The goal of occupational therapy is to help people live as
independently as possible.
Occupational therapists use work, self-care, and
recreational activities to increase the flexibility and independent function of
people who have
rheumatoid arthritis and other long-lasting
conditions. This therapy can include:
Help and training in doing things like dressing, cooking, and eating.
Physical exercises to
increase good posture and joint motion as well as overall strength and
flexibility. For example, people who have hand and wrist stiffness may be taught to
exercise those joints right after doing the dishes, while the joints are warm
Evaluation of your daily living needs and assessment of
your home and work environments. The therapist can suggest changes in those
environments that will help you continue your
Assessment and training in the use of
assistive devices. These devices include special key holders if
hands are stiff, computer-aided adaptive equipment, and wheelchairs.
Fitting splints for the hands.
Specific hand-stretching and hand-strengthening exercises.
family members and caregivers.
Occupational therapists help people who have arthritis or other
chronic pain conditions to protect their joints and conserve energy. They also help these people expand their range of motion and strength. This helps maintain joint
function. For example, occupational therapists can teach techniques to avoid
applying excessive force on non-weight-bearing joints. And they can teach you how to avoid unnecessary
impacts on weight-bearing joints.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerNancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology