Etymology: (1913) From the ancient Greekἔργον, ergon (“work”) and θεραπεία, therapeía (“care, service”).

What is occupational therapy? Definition

Occupational therapy treats the functional impacts of various health issues, both motor and psychomotor. After an injury or illness, when you can no longer carry out your daily life, hobbies and work to your satisfaction, that is where occupational therapy comes in.

What is its goal? To restore and maintain the functional abilities of patients over the long term.

Occupational therapists can treat a wide variety of clients of all ages, from seniors to students. At CMI Clinics, we focus primarily on musculoskeletal conditions.

Example of conditions treated at CMI Clinics

  • Lumbar sprain
  • Back sprain
  • Whiplash
  • Shoulder sprain
  • Epicondylitis and medial humeral epicondylitis
  • Sprained wrist
  • Knee sprain
  • Sprained ankle
  • Tendinitis and/or tendinopathy
  • Other disorders of the upper or lower limbs
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

How does one become an occupational therapist? What education is required?

Occupational therapists require a graduate degree to practice the profession, namely a professional master’s degree in occupational therapy.

In Quebec, this training is provided by five universities: Université Laval, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke and McGill University.

Every occupational therapist at CMI Clinics is a member of the Ordre des Ergothérapeutes du Québec, which is only available after completing the university degree.


What does an occupational therapist do?

Occupational therapists aim to help you get back to work by looking at your situation as a whole. Gradual activation, with respect to your limitations and symptoms, will allow you to retrain your muscles and joints so that they can learn to perform as they used to.

Occupational therapists use activity as the primary means of rehabilitation because it helps you regain your independence and boost your sense of self-worth.

Adaptations and compensation strategies will be suggested to you to help you regain your independence as soon as possible.

In addition, some occupational therapists can address specific issues in greater depth. This is especially true of the hand therapy division. At CMI Clinics, we have some of the rare “Certified Hand Therapists” on our team.

Please feel free to consult our pages on Hand therapy or on Mental health occupational therapy.


When and why should you see an occupational therapist?

After an accident or injury, it is important to have a period of rest to let the pain subside.

Afterwards, if you notice any difficulties in your day-to-day activities or in performing your job, you should talk to your doctor about starting occupational therapy as soon as possible.

It is also possible that your health care professional will recommend occupational therapy when he or she feels your condition allows it. This will help the rehabilitation process so that you can regain your independence quickly.

Occupational therapy is particularly important to prepare you for a return to work, especially after a long absence from the workplace. It will allow you to return to all of your work tasks safely and sustainably.

Your occupational therapist will support you during this process to ensure that everything goes smoothly and to avoid a relapse. Your occupational therapist can work with you in the gym and also in the workplace if it becomes relevant.

Occupational therapy follow-up is accessible without a prescription for private consultations. However, you will need a medical prescription to be covered by the CNESST and the SAAQ.


How do we define a treatment program in our occupational therapy clinic?

The first occupational therapy session is always an assessment of your functioning and symptoms. First, your occupational therapist will ask you questions to get to know you and to understand how your injury interferes with your daily life.

The aim is to understand your social and physical environment.

Then, he or she will suggest tests and scenarios to determine your residual abilities. He or she will then establish goals and a treatment plan with you.


So, what should you expect from a session in our occupational therapy clinic?

During the next sessions, your occupational therapist will present you with a personalized plan including activities, exercises, stretching and scenarios. This will allow you to gradually regain your functional abilities so that you can safely return to your daily activities and your job.

He or she will also teach you strategies and tips to help you manage your symptoms and prevent future injuries.

Please note: Your occupational therapist may ask you to wear sports shoes and comfortable clothing to make your physical rehabilitation more enjoyable. You may also be asked to bring your own sports or work equipment to better understand the physical demands of your activities.

Do not forget your face mask!

The techniques we use in occupational therapy

At CMI Clinics, occupational therapy services are always tailored to meet your specific difficulties. We know that each rehabilitation process is different and it is important for us to adapt to your needs. Your occupational therapist can therefore offer you a wide variety of services.

The most commonly used techniques are the following:

  • Progressive activity program
  • Resumption of activities at home
  • Resumption of significant activities
  • Simulation of work tasks
  • Planning and support to return to work
  • Active listening and psychosocial support
  • Education on the injury or symptoms
  • Teaching of postural hygiene principles
  • Education on safe work techniques
  • Teaching of pain management strategies
  • Functional skills development program

What about occupational therapy in mental health? Treatment for depression, burnout or adjustment disorders

Mental health occupational therapy is a deeper branch of the discipline, in that it treats people whose mental health impairs their daily autonomy and prevents them from resuming their activities.

The patients we treat suffer from adjustment disorders, exhaustion, burn-out related to their professional activities or not, or depression, among other conditions.

Mental health occupational therapy also plays an important role in prevention. If you experience signs of fatigue, lassitude or a loss of motivation, you can start a follow-up in occupational therapy.

What is the difference between physiotherapy and occupational therapy?

Physiotherapy and occupational therapy have many similarities and can complement each other. Both disciplines play a preventive role for patients.

Physiotherapy focuses primarily on the body by treating the patient’s injury, while occupational therapy also deals with the consequences that may accompany an injury.

The role of the occupational therapist is to address a situation of disability due to an accident or injury, so that the patient can regain autonomy in their daily life.

Occupational therapy can treat some conditions in more depth, through mental health occupational therapy or hand therapy.

Costs & coverage: the cost of an occupational therapy treatment

Most group insurance plans reimburse a portion of the treatment costs. You will be given a receipt after each occupational therapy treatment.

Public insurers such as the CNESST, SAAQ and IVAC cover the entire costs of occupational therapy treatments. A medical prescription will be required.

We offer occupational therapy services in our 6 clinics in the Montreal area. Looking forward to working with you!

Contact us for more information on occupational therapy treatments and insurance coverage.

The cost of an occupational therapy session is not covered by the RAMQ.

Contact us for more information on occupational therapy treatments and insurance coverage.

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