"Occupational therapy provides practical support to empower people to facilitate recovery and overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases people's independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life."
(Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2019)
Reducing and managing symptoms without additional medication....
Common symptoms include:
Worry, stress or anxiety
Difficulties with concentration or memory
Loss of motivation and drive
Interventions and treatments
I use a range of research-based interventions; and consider any triggers for each symptom. I consider interventions to manage current symptoms, and to reduce symptoms as far as possible.
Breathlessness: is a complex symptom. Not only is breathing affected by physical conditions, but also by our breathing patterns, and the way we think and function. Breathlessness often is accompanied by other symptoms such as low energy levels or worry.
Fatigue / low energy levels: Fatigue and low energy are very common during and after illness and treatments. It can also occur after periods of reduced activity as a result of muscles becoming weaker. I will provide information and suggest strategies in order to best utilise your energy, help reduce the good days/bad days impact and ideas for building up energy reserves and recovering fitness as far as possible,
Memory, and difficulty thinking or concentrating: These are common symptoms which can occur during and after illness, and sometimes as result of treatments; or as part of other symptoms, such as intense fatigue, stress or worry.
Pain: Pain may be due to physical conditions, poor posture, reduced activity, muscle tension and or stress. Many treatments (including mindfulness and hypnosis) successfully reduce and manage pain. I also will consider positioning, pressure care equipment, and ways to manage muscle tension.
Stress, worry, anxiety, and low mood: are natural reactions to difficult situations. They can cause overwhelming thoughts and considerable physical symptoms, affecting heart, breathing, digestion; and can have considerable effects on your daily activities. These affect most people in some way, and other people may have difficulty understanding how these reactions can take on a life of their own. There are many practical and complementary therapy techniques which are extremely effective for addressing stress, anxiety and low mood, and addressing these can often help improve other symptoms.
Sleep: Difficulties may include problems falling asleep or staying asleep. I will examine your sleep routine to identify factors to improve your sleep. This can include education about good sleep behaviours, changes to your sleep environment and introducing new routines. Often stress and anxiety play a part in sleep disturbance, and complementary therapies can be extremely helpful.
Sometimes life can become simpler and more comfortable with the addition of some small aids or items of equipment to keep you independent. Sometimes, a major adaptation, such as a level-access shower will be beneficial. I will suggest ideas if I assess there is a need, or feel they would be helpful.
If after assessment or during treatment I consider it would be beneficial for you to receive advice or support from another professional, I will discuss this with you. For example, this could include advice on structural/costing aspects for designing any adaptations, or onward referral for more specialist symptom management.