Rheumatoid Arthritis: How Occupational and Physical Therapy Can Make a Difference
Having a chronic, autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis means taking pills, staying in the hospital, and numerous doctor's appointments. Modern medicine tends to solve many problems that way - by throwing the next most promising drug at the issue and hoping that it will go away.
Science has done incredible things to develop life-changing medications. But don’t forget that treatment is about much more than medication - and this is especially true for a complex, life-long disease like rheumatoid arthritis.
Taking pills isn't the only way to treat your rheumatoid arthritis
Drugs just aren't going to cut it in rheumatoid arthritis. This chronic, progressive disease affects so many aspects of life - people are suffering from pain that can be so crippling they can't even go to the bathroom without help. Rheumatoid arthritis is incredibly challenging to treat and has a dramatic impact on someone's quality of life. To think that simply taking a pill once a day is going to solve everything is an unrealistic fantasy. Rheumatoid arthritis will require a full-fledged strategy that tackles many aspects of a person's life and physical body.
One of the most important components of rheumatoid therapy is occupational and physical therapy. Specialists that work in rehabilitation medicine are expertly trained to help you improve your musculoskeletal health and handle symptoms of your rheumatoid, optimizing not only your medical treatment but also your functional ability too. Improving function is an extremely powerful way to improve your quality of life and disease course, too.
The main goal is to preserve physical function and independence
The goal of both physical and occupational therapy is to preserve your ability to function physically. Most people with rheumatoid arthritis are familiar with the pain of an acute flare that can make it hard to simply get out of bed, let alone get anything done that you normally would. Cooking, cleaning, shopping - these all become unbearable when the pain hits. Losing your independence and ability to enjoy your hobbies can have a severely detrimental impact on your mental and physical well-being.
Therapy can help you find a balance and work around your limitations
Besides preserving function, physical and occupational therapy also help you improve bone and joint health. They also can help you circumvent your disease symptoms and limitations so you can still perform certain daily activities. It's all about balance, optimization, and creativity.
Physical therapy is for everyone, no matter how severe your disability may or may not be
Physical therapy is personally tailored to everyone. Some people have very severe disease resulting in dramatic limitations in function and disability. These patients benefit from specialized physical therapy that focuses on offering holistic interventions and exercise therapies that are designed to improve symptoms of rheumatoid and maximize daily functioning. Other patients who might suffer milder disability can still greatly benefit from physical therapy. These patients most likely will work with a therapist to develop a personalized exercise program that will maximize their general health.
Read on to lean more about occupational and physical therapy options, and how they can help with RA.