Arthritis has become a prevalent condition among men and women, but in every case, patients don’t always require joint reconstruction surgery. Mild to moderate levels of arthritis can be cured with first line treatment. Physical therapy and occupational therapy fall under the first line treatment.
Patients with arthritis often suffer from stiff joints because they used to avoid movement which makes their joint muscle stiff, which eventually Stimulates pain. Orthopedic surgeons said that lack of movement with arthritis joints make the pain and stiffness worse. Thus, physical therapy makes the arthritis joint easy to move with less pain . A physiotherapist usually teaches you how to work on your stiffness without further damaging your joint. Again, occupational therapy teaches you how to reduce stress on your joints while performing day-to-day tasks. A certified occupational therapist will educate you on how to arrange your house and work space so that your movement is minimal, so that your arthritis pain is not further aggravated. They also give you splints to assist your wrist, and braces for your knee joint..
Physical therapy includes Musculoskeletal assessment, Pain management, exercise program to improve range of motion, muscle strength, aerobic conditioning, education about disease and management, Home programs, Gait analysis, and re-education
Occupational therapy includes functional assessment, Instruction in joint protection, educating about aids and assistive devices, Splinting, education about modifying daily activities, Modification of workplace and home arrangement to reduce unnecessary movement that can make your arthritis more painful.
Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis
The main objective of physical therapy is to make your movement flexible. It includes different types of stretching and bending exercises that stimulate your muscle, joints, and bones. After going through the physiotherapy procedure an arthritis patient gains enough strength at the affected joint. A certified physiotherapist has a clear idea about the working mechanism of bones, joints, and muscle and how they function together. When you’re in an early state of rheumatoid arthritis, physiotherapists check your overall fitness level, joint-muscle strength, and their functionality. Then he’ll prepare an exercise plan to make your joint healthy and flexible. Some physiotherapists make plans to engage each muscle and joint group. For overall fitness he will include exercise, heat-ice compression, and pain-relief massage which eventually improve strength and flexibility.
Exercise: This is the basic yet essential element of a physical therapy program. It will be designed according to your body capacity and fitness level; some experts also check muscle strength flexibility before assigning any stretching
Heat & cold therapy: Heat improves joint muscle stiffness and cold treats the swelling, redness, and inflammation of the arthritis affected joint.
Massage therapy: Massage therapy releases your overall body stress within 30 minutes. Massage has enough healing power. Experts recommend massage with therapeutic ayurvedic oil that has pain releasing capacity.
Motivation and counselling: Pain management is a lengthy process, which works with healing psychology, Motivation and affirmation makes the patient positive to overcome the pain
Occupational Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Occupation therapy makes a patient independent and active. Here occupational therapists give you all sorts of assistive devices to make you independent, and teach you simplest ways to make your day-to-day activity easier which limit your joint strain, find alternative ways to maintain regular tasks, and give proper guidance on how to use assistive devices. Rheumatoid arthritis makes it challenging to open the doorknob, undo the button, or any other activities that engage your fine motors. If you are facing difficulties with gross motor skill then the occupation therapist will help you in the best way around.
Many devices and equipment are available for patients that are designed in such a way that makes your life easy. When you’ve facing challenges with gross motor skill activities, the occupational therapist will give you some assistive devices like cushion grips, jar openers, and grab bars to make the work simple for you.
To limit the pain, you can apply heat before doing activities and ice-pack after completing them. To reduce the pain, occupational therapists may suggest a splint to support your joints that keep them in a straight normal position.
Science baked fact: A study has been performed with 53 years age old man (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC80550/)
When he was younger, associated with sports, but at the age of 22, he had a meniscectomy for torn medial meniscus of left knee. With increasing years, the intensity of pain gets severe, that’s why he found difficulty in long-distance walking. Due to severe pain and consequent inactivity he has gained 20 kgs which eventually affects his knee joint, and develops arthritis.
At that point of time, physical and occupational therapists work together to streamline a therapeutic program by assessing the musculoskeletal condition, range of motion, muscle strength, joint stability & alignment, and acuteness of arthritis. Then prepare a physical therapy to boost muscle strength, and joint flexibility.
The occupational therapist works on the patient’s lifestyle and improves his capacity to accomplish day-to-day activities, offering all kinds of assistance to prevent loss of functionality of joints. They also apply the principles of energy conservation and joint protection, educate arthritis patients about stress management techniques, as well as techniques to overcome fatigue, minimize stress on joints, and thereby boost performance in daily activities.