Serving the Greater Kalamazoo Area

The Therapy Place is Ready to Help

The staff at The Therapy Place in Kalamazoo, MI, cares about your and providing adult patients with expert occupational therapy for physical health, illness, or injury. To achieve this, it is our mission to help you live life to the fullest by promoting health and helping you better accommodate illness, injury, or disability.

Our Services

  • Physical Health Services: Fall Prevention/Balance/Vertigo, Cognitive Disorders, Pain Management , Chronic Conditions, Joint/Musculoskeletal Disorders.
  • Mental Health Services: Sensory Processing Disorders, Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia, Anxiety/Post Traumatic Stress Disorders, Depression, Developmental Disabilities, Brain Injuries/Concussion.
  • Other Services: Caregiver Training, Adaptive Equipment Assessment, and Home Evaluations.

Occupational therapy also may address issues, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Anxiety.
  • Brain injuries.
  • Chronic conditions.
  • Cognitive disorders.
  • Depression.
  • Developmental disabilities.
  • Pain management.
  • Sensory processing disorders.

Balance/Fall Prevention/Vertigo

Slips, trips and falls around the home are frequently the cause of injuries to older adults.

At least one out of every four adults over the age of 65 falls each year, but falls are not a natural part of the aging process. With the help of occupational therapy for illness or injury, older adults can take steps to reduce fall risk and safely increase their involvement in the activities of daily living.

There are many causes of falls. Generally, these are influenced by a combination of personal, environmental and activity-based factors. Personal factors include illness, behaviors, physical capabilities, medications, and fear of falling. Environmental factors include hazards in the home and the proper use of adaptive equipment.

Specific activities can place an individual at risk for a fall when the demands of the activity exceed their abilities. These people often overestimate their abilities and take too many risks. Other people are so concerned about falling that they cut back on appropriate activities. This approach can lead to a loss strength and balance, which may increase the risk for falls.

How Occupational Therapy Can Help

Occupational therapists are trained to use the most effective treatments for fall prevention which include those that address multiple risk factors at once. These include treatments for poor balance, leg weakness, underlying medical conditions such as vertigo, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, side effects of medications and the fear of falling.

Occupational therapists also are trained to identify and resolve risk factors in the individual’s home environment. These include:

  • The proper use of adaptive equipment.
  • Unstable or nonexistent handrails.
  • Loose carpets and throw rugs.
  • Poor lighting.
  • Clutter.
  • Pets.
  • Uneven sidewalks and thresholds.

Occupational therapists focus on a person’s ability to participate in desired daily life activities or “occupations.” Aging can affect this ability, whether we continue to live in familiar surroundings or transition to new ones. As our population continues to grow older, occupational therapists have an important role in fall prevention to help older adults maintain their life activities.

Chronic Conditions

Chronic conditions include heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and obesity.

Approximately 75% of health care dollars in the United States go toward treating chronic diseases per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Occupational Therapy Can Help

Occupational therapists are skilled in prevention, lifestyle modifications, and physical and psychosocial rehabilitation. They focus on enabling individuals to participate in productive and meaningful activities of daily life which is particularly relevant to those who need to manage a chronic disease.

Depending upon the specific condition, occupational therapy goals for individuals with chronic health conditions include the following:

  • Addressing performance deficits in the activities of daily living and home management tasks to sustain or improve the current status in these areas.
  • Teaching strategies to incorporate activity modification techniques into daily activities to cope with physical demands and reduce fatigue.
  • Specific adaptations to help the individual continue to perform critical health management tasks.
  • Teaching and incorporating health management tasks into existing habits so they become part of the daily routine to ensure those tasks are completed.
  • Developing coping strategies, behaviors, habits, routines, and lifestyle adaptations to support physical and psychosocial health and well-being.

Occupational therapists understand the emotional challenges associated with living with a chronic condition. These emotions include anger and depression, feelings of uncertainty about the future, and changes in relationships with family and friends. Occupational therapists recognize that well-being is more than controlling symptoms or managing daily tasks.

