Physical and Occupational Therapy for Arthritis – An Introduction

Physical and occupational therapy for Arthritis can benefit patients immensely as arthritis is a very challenging condition that’s accompanied by intense pain, which most people will be unable to cope with.

physical and occupational therapy for arthritis

Access to physical and occupational therapy for arthtiris is very low and hard to come by

Therapy for Arthritis – The Basics and Types

To learn about the different types of therapy for arthritis that a patient can opt for, you need to be well versed about the condition and what exactly it entails. This will help you understand the intricacies behind the treatment in a better fashion.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is defined as a joint disorder which involves inflammation. It is accompanied by extreme pain. Over 100 different types of arthritis have already been defined – and the number keeps growing.

In fact, so widespread is this joint disorder that a study conducted for the US National Arthritis Data Workgroup found that 21% of US adults (46.4 million people) have self-reported, doctor diagnosed arthritis.

The Need for Therapy for Arthritis

physical therapy for arthritis

Physical therapy for arthtitis focuses on strengthening the joints

Arthritis is often accompanied by excruciating pain and stiffness of joints. The joints often appear swollen, red and tender under this condition. Given the pain and the accompanying fatigue, arthritis patients will often be unable to indulge in normal activities, affecting the quality of their life. Patients will also note their range of movements becoming increasingly limited as the arthritis progresses.

Research shows that access to physical and occupational therapy for arthritis is often difficult for most patients. According to a study carried out at the Montreal University in Canada, only 11.5% of family physicians and 31.7% of rheumatologists referred patients with arthritis to rehabilitation.

Only 21.6% of patients felt that they needed to be rehabilitated. The sample size for the survey was 600 family physicians and 85 rheumatologists in Quebec. This shows that the efficacy of physical and occupation therapy for arthritis is yet to be fully understood.

Physical Therapy for Arthritis and Rehabilitation

Research indicates that physical exercises can be helpful in mitigating the symptoms of arthritis.

  • Physical therapy for arthritis done under proper supervision can help in improving muscle strength and flexibility. Stronger muscles will help you support the weaker joint.
  • Such therapy can increase your range of movements and help in pain management.
  • Physical therapy for arthritis involves a range of exercises that are designed to retain the strength of your joints.
  • It focuses on teaching arthritis patients on how to use their joints. The exercises will provide guidance to stiff arthritic patients on how to move from one position to the other. Physical therapy for arthritis will focus on getting patients to make movements without further damaging the joints.
  • The ultimate goal of physical therapy rehabilitation is to get a patient back to the point where he can perform normal activities minus the excruciating pain.

Occupational Therapy for Arthritis and Rehabilitation

occupational therapy for arthritis

Occupational therapy for arthritis focuses more on lifestyle modifications

Occupational therapy for arthritis involves therapists working with arthritis patients to go about their daily activities. This can be done in several ways.

  • Occupational therapists will work to modify the home or work environment so that patients can carry out their normal activities without putting too much stress on their joints.
  • A therapist will work with patients and teach them how to use their arthritic joint correctly while doing their normal, everyday activities.
  • If required, occupational therapy rehabilitation will involve the development of various aids and assistive devices that can help in easing activities like bathing, driving and housekeeping.

Difference Between Physical and Occupational Therapy

Physical and occupational therapy for arthritis are focused on entirely different aspects. Unlike physical therapy, occupational therapy does not directly treat the arthritic joint. Rather, it focuses on trying to improve the patient’s functionality. This is done by conducting on-site assessments of the patient’s home and work environment.

Occupational therapists will then make suggestions on how to make these environments more conducive and less stressful. The physical therapist on the other hand will be more concerned with the treatment of the aching joint.

Physical and occupational therapy for arthritis can definitely provide additional help in managing the condition. Using these rehabilitation techniques as arthritis remedies will help in improving quality of life of arthritis patients.


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