Easing arthritis pain
Pain associated with arthritis can be relieved by adapting your lifestyle.
More than one out of seven people suffer from some form of arthritis. Occupational therapy is an option to identify ways to prevent pain and discomfort from worsening.
When diagnosed with arthritis-pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints, pain or stiffness in the morning, or recurring or persistent pain and stiffness in the neck, lower back, knees, or other joints-patients can have an occupational therapist evaluate where they need to make adaptations in their life to continue their daily tasks with the least amount of discomfort.
"Occupational therapists can help those suffering from arthritis learn how to reduce stress in their joints to help them do everyday activities like driving and housekeeping with less pain and discomfort," says Tracy Steele, registered occupational therapist, supervisor, outpatient rehabilitation services at the University of Kentucky Hospital.
Occupational therapy can consist of going through a patient's daily routine to identify ways to reduce irritations to their condition. Daily tasks such as buttoning a shirt may cause great discomfort and pain. A simple task such as adding elastic or a fabric fastener to a person's clothing will reduce the need for buttoning.
Occupational therapists also recommend conserving strength and energy while completing daily living activities. While in the kitchen use more prepared foods, relocate commonly used items so they are within arm's reach, and use adaptive devices to make handles larger, reducing the patient's grip.
Exercise also helps arthritic patients maintain range of motion, keep endurance and reduce fatigue, and promote general well-being.
At the first signs of joint impairment, see your physician and ask about the benefits of occupational therapy. For more information about occupational therapy, call (606) 257-8001.
Here are a few tips to consider when diagnosed with arthritis:
· Maintain good posture
· Push rather than pull objects
· Use proper body mechanics
· Take rest breaks throughout the day
· Sit when working
· Don't use actions that promote discomfort
· Keep from falling heavily in a chair
· Keep joints from being in a position for too long
· Don't use tools or utensils with a small grip
· Don't pull sheets or blankets tightly over your feet