Occupational Therapy Can Benefit Rheumatology Patients

The Rheumatologist—November 1, 2014

Imagine you have a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patient who’s struggling with her regular activities. It takes her seemingly forever to get ready in the morning because of her painful, swollen joints. She finds it hard to cook because she can’t grip pots, pans or milk gallons like she did before. She doesn’t want to socialize much, because she feels flustered managing her difficult daily routine.

For patients like this and others who face challenges due to their rheumatologic condition, occupational therapy (OT) may be just the help they need.

“Occupational therapists are key players in arthritis management,” says Theodore Fields, MD, director, Rheumatology Faculty Practice Plan, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York. Dr. Fields commonly refers patients with hand, wrist and elbow problems to OT. He finds that patients better manage their condition and activities of daily living with help from occupational therapists.

Here’s some of what goes on during OT sessions for patients with rheumatologic conditions. The therapist will:

Fluidotherapy, which involves dry heat provided by cellulose particles in a special machine, can provide relief to the hands and forearms in certain patients, says occupational therapist John Indalecio, OT, Hand Therapy Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York.

Read the full story at the-rheumatologist.org.


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