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National Arthritis Awareness Month


Arthritis is defined as joint inflammation. There are many types of arthritis, which may affect one or more joints of the body. Most joints have the potential to develop arthritis, which causes swelling, stiffness, decreased ability to move, pain, and possible deformity. If you have arthritis, you probably already know that, but did you know that physical therapy and occupational therapy can help with arthritis? Keeping arthritic joints stationary can worsen the pain and stiffness in them, yet moving them the wrong way may cause injury. How can you move them the right way to relieve pain and avoid further injury? This is one of the things an occupational therapist or physical therapist an help with. Let's looks at some other ways a these therapists can help:

-An occupational therapist or physical therapist can recommend adaptive equipment that will put less stress on your joints when performing the activities that you want or need to do. This could include a walker or cane for walking or a variety of equipment to help with self care skills that occur throughout the day.

-An occupational therapist or physical therapist can teach you in how to use compression garments and/or heat or cold properly to reduce joint stiffness and pain.

-An occupational therapist can make custom splints to rest or support or joints in a proper position during daily activities or while sleeping. A physical therapist can recommend braces and splints to support joints, and/or shoe inserts to relieve stress on the lower extremities.

-An occupational therapist or physical therapist can instruct you in proper positioning to prevent or minimize deformity and teach you proper posture and body mechanics for common daily activities in order to relieve pain and improve function.

-An occupational therapist or physical therapist can evaluate your home or workplace and suggest modifications that will make it easier for you to perform daily tasks. They can also suggest modifications to your environment, such as ergonomic chairs or a cushioned mat in your kitchen, to relieve pain and improve function.

-An occupational therapist or physical therapist can look at how you do your daily activities and suggest ways to do them differently to avoid stress on your joints, reduce pain, and conserve energy levels.

Sources: AOTA: http://www.aota.org/about-occupational-therapy/patients-clients/adults/arthritis.aspx#sthash.QVwGcImD.dpuf

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