• What is occupational therapy?

    Occupational therapists are specially trained to help individuals identify challenges, overcome these challenges and get back to doing the things they love. Occupational therapy can help people of all ages, backgrounds and health statuses—from the permanently disabled to the temporarily injured. Here at West Hills Hospital , we place a high priority on personalized healthcare. At our Center for Fitness and Rehabilitation, our licensed occupational therapists look forward to meeting you and getting to know your health goals.

    How occupational therapy works

    The goals of occupational therapists are to help their patients overcome limitations that prevent them from completing the necessary tasks in life and from enjoying the lifestyle they love. An occupational therapist’s approach is holistic in that it considers the needs of the whole person and all areas of that person’s life.

    Occupational therapy is unlike other healthcare specialties. It is uniquely adaptable to each individual patient. With the help of the licensed provider, the patient decides what he or she wants to get out of occupational therapy.

    Occupational therapists often practice in hospitals. However, a patient’s particular needs can vary across different settings. In some cases, it may be appropriate to evaluate the patient’s home, school or workplace in person in order to best meet the needs of that individual.

    Who occupational therapy is appropriate for

    Occupational therapy can be helpful for young children, teenagers, adults and senior citizens. The following medical conditions may prompt a physician to refer a patient to an occupational therapist:

    • Stroke
    • Arthritis
    • Autism
    • Work-related injuries
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Traumatic brain injury
    • Chronic pain
    • Substance abuse

    Occupational therapists often work with patients who are recovering from surgeries, such as spine surgery. They may work with patients who have had cancer care or extensive burn treatments. Occupational therapists can also work with individuals who may not have specific medical conditions, but who do have concerns about their overall safety and well-being, such as aging adults.

    At West Hills Hospital, we are committed to providing superior care in all that we do. We’re pleased to offer our world-class Occupational Therapy program in addition to our superior emergency care, maternity healthcare and Cancer Care. To request a referral to an occupational therapy specialist in West Hills, call (818) 676-4321 and speak with a registered nurse at our hospital.

  • Restoring your strength after spinal surgery

    When nonsurgical treatments aren’t doing enough, spine surgery may help you reclaim your health and quality of life. For the best possible outcome, it’s essential that spine surgery patients have access to a comprehensive physical rehabilitation program. At West Hills Hospital , our spine surgery patients have the full support of our specialists at our Center for Fitness and Rehabilitation.

    Starting a rehabilitation program

    A physical therapist may begin working with you shortly after your spine surgery. Initially, he or she will focus on helping you manage pain and get back on your feet. After any surgery, physical movement is important to prevent post-operative complications, such as blood clots in the legs.

    As you recover, your physical therapist will introduce you to a customized program of stretches and exercises . Your active participation in your rehabilitation and your willingness to follow your therapist’s directions will support your recovery.

    Stretching key muscle groups

    Slow, careful stretching of certain muscle groups will support your physical conditioning and reduce the risk of internal scar tissue. Your physical therapist may guide you through stretches for your hamstrings and quadriceps. For example, you can perform a seated hamstring stretch as follows:

    • Sit on the edge of a chair.
    • Extend one leg in front of you.
    • Keep the heel on the floor.
    • Keep the knee straight and the toes pointed upward.

    Physical therapists generally recommend performing stretches slowly and holding them for 30 seconds. Patients may do two sets of three repetitions each day.

    Doing core strengthening exercises

    As you progress further in your recovery, your spine surgeon may clear you to begin performing core strengthening exercises. These can help support your spine health. Watch this featured video to hear a surgeon from West Hills Hospital explain the basics of improving core strength after spine surgery. You can do core strengthening exercises without stressing the spine. For example, your physical therapist may have you do the following exercise:

    • Get on your hands and knees on the floor.
    • Extend your right arm outward.
    • Extend your left leg backward.
    • Return to the starting position.
    • Extend the opposite arm and leg.

    Your physical therapist will make sure you’re performing exercises properly to avoid placing strain on your spine.

    At Center for Fitness and Rehabilitation at West Hills Hospital, you’ll find dedicated rehabilitation specialists who provide the compassionate care you deserve. We are a renowned spine hospital located right here in the West Hills community to give you the resources of a major medical facility without the lengthy drive. You can contact our nurse referral line at (818) 676-4321.