Healthy Tahoe: Occupational therapy’s effect on osteoarthritis
Many Americans live with pain and decreased range of motion in the hands, which can limit a person’s enjoyment and participation in daily activities.
During the month of April, we shine a light on Occupational Therapy, an important rehabilitation program that helps people of all ages do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners can help people with arthritis live life to its fullest by promoting mobility and safety, in addition to enhancing quality of life.
Arthritis is a common and well-known affliction, affecting one in four people on average every year, and it’s a leading cause of disability in U.S. adults. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and is a degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone. Often affecting middle age and older adults, osteoarthritis causes pain, stiffness and loss of muscular strength and reaction time, especially in the thumb, hip and knee joints.
Occupational therapy offers treatments to help manage pain caused by osteoarthritis, including splinting, hand exercises and thermal modalities. Splints can decrease pain and improve the strength of one’s grip and pinch, and hand exercises and thermal treatments can strengthen and restore muscular function.
At Barton Health, occupational therapists work with community members to restore a wide array of functions impaired or threatened by disease or injuries. Barton OTs utilize neurological rehabilitation, hand /upper extremity therapy, lymphedema rehabilitation, adaptive devices, and more to help patients regain their highest functional level of independence.
Amy Wallace specializes in hand therapy within Barton Rehabilitation’s medical offices in South Lake Tahoe, Stateline and Carson City. For more information about Barton’s certified hand therapy program, or any of the services provided by Barton occupational therapists, call 530-543-5720.
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