ASHT member talks arthritis with local paper
ASHT member Jamie Stevenson recently shared information on arthritis and hand therapy with her local paper.
The Doctor Is In: Has Arthur Come Knocking on Your Door?
By Jamie Stevenson
February 7, 2018
Polk Count Itemizer-Observer
Do you or someone you know suffer from joint pain? Are you able to tell weather changes before the official weather report?
If this sounds like you, you may have arthritis. While there is no cure for arthritis, there are treatments to help decrease pain and control any related deformities.
Actually, “arthritis” is not a single disease, but an informal way of referring to joint disease. Per the National Arthritis Foundation, “There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions.
People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis.”
Arthritis affects women more than men and its frequency increases with age. Common symptoms include swelling and pain in the joints, temperature increase in the joints and joint stiffness. Arthritis symptoms may come and go and can vary in severity. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain, inability to perform daily activities and may make it difficult to walk or climb stairs. Arthritis can cause permanent joint damage which may be visible, though often the damage may only be seen on X-ray.
Occupational/hand therapy can help a patient better manage the extreme symptoms that come with arthritis. Upon a referral from your doctor, a therapist can assess the source of pain, range of motion, strength, the functional use of the hand and help determine a plan of care. The therapist often will use heat or cold to help decrease pain symptoms and will educate the patient on how to use various available home modalities, as well as customize a brace or splint for better joint positioning. Patient education often includes the introduction to adaptive equipment or techniques for daily tasks, activity modification to decrease joint stress in the hand, and energy conservation. Exercises are often recommended to help keep the joints fluid.