When should you be concerned about your mobility and chronic falling?
Functional mobility is an essential activity for daily living (ADL). When you are having trouble moving around independently, you may begin to experience decreased balance, increased forgetfulness, feeling a like you don’t want to go out as much, increased aches and pains, or feelings like you become winded more easily. All of these symptoms eventually lead to chronic falling – and it is directed correlated to your level of mobility!
Warning signs that should prompt you to seek a mobility assessment and outpatient therapy:
- You are tripping more often
- You have had an increase of ‘near miss’ falls
- You are falling more frequently
- You have an increased difficulty getting out of bed, up from your chair, out of your car, or off of your toilet
- You become tired quickly after walking a short distance
- When you walk, you find they you ‘veer’ off from a straight line without realizing what you are doing
- You begin walking with slumped shoulder and a wider base because you are fearful of falling
- You become dizzy or unstable when walking
- Standing up or sitting down quickly makes you dizzy
Some reasons why your mobility may be a problem:
- You may have a muscle imbalance.
- Your visual perceptual skills may not be in sync with your brain-muscle communication.
- Your brain’s ability to communicate with your muscles, or certain muscles, and joints may have slowed down.
- You may be experiencing generalized weakness throughout your body and require a full-body ‘tune-up’.
- Your body’s ability to understand where it is in space and adapt to various movements may be impaired.
- You may be experiencing a new stage in your progressive diagnoses like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or Multiple Sclerosis.
- You may require a mobility aid for safety and stability.
Areas of Practice
Upper Body and Lower Body Rehabilitation
In order to be functional experts, occupational therapists are fully trained in human anatomy- both upper body and lower body rehabilitation strategies and techniques. This allows us to address upper body and lower body diagnoses, posture, balance deficits, and more. We use various treatment methods such as exercises, stretching, training in body mechanics, massage and manipulation, endurance and stamina activities, stair climbing, walking training, and modalities such as e-stim, vibration, cold, and heat.
Vocational Rehabilitation helps you get back to doing what you love and find meaningful. If you have recently experienced a traumatic medical event, been given a diagnoses affecting your livelihood, or have a loved one needing support and training to enter the work-field for the first time, Buffalo Occupational Therapy can provide vocational rehabilitation for a reasonable cost.
Current research has revealed the human body goes through enough changes over the age 65 to demand a unique approach to medicine and rehabilitation. Buffalo Occupational Therapy uses a Neuro Therapeutic approach partnered with their knowledge of human development to treat older adults through Geriatric Rehabilitation.
Neurological Rehabilitation uses a variety of techniques and methods to promote neuroplasticity, neuronal re-patterning, and return of function to enhance daily living. It is used to help those who have been diagnosed with Neuro-related illness, like Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's, or Multiple Sclerosis, suffered a stroke, brain injury, or spinal cord injury.
Buffalo Occupational Therapy is specialized in applying kinesiology taping techniques to the skin in order to enhance neural plasticity, support recovery, offer joint support, reduce chronic pain, decrease nerve pain, and help correct muscle imbalances.
Adaptive and Durable Medical Equipment
Buffalo Occupational Therapy offers specialized advice on appropriate adaptive equipment and durable medical equipment for aging in place as well as maximizing independence when living with a progressive disease or chronic illness. Offering low-cost options to address your concerns is something we pride ourselves on, and if we can't offer you a solution, we will find someone who can!
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Environment and Home Assessments
Ensuring your personal physical environment and home environment is accessible and safe is just one area of occupational therapy practice. Buffalo Occupational Therapy is specialized in assessing your physical symptoms and needs and applying this information to creating a livable environment both now and throughout the course of your diagnosis. Occupational therapists seek to maximize independence to keep you living in the place of your choice.
Muscles and Bones
Your rehab specialist is well-versed in upper body and lower body function. We understand how muscles and bones are designed to heal and can, therefore, use our vast knowledge of the human body and it’s systems to decrease muscle imbalances, help you become stronger and more flexible, and increase your upper and lower body joint stability.
Neurocentric rehabilitation specialists understand the importance of starting at the source of movement and strength in order to yield the greatest and quickest results. We use many neurological-based therapy techniques such as neuromuscular re-education to increase your balance, standing tolerance, and joint stability.
Therapeutic Exercise and Therapeutic Activity
In our outpatient rehabilitation studio, we use many different techniques, strategies, tools, exercises and activities to increase balance, dynamic standing, and joint stability. Some tools and equipment we use are agility ladders, aerobic steppers, tandem walking surfaces, free weights, theraband, bosu balls, manual therapy, modalities, and much more! Doesn’t sound like occupational therapy? Read more about our hybrid approach to outpatient rehabilitation!
