Could you benefit from physical therapy or surgery?
Looking for ways to ease your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pain? In addition to taking medication, a regular exercise program can really help, and a physical therapist (PT) and/or an occupational therapist (OT) are the people to see.
A PT can recommend range-of-motion exercise programs to help keep your joints functioning normally and keep you more active. A PT can guide you through exercises to stimulate your muscles, bones and joints.
A PT also can teach you ways to protect your joints, apply hot and cold treatment, and measure you for splints. Splints can help reduce pain and swelling in a tired joint. A doctor, PT or OT can help you choose a splint and make sure it fits properly.
Working with a physical therapist can help you assess the joint function, strength and the overall fitness of your joints. As your disease progresses, the PT can help you maintain or increase joint flexibility and strength.
An OT can explain how to do everyday tasks more easily, helping you enjoy a more independent lifestyle.
By analyzing your daily routine, the OT can identify simpler, more efficient ways to do the activities of daily living. For example, they may suggest self-help devices, like zipper pulls or handles that help you get on and off toilet seats.
Being as efficient as possible with everyday tasks leaves you more energy for the fun activities that matter most in your life. It also reduces frustration, which keeps you more psychologically fit.
Is surgery an option?
When medication and therapy are not enough, surgery can help improve the quality of life for people with advanced RA. The following surgeries are for those experiencing severe pain or significant loss of function: