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 causes 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 physical therapy is performed by a registered physical therapist in consultation with an Orthopedic Specialist to ensure that the joints are not overstretched or strained beyond their range of motion. While these exercises help to improve the 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 exercise. 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.