May is Arthritis Awareness Month

Arthritis is a term we’re all familiar with, but what do you really know about the condition? Generally speaking, arthritis refers to joint inflammation, but the overall condition encompasses much more.

Arthritis is a term for more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues which surround joints, and other connective tissue. The pattern, severity, and location of condition can vary depending on the specific form of the disease. In general, rheumatic conditions are characterized by pain and stiffness in and around the joints and the symptoms can develop gradually or come on suddenly.

Because there is no cure for arthritis, the focus of treatment is often on pain management. Many patients find physical therapy an essential part of treatment because it helps them cope with pain and disability caused by arthritis. The goal of physical therapy is to get you back to performing normal, everyday activities without difficulty.

Occupational Therapy as Part of Arthritis Management
An occupational therapist’s job is to help you regain ease of everyday tasks. In addition, occupational therapy emphasizes joint protection and proper body mechanics as far as daily activities are concerned. They teach you how to move in such a way that minimizes stress on your joints. Daily activities that can be affected include getting up out of furniture, lifting, bending over, reaching for objects, and gripping items.

Keeping a good range of motion is key to having the ability to perform daily tasks so the focus of therapy is to increase that range of motion of the joint. Building strength in the muscles surrounding the joint also is extremely important, since stronger muscles can better stabilize a weakened joint. Therapists teach you exercises that help preserve the strength of your joints and they show you the best way to move from one position to another.

If you are suffering from arthritis pain, we can help. One of our trained therapists can show you how you can benefit from therapy. Pain management is key…it’s time to start moving again!

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