‘Real-Life’ Activities or Occupation-based Interventions
Occupation-based interventions are the most functional-based approach to rehabilitation. When you are invested in the activity and understand why you are doing something, your brain’s ability to heal and re-learn motor patterns improves exponentially! Occupational therapists are functional rehabilitation specialists which means we are experts in translating physical strategies into functional activities! We understand that performing a sit-to-stand in the studio is much different than getting up from your favorite recliner chair! Likewise, re-learning how to move your arm or walk in the studio is much different than feeling confident entering your home or moving about the community! Buffalo Occupational Therapy always bridges this gap and includes these real-life elements as part of our outpatient rehabilitation process!
- Ensure you are given a comprehensive evaluation by your therapist! It should include objective assessments, a work-up of upper and lower body strength and range of motion, a screen for reaction time and coordination, a cognition screen to ensure your memory has not been affected by decreased mobility, and a conversation or perceptual screen regarding your fear associated with falling.
- Commit yourself to at least 6-8 weeks of outpatient therapy after discussing the plan with your therapist. Improvement takes time! You can’t improve without commitment to a plan. True rehabilitation in mobility requires a commitment to a total-body approach. Results will and do come, but it takes the fully committed energy of both you and your therapist!
- Follow the Home Exercises Program (HEP) given by your therapist which will include exercises and stretches to promote balance, standing tolerance, and joint stability!
- If you live alone and have not had your house assessed, a home assessment is highly recommended. In this home assessment, a therapy practitioner will walk through your home and recommend way to increase safety, accessibility, and decrease potential fallings risks. A home assessment also allows the therapy practitioner to give you information of various pieces of adaptive equipment and durable medical equipment that may increase the liveability of your physical environment!
Are you facing a specific diagnosis or condition effecting your functional performance?
Check out some examples of conditions we treat through outpatient rehabilitation!
Helpful Page Definititions
Your body is complex and should be working synergistically with all of its parts. When some muscles have become weaker while others remain strong, an imbalance occurs which causes decrease balance, standing tolerance, and joint stability.
Activities of Daily Living
Occupational therapists are trained in occupations and activity analysis. An occupation is an activity that you believe is important to your life. There are many levels of occupations, but activities of daily living (ADLs) are the most personal activities and are usually the ones people find most important if they were to lose the ability to complete them.
- Bathing and showering
- Getting dressed
- Going to the bathroom
- Walking and getting up and down from a chair or car
- Eating and swallowing
- Sexual activity
- Personal hygiene and grooming
- Being able to use personal care devices like adaptive equipment and durable medical equipment
We incorporate visual perceptual elements into many treatments to enhance perception, balance, safety, cognition, memory, recall and neural excitation. Some areas of visual perception include form constancy, visual discrimination, figure-ground perception, visual closure, visual memory, and visual sequential memory.
As occupational therapists, we can assess functional movement and recommend adaptive equipment as well as durable medical equipment that will enhance your community mobility. Before we can make any recommendations, we must assess your ability to move and determine how you are walking and holding your posture, if you are presenting with muscle imbalances, the status of your upper body and lower body range of motion and flexibility deficits and finally, determine the status of your muscle stamina. After we complete this assessment, we can help you decide what mobility aid would be most appropriate for you, if any.
Types of mobility aids include cane (single point, quad cane, tripod cane), crutches, knee scooter, cane-crutch combination, walkers (4 wheeled walker, 2 wheeled walker, standard walker), walker-cane hybrid, hemi-walker, gait trainer, scooters, wheelchairs and more.
We will help decide what device would be most appropriate, help with positioning, and then train you on best practices to maximize your mobility!
NMRE is used by neurocentric occupational therapists to improve communication between your muscular system and nervous system. By promoting this stream of communication, you close the circle of recovery. Without NMRE, you can have the biggest muscles in the world and still experience mobility deficits due to poor reaction time, coordination, and mixed signals.
Occupational therapists treat the entire person. Much like your primary care physician, we were required to learn elements of the entire body so that we could treat holistically (a one stop shop). Because of this, your outpatient rehabilitation specialist will perform an evaluation that assesses the following things:
- Personal history
- Who are you? What do you do? What makes you tick? Why are you seeking outpatient therapy?
- Physical function (upper body and lower body)
- Strength, range of motion, and flexibility
- Neuromuscular function (brain to muscle communication)
- Coordination, speed, agility, and reaction time
- Cognitive and Mind health
- Short term memory, recall, information processing, and perception of illness
- Occupational Inventory (Activity and role inventory)
- Roles you play like a caregiver, spouse, parent, employee, etc.
- Mobility inventory like the places you need to go
- IADL inventory and what activities are required for you to be independent
- Other activities that are important to you