Learn & Grow/Rehabilitation/Improve Chronic Pain with Occupational Therapy

Improve Chronic Pain with Occupational Therapy

We encourage all our residents to live life to the fullest — that’s part of what makes Beacon Hill such a remarkable community. And because we believe that a full life includes mind, body and spiritual wellbeing, that philosophy extends to health management and care as well. If you are recovering from an injury or experiencing chronic pain that makes it difficult to enjoy daily activities, the certified occupational therapists in our health center are here to help.

The Benefits of Beacon Hill Health Services

One of the benefits of living in a Life Care community, is that additional health services are available on-site when you need them, including physical and occupational therapy. When it’s easy to find an occupational therapist near you, it’s that much easier to be proactive about your health.

Our 5-star health services are available to Beacon Hill independent living residents, skilled nursing residents and short-term rehab residents as well as older adults in DuPage County.

What’s the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy?

While occupational therapy and physical therapy can help address similar issues — many times working in tandem to complement one another — there is a difference between the two. A physical therapist is very good at offering manual therapies for musculoskeletal issues, providing exercises that help strengthen, stretch or re-train the part or parts of the body causing pain. An occupational therapist might assess the same situation and provide modifications or adaptive equipment, like a sock aide or jar opener, that help ease the pain while assisting in the completion of a task.

A physical therapist looks at the particular part of the body where there is pain and asks, “how can I make this better?” whereas an occupational therapist looks at the environment in which the pain occurs and asks, “how can I make this better?” In short: a physical therapist provides manual therapies while an occupational therapist offers more holistic therapies.

Maintain Independence with Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists specialize in helping patients return to activities of daily livingfor increased independence. With older adults in particular, this can frequently entail modifications, exercises or adaptive equipment that help resume daily activities following surgery, while managing arthritis, or to better support living with memory or vision loss.

At Beacon Hill, our occupational therapists utilize heat and electric modalities to promote muscle relaxation, neurological re-education and pain desensitization. “We also educate patients on the use of adaptive equipment for assistance with dressing and bathing tasks to promote independence,” says Eun Heo, occupational therapist at Beacon Hill.

The American Occupational Therapy Association highlights education as a foundational component for occupational therapy that addresses chronic pain. With an understanding of what to expect, you are better prepared for what’s to come.

Occupational Therapy Takes a Holistic Approach

The mental connection to the physical experience can play an integral role in occupational therapy for chronic pain.

“Many times, although patients have pain, getting up and performing functional tasks helps promote healing and distracts from symptoms,” says Heo. “Just like how we can begin to get anxious and worry when we are getting ready to go to bed because we are in a quiet space with no distractions, sometimes being sedentary because of pain results in the idea that there is more pain.”

Because occupational therapy takes a holistic approach to the treatment of chronic pain, in addition to focusing on the mind/body connection, therapists might offer physical techniques to practice as well as the implementation of environmental modifications like grab bars for safety and stability.

For Beacon Hill residents, a holistic approach might include “modalities to promote pain management and slow stretches for muscles to decrease stiffness,” says Heo. It might also include recommendations for modifications of the environment to promote ease and independence of function.

Ultimately, our team of occupational therapists wants to help alleviate chronic pain and make it easier for you to fully enjoy everyday tasks and activities.

If you’d like to get more information on Beacon Hill Health Services or about our community, fill out the form below or call us at 630-620-5850.

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