SOMC’s Occupational Therapists Helping Patients Overcome Challenges

For many, therapy after an injury or illness has become a commonly known step in healing. The Occupational Therapy staff of Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Rehabilitation Services helps patients overcome this great challenge to lead more rewarding lives.

“When my therapy came to an end, it’s odd, but I was honestly sad to be finished,” recent patient David Malone says.“The team became like a family to me and I’m so thankful for all the encouragement and support they provided to get me where I am today.”

The SOMC Occupational Therapy program helps patients regain movement throughout their bodies and also helps return them to the normalcy of everyday life.

“Occupational therapy doesn’t mean helping you in ways that only affect your ability to work,” Mandy Meeker, occupational therapist at SOMC, said. “It really means helping you be able to do things that occupy your life, like getting dressed, writing a letter, socializing or even golfing.”

When Malone started experiencing severe discomfort in his left shoulder in early 2005, he thought it was nothing serious and that the pain would soon go away. “The pain definitely didn’t go away,” he says. “It got to the point where it hurt to even lift my arm, so I went to the doctor to find out what was wrong.”

After an examination, it was determined that Malone was suffering from a severe rotator cuff tear – an injury that often leaves patients unable to complete even the easiest of daily activities. Because of the severity of Malone’s injury, he underwent a total of four surgeries in both his arms over a period of two years.

To increase his ability to use his arms and shoulders after surgery, Malone was ordered to complete six-week sessions of occupational therapy. Malone’s sessions took place three times a week in increasing increments as his ability to use his arms improved.

“We had Dave use a variety of activities including stretching, medicine ball activities and various levels of strengthening exercises to assist him in returning to his prior functional status,” Meeker said. “It was a lot of work, but he stayed with it, and now he’s able to do all the things he loved to do before his surgery.”

The SOMC Rehabilitation Services staff provides assistance to a variety of inpatients and outpatients, including those suffering from back and shoulder problems, neck injuries, arthritis, sprains, stroke and work-related injuries.

“We see various types of orthopedic injuries such as rotator cuff injuries, upper body nerve impingements, fractures and repetitive movement syndromes,” Meeker said. “We also treat patients with lymphedema, urinary incontinence, neurological disorders and in pediatrics.”

SOMC has Rehabilitation offices located in Portsmouth, Lucasville and Wheelersburg. To learn more about the program’s services call 740-356-7554.