Arthritis is a long-term condition that can seriously affect the quality of life of the person suffering from it. The symptoms of arthritis, mainly the pain, inflammation, swelling and limited mobility of the affected joint, can be reduced through medication, whether it is prescription or over-the-counter. On the other hand, there are forms of treatment such as physical and occupational therapy, that can improve the quality of life by protecting the joints and restoring their mobility. These therapies are highly recommended for arthritis sufferers who want to improve their quality of life.
Physical and occupational therapy for arthritis
In physical therapy, a licensed practitioner, who specialized in this branch of medicine, teaches the patient different ways to reduce stiffness and pain of the joints without damaging them further, which is very important, since joints play a very important role in everyday life. Physical therapy achieves these goals through series of carefully designed exercises that should be repeated every day. Rest and thermal modalities, such as applying cold or hot compresses, are also taught. The patient can first learn them from the therapist and then use them daily at his or her home, workplace or other places.
Occupational therapy is somewhat similar to physical therapy. It teaches a person how to reduce strain to the joints affected by arthritis during everyday activities. It also teaches who to adapt and modify the workplace and home environment so it is more suitable for reduced motions.
Physical and occupational therapists may also recommend assistive devices or splints that are very useful in activities such as driving, dressing, gardening, bathing, housekeeping and such.
Joint protection techniques
In arthritis, it is very important to reduce strain and stress, not to mention trauma, to those joints that are affected by inflammation. There are techniques that can be learned in order to reduce those effects on the joint and thus gain more joint mobility and less severe symptoms.
One of those techniques is to avoid weight gain, especially if arthritis is affecting the weight-bearing joints, such as knees, ankles and hips.
Another technique is learning to control the posture. Posture is very important because, if incorrect, it puts too much strain on certain joints.
These techniques also involve being aware of the symptoms and reacting to them appropriately, resting whenever it is possible, using correct and proper body mechanics during daily activities, using stronger joints in order to spare the inflamed ones, distributing pressure and avoiding certain motions that are known for aggravating the arthritis.