Arthritis Physical and Occupational Therapy (cont.)

What Techniques Will I Learn?

You'll learn several techniques, including:

  • Rest. Bed rest helps reduce both joint inflammation and pain, and is especially useful when multiple joints are affected and fatigue is a major problem. Individual joint rest is most helpful when arthritis involves one or only a few joints. Custom splints can be made to rest and support inflamed joints and a soft collar can support the neck while you are sitting or standing.
  • Thermal modalities. Applying ice packs or heating pads, as well as deep heat provided by ultrasound and hot packs, can help relieve local pain. Heat also relaxes muscle spasm around inflamed joints. Heating joints and muscles with a warm bath or shower before exercising may help you exercise more easily.
  • Exercise. Exercise is an important part of arthritis treatment that is most effective when done properly every day. Your doctor and therapist will prescribe a program for you that may vary as your needs change.

What Therapy Is Offered for People Recovering From Joint Replacement?

Preoperative programs of education and exercise, started before joint replacement surgery, are continued at home. They may be changed in the hospital after surgery to fit new needs during the rehabilitation period. These exercises may be added to your usual exercise regimen, and you may find your ability to exercise has improved after surgery.

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