An estimated 1 in 5 adults (46 million) and 1 in 250 children(294,000) are diagnosed annually with arthritis in the United States.
Further, the Centers or Disease Control and Prevention projects thatthe prevalence o arthritis will increase to 67 million adults by 2030.More than 100 infammatory and noninfammatory conditions arecategorized as arthritis and aect joints and the tissue surroundingthem.
The most common arthritic conditions are osteoarthritis(degenerative joint disease), childhood arthritis, bromyalgia, generalarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus(SLE or lupus). These conditions present with symptoms such asjoint and muscle pain, morning stiness, swelling, and atigue.Occupational therapy practitioners treat individuals with arthriticconditions to increase or preserve mobility so they are able to perormactivities that are necessary or desired in areas such as sel-care, homemanagement, work, and leisure and social participation.
Who Are Occupational Therapy Practitioners?
Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are health care proessionals who are committed toempowering individuals with arthritis to live lie to its ullest. Occupational therapy practitioners have specializedknowledge and skills to create or modiy environments that enable people to do those things they want and need to do.They have a thorough understanding o anatomy, pathology, and the physical and emotional demands that daily activitiesplace on the body. Occupational therapy practitioners engage clients in programs that increase their knowledge about thedisease process, show them how to manage pain and related maniestations, and promote their ability to participate inmeaningul activities (occupations).
Occupational Therapy’s Role in Managing Arthritis
The occupational therapy process begins with an evaluation to determine what the client wants and needs to do, and howthese activities are being aected by arthritis. It includes a thorough analysis o the client’s perormance abilities in orderto establish an intervention plan. The evaluation may include assessment o joint range o motion, muscle strength, painand sensation, and activity endurance. An occupational therapist evaluates a client’s need or orthotics/splints, adaptiveequipment, and home and work environmental modications. I a client undergoes surgery, appropriate postsurgicalprotocols are incorporated into the evaluation process and intervention planning.Intervention strategies may include:• Physical agent modalities (e.g., heat, cold) to assist with pain management, enhancing the client’s ability to perormdaily tasks• Techniques to manage or control edema and infammation, including limb elevation, compression garments,exercise, and splinting• Therapeutic activities and exercises to promote gross and ne motor control, range o motion, endurance, andstrength, thereby improving unctional abilities with daily tasks such as sel-care, home management, and work andleisure activities• Provision o custom or preabricated orthotic devices to assist with controlling pain, maintaining unctionalpositions o the hand, and enhancing unction
Occupational Therapy’s Role in
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