ability to live and work in a normal manner. Although many people see pain relief as necessary before they can function, great progress in functional capacity is possible without it.

At the Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, exercise sessions are supervised. The physical therapist should carefully teach you the proper way to do each exercise, and should observe to see that you are doing it correctly. The physical therapist seeks to help you develop good form and good exercise habits that will not lead to injury. The exercises you learn at the Prairie Spine and Pain Institute should not be abandoned after treatment, and should be continued at home.

Occupational Therapy

Building purposeful self-management skills

Physical therapy is often combined with occupational therapy, which focuses on building purposeful self-management skills. Occupational therapists work to increase a patient’s independence and ease of movement through practical methods to decrease the amount of time the patient spends in pain. For example, pacing and energy conservation skills can help the patient carry out daily activities at work or at leisure. Learning these skills and putting them to use in your life can be quite empowering for the patient.