Occupational Therapy for Autonomic Dysfunction

Common Difficulties associated with Autonomic Dysfunction

Autonomic dysfunction refers to a condition where the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which controls involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and temperature regulation, does not work properly. Common difficulties associated with autonomic dysfunction can vary depending on the specific aspect of the ANS that is affected. Some general difficulties include:

Orthostatic Hypotension

Tachycardia or Bradycardia

Gastrointestinal Issues

Temperature Regulation Issues

Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction

Sexual Dysfunction

Fatigue and Weakness

Exercise Intolerance

Cognitive and Memory Issues

Sensory Disturbances

Sleep Disturbances

How can Occupational Therapy help?

Occupational therapy (OT) can play a valuable role in supporting individuals with autonomic dysfunction by addressing the impact of these symptoms on their daily functioning and overall well-being. Autonomic dysfunction refers to a malfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates involuntary bodily functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and respiratory rate. Common conditions associated with autonomic dysfunction include dysautonomia and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).

Here are ways in which occupational therapy can help individuals with autonomic dysfunction:

Energy Conservation Strategies

Adaptive Equipment and Assistive Technology

Environmental Modifications

Orthostatic Training

Pacing and Activity Grading

Education and Coping Strategies

Joint Treatment Planning