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Therapeutic Activities

Therapeutic Activities

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physical therapist helping a patient perform therapeutic activity
What Are Therapeutic Activities?

Therapeutic activities, also known as activities of daily living (ADLs), are daily tasks and activities that people perform as part of their normal routine. They vary from person to person, especially considering their age and health journey. Therapeutic activities, when incorporated as part of a complete treatment plan, allow patients to train for the challenges they encounter during their daily lives.

This helps to encourage and optimize efficiency, decrease pain, and minimize the likelihood of future injury. This treatment can help correct harmful habits and abnormal movement patterns, while giving patients the confidence to perform daily tasks normally.

Therapeutic activities work to build coordination, improve form, and correct motor programming. It can often be confused with therapeutic exercises, which focus more on building strength, endurance, and muscular function.

The purpose of therapeutic activities is to help improve a patient’s functional abilities and how they interact with their environment. It identifies any limitations the patient may experience with specific activities, and works to solve them with practice or environmental changes.

This can involve making the task simpler or practicing specific actions of the task to gain more efficient motor programming. Overall, this treatment strategy helps to identify possible challenges a patient may experience with ADLs and works to make the necessary changes to improve the efficiency of that task.

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Who Can Benefit From Therapeutic Activities?

Therapeutic activities can be utilized differently to help patients based on their unique needs. Anyone receiving care from a physical therapist should have some component of therapeutic activities incorporated into their treatment plan. Here are some examples:

  • Fiber and fluid intake for individuals with constipation 
  • Proper form during lifting, twisting, and bending for individuals with back pain or prolapse
  • Transfer training for getting into and out of bed, or up and down from the ground

Whether the task is straightforward or more complex, it can be broken down into smaller components. These individual components can be improved with therapeutic activities to enhance a patient’s daily life.

For example, getting into and out of bed may seem simple, but it requires specific movement patterns and breath coordination. When an individual has back pain or experiences dizziness, they will oftentimes move with a compensatory motor pattern that is less efficient and can actually cause more stress and strain on the body. Over time, this can make their condition worse.

In therapy, however, we can break down these seemingly “simple” tasks into their individual components and work on establishing a better, more efficient motor pattern. This will help the patient minimize or eliminate pain and improve their quality of life.

Our physical therapists at Hive Therapy and Wellness will carefully examine and discuss your individual needs with you. Utilizing other physical therapy treatments, in conjunction with therapeutic activities, may be necessary to provide you with the best care experience possible; therefore, this treatment will likely be part of a more comprehensive plan of care.

What to Expect From Therapeutic Activities

This treatment involves specifically identifying what it is you are struggling with as it pertains to activities of daily living. It is important to be as specific as possible so that your therapist can determine the most appropriate training methods to utilize throughout your plan of care.

For example, if you have trouble using the stairs daily, it is important to note how many stairs you have to navigate, if there are 1 or 2 railings, and if it is more challenging going up or going down the stairs.

You can expect this treatment to be a slow and steady progression towards reaching your goals or ability to perform daily tasks properly. It requires both patience and consistency throughout your care plan. We ask that patients receiving this treatment be open-minded and willing to change how they perform their daily activities—even if it means completely reworking tasks from the ground up.

Over the course of your training, you will want to discuss with your physical therapist any successes or struggles you experience with your daily activities as changes are made. This way, the physical therapist can make any modifications if necessary.

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