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Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy

  • Referral to physiotherapy and occupational therapy are integral to the management of musculoskeletal disease; both inflammatory and non-inflammatory conditions.
  • The physiotherapist will work to optimise joint range of movement, muscle strength and function alongside medical treatments.
  • The physiotherapist will often work with an occupational therapist as part of the assessment and management plan. They also play an important role in helping young people to adjust their routine to minimise fatigue and interruption into school, play or sports activities. 
  • Occupational therapists work with young people and their families to enable people to participate in activities of everyday life. Occupational Therapists focus on activities that young people want to do (e.g., leisure), need to do (e.g., self-care tasks) or are expected to do (e.g., attend school).  Occupational therapy supports young people to engage in their meaningful activities by modifying the task, the environment or personal factors (e.g., fatigue).  

Specific roles of the physiotherapist:

  • Promote normal development and activity for all children.
  • Assess and treat movement, joint stiffness, muscle weakness and abnormal walking patterns.
  • Develop a personalised home exercise programme with patient and family.
  • Liaise with school or preschool especially around physical activities.

Specific roles of the occupational therapist:

  • Promote independence and activities of daily living e.g., washing/dressing, attending school, play.
  • Liaison with school to enable participation in lessons, exams, fatigue management 
  • Promote participation in school-based activities - including school attendance, exams, physical education, recording written work and fatigue management strategies.
  • Promote participation in leisure activities and support young people to continue to engage in activities that bring them joy and fun.
  • Promote participation in activities at home – such as self-care tasks, household chores and family life
  • Support a young person’s future self and wellbeing by supporting them with fatigue management, sleep hygiene, early anxiety strategies, non-pharmacological pain management and information regarding living with a chronic illness.
  • Assess physical skills as a part of the MDT that impact on activity participation – including hand function, mobility and transfers, and range of movement.  Occupational Therapists may provide splints to maintain hand function if it is indicated. 

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