Role of the Physical and Occupational Therapists

Physical and occupational therapists provide assessment and active physical therapy for patients to improve their strength, endurance, and flexibility. They do not provide passive modalities for treatment. Therapists assist the patient in developing proper body mechanics and strategies for coping with the physical demands of a job and everyday life. They function mainly as teachers and coaches.

The occupational therapists review the patient's work history, disabilities, and factors that may play a role in determining the ability of the patient to return to the work force. They help in the establishment of "work-hardening" and training activities.

Some programs heavily emphasize ergonomic issues and use high technology in physical therapies; however, the need for this type of treatment is unclear.

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