Older woman smiling next to her therapist.

How to Increase Your Range of Motion with Occupational Therapy

At Grand Lodge at the Preserve, the care and comfort of our residents is our top priority. We are committed to ensuring the health and well-being of the men and women who call our Lincoln, Nebraska, independent living community their home, which is why we offer a full complement of health services, ranging from skilled nursing to rehabilitation. We want to be able to provide for their every need, enabling them to live the lifestyle they desire.

Whether they know it or not, range of motion is a critical component of that lifestyle. Without it, even the simplest of daily activities can be a challenge. Fortunately, Grand Lodge has occupational therapists on staff who can help our residents measure their range of motion and develop exercises and techniques to preserve or impact their flexibility and mobility.

Your range of motion is a part of your daily life

Range of motion is the extent of movement for each joint in your body. It is the muscles in your hips, knees and shoulders, and maintaining a sufficient range of motion in each of them is essential to living independently. If your range of motion is limited or impaired, activities of daily living can become more difficult, from getting out of bed to riding a bicycle. To stay active and engaged, you need to be able to maximize your range of motion. A decline in your range of motion can also lead to increased pain and further complications, such as a fall.

Most older adults derive a sense of independence from their freedom to perform even the simplest daily tasks on their own, like bathing and dressing. Losing your ability to perform self-care tasks, housekeeping or even social activities can affect your quality of life. The good news is that occupational therapy can help you take back control of your life and the everyday activities that make it fulfilling.

The role of occupational therapy in improving range of motion

Occupational therapy is not unlike physical therapy, but there is a key difference that distinguishes between the two types of rehabilitative care. Whereas physical therapy is focused on physical movements of the body, occupational therapy goes a step further. There is still a focus on exercising areas of your body and maximizing your mobility, but occupational therapy does so with an eye towards helping their patients perform activities of daily life.

An occupational therapist can develop strategies and modifications to improve your functional independence. You will work with them to tailor a therapy plan to fit your needs, helping you reach your goals. Occupational therapy can be applied to every part of your body where range of motion is involved.

Hip Range of Motion

For better range of motion in your hips, which are the center of movement for your body, an occupational therapist might recommend a variety of different activities. Those activities could include lower body dressing, tub transfers, navigation of steps, neuromuscular reeducation or positioning (if wheelchair- or bed-bound). All of these exercises are designed to promote flexibility and mobility in your hips, which are pivotal to performing many day-to-day tasks.

Knee Range of Motion

Not a day goes by that you don’t use your knees. Being able to bend and straighten them is absolutely essential to your mobility. To address limited movement in your knees, an occupational therapist might recommend lower body dressing, navigation of steps, neuromuscular reeducation, positioning (if wheelchair- or bed-bound) and performance of functional transfers to the toilet, tub or shower. These can help maximize the range of motion in your knees.

Shoulder Range of Motion

Did you know that your shoulders have the ability to move more than most joints in your body? If you did, then you know how vital the range of motion in your shoulders is to your well-being. Limited flexibility in your shoulders can make simply reaching up or down a strenuous activity. Occupational therapists have used upper body dressing, upper body bathing, exercises with dowels, pulleys and a wall ladder, neuromuscular reeducation and neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) to advance the range of motion in the shoulder area.

Live independently with help from occupational therapy

Residents come to Grand Lodge to live independently. We understand how much your independence means to you, which is why occupational therapy is critical to our successful aging initiatives. You can work with our team to develop a plan tailored specifically to your own needs, so that you can get back to leading your own life and performing day-to-day activities at your greatest level of independence.

If you’d like to get more information on Grand Lodge at the Preserve Health Services or about our community, fill out the form below or call us at 402-489-8003.