April is the month that we honor occupational therapists with Occupational Therapy Month. Occupational therapists play a very important role in keeping all of us active and healthy as we age.

One of the most important things that occupational therapists do for us is to assist us with disabilities and rehabilitation. No matter if you have an illness or some kind of injury or even a permanent disability, your occupational therapist ensures that you can do everything that you want to do, to the best of your ability.

For many older Americans, OTs help them to deal with chronic pain of various types. According to the American Occupational Therapy Assn., more than 130 million Americans deal with some type of chronic pain.

If you have chronic pain, then you know: It creates many physical and psychological issues that can affect how much you engage in activities you enjoy every day. Chronic pain can reduce your strength, independence and coordination. It also can cause you so much stress that it leads to serious depression.

Your occupational therapist can help you to manage both the physical and mental aspects of the pain and to lead a more productive life. For example, an occupational therapist can assist you with chronic pain in these ways:

  • Identify specific activities or behaviors that may aggravate your pain
  • Teach you how to decrease the pain and its duration
  • Use therapy on you that may decrease your use of pain drugs
  • Collaborate with your health care team to determine how best to treat you
  • Recommend ways to use adaptive  equipment to reduce pain as you go about your day

So, during the month of April, let's take a few moments to recognize how important OTs are in helping older Americans to stay active and productive.

Your OT may also recommend various types of therapy and exercise equipment that can help to keep your pain down and to help with your workouts, such as the Cando Inflatable Balance Disc: