Arthritis is a painful inflammatory condition of the joints, which can
be caused due to various reasons such as age degenerative process, infection,
trauma, etc. Arthritis is a compound term for joint problems like rheumatoid
arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondilytis, gout, etc. The disorder
can be accompanied by pain, which might vary in intensity and other symptoms
like swelling, stiffness, rigidity, insomnia, inability to perform everyday
activities, etc. Arthritis is one of the major cause of disability in
the United States.
While there is no known cure for arthritis, chronic arthritis can be effectively
managed through orthopedic treatment. This treatment focuses on managing
the pain while also restoring the functioning of the affected joints,
encouraging the restoration of everyday activities as far as possible.
Physical therapy performed in conjunction with orthopedic bracing has
been reported to show positive results in most patients. However, it is
important that the physical therapy is performed by a registered physical
therapist in consultation with orthopedic specialist to ensure that the
joints are not overstretched or strained beyond their range of motion.
While these exercises help to improve flexibility of the affected joints,
the orthopedic bracing is instrumental in restricting movement of these
joints, hence helping in strengthening them. In case of severe pain, orthopedic
treatment is combined with anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain, and
improve compliance with the treatment. Patients are also advised to undertake
lifestyle modifications, such as weight control and regular exercises.
In case all these methods are ineffective in alleviating the condition,
orthopedic surgery is used as the last resort. Known as joint replacement
surgery, this last line of treatment is usually needed in case of patients
with joint-eroding arthritis.
Research shows that occupational therapy, which is an integral part of
the orthopedic treatment of chronic arthritis, is more effective than
medication in treating certain forms of the disease, such as osteoarthritis
of the knee joint. When performed correctly, not only does this therapy
build strength, endurance, and flexibility; and restore normal activities
of the joint, but it also helps to delay surgical intervention. Patients
who undergo occupational therapy are gradually able to perform daily activities
using the affected joint. The advanced orthopedic equipment helps treat
the patient without the need of medication.