As a result, treatments focus on what is meaningful to each individual. Engaging patients and caregivers to take charge of their own care and to sustain important the responsibilities and relationships is an essential part of occupational therapy. This approach allows each individual control over the effects and progression of their condition to the best extent possible.

Cognitive Disorders

Cognition refers to information-processing functions, including attention, memory and executive functions such as planning, problem solving, self-monitoring and self-awareness.

Functional cognition is the interaction of cognitive skills and self-care, and community living skills. It refers to the thinking and processing skills needed to accomplish complex everyday activities such as household and financial management, medication management, volunteer activities, driving and work.

Occupational therapists focus their interventions on the relationship between the individual’s cognitive skills, functional performance and the environment to enhance the daily life of patients.

Impairments in functional cognition are common and can result from multiple causes, including:

  • Human genetics and/or development (e.g., environmental deprivation, fetal alcohol syndrome, learning disabilities and pervasive development disorders).
  • Neurologic disease, injuries, and disorders (e.g., stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, dementias, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and lupus).
  • Mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, substance use disorders).
  • Transient or continuing life stresses or changes (e.g., anxiety disorders, stress-related disorders, pain syndromes, grief and loss).

How Occupational Therapy Can Help

Occupational therapists are experts at addressing the effects of cognitive deficits on daily life. Using a person-centered perspective, they work with the individual, family and others involved in their lives to set collaborative goals and interventions. These usually begin with basic activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and grooming and will progress to more difficult tasks such as preparing meals and completing other daily activities, driving or returning to work, enabling that person to enhance their quality of life.

Joint-Musculoskeletal Disorders

Occupational therapists have an important role in treating people with joint and musculoskeletal disorders.

These disorders often result in problems with performance of activities of daily living for which occupational therapists have the training and knowledge to effectively treat.

The following are examples of joint-musculoskeletal disorders:

  • Hip and knee replacements.
  • Shoulder and rotator cuff issues.
  • Arthritis and rheumatic diseases.
  • Fractures.
  • Dislocations and subluxations.
  • Ligament injury and instability.
  • Muscle strains, tears and avulsions.
  • Tendon injuries and conditions.
  • Nerve injuries and conditions.
  • Wounds and scars.

How Occupational Therapy Can Help

As a holistic, evidence-based profession, occupational therapy’s approach to the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders goes beyond treatment of an isolated area to include the whole person and his or her functional needs and roles in their daily environment.

Occupational therapy interventions are designed to meet the needs of that individual and may include the following as part of a comprehensive plan of care:

  • Therapeutic activities and exercise.
  • Pain management.
  • Joint protection and energy modification for daily activities.
  • Scar management.
  • Sensory re-education.
  • Orthotic design, fabrication, fitting and training.
  • Work conditioning.
  • Training in activities of daily living and adaptive or assistive devices.

Pain Management

Chronic pain is a major public health problem.

One in four Americans have some form of persistent pain. It has multiple causes including accidents and injuries, muscular-skeletal issues, medical conditions such as fibromyalgia and migraines, post-surgical issues and diseases. Chronic pain can lead to increased dependency on others, loss of work and family roles, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, social isolation and an overall reduced quality of life. Many people turn to pain medication including opiate drugs, which have resulted in over 60,000 deaths due to overdoses.  

How Occupational Therapy Can Help

Using a self-management approach, occupation therapists focus on helping individuals participate in daily activities in adaptive ways. Therapists also teach patients about the neurophysiology of pain response, their specific pain diagnosis and non-medical approaches used to manage pain.  

Occupational therapists use the following approaches to manage pain:

  • Proactive pain control.
  • Safe body mechanics and ergonomics.
  • Neuromuscular re-education.
  • Muscle tension reduction training.
  • Communication skills training.
  • Proactive problem solving.
  • Pacing activities.

Occupational therapists have a broad view of pain and its causes, enabling them to offer treatments to ensure success. Our approach to effective pain management is client-centered care, promoting optimal independence and satisfaction with performance. We use an evidence-based, integrated approach without medication to treating acute and chronic pain.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please call and speak to one of our therapists at (269) 544-2901 or send us an email.

The American Occupational Therapy Association is a contributing source for this information.