Therapy and Rheumatoid Arthritis at MediLodge of Sterling Heights

About 1.3 million American’s suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), a serious autoimmune disease that wreaks havoc on the joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis has many symptoms, the most common complaint being pain and stiffness in the joints. Rheumatoid Arthritis is generally managed by medication with a combination of therapy. In the acute phases of RA, therapy may focus on relieving the pain and decreasing the inflammation. This may be done through use of modalities such as diathermy or ultrasound.

Moist heat has also been proven to be successful with relieving pain. If you wake up stiff in the morning consider taking a hot shower and stretching after. If your hands become stiff during the day, fill the sink with warm water and move your hands in the water. After the inflammation and pain have started to subside, therapy sessions will turn their focus to movement.

MediLodge of Sterling Heights

Patient and Therapist at MediLodge of Sterling Heights

The two most important points to remember for arthritis suffers are to keep your joints moving to prevent contractures and increased stiffness as well as joint protection. Patients need to be mindful of breaking down tasks and decreasing the stress on their joints as much as possible, as they complete their daily routines. Here are some main points to consider if you suffer from arthritis:

  • When in the kitchen, instead of lifting a heavy pot, reduce your stress by sliding it across the counter.
  • Consider keeping liquids in smaller containers; think a half gallon size or smaller. This will reduce the stress to your finger joints by reducing the need for a tighter stronger grasp when pouring liquids.
  • Keep a soft, padded mat in front of your sink or laundry tub to prevent the stress on your legs when standing for a long period.
  • Use built-up handled items, when able, to help ease the grasp needed to complete tasks (i.e. hairbrushes, pens, utensils, etc). This will help preserve your hands.
  • Use a reacher to obtain items off the floor and reduce bending as much as possible.
  • When performing prolonged tasks, such as laundry, cooking or gardening, be sure to change your position often.
  • Using a cane or walker can help to alleviate some of the stress on the joints in your legs, if you are affected in the lower body.

The key to relief is to not allow your joints the opportunity to become stiff. We treat many patients with complications from arthritis every day. Recently we had a patient here at MediLodge of Sterling Heights that suffered a severe exacerbation of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Two weeks prior he was working and hunting with his friends. He presented to us, unable to walk or dress himself. His hands were so stiff and inflamed that even feeding himself was a chore. Through the skills of our therapy staff, he regained complete function with adaptations, and was able to return home. Our therapists performed a home evaluation with him and his wife and provided recommendations for in home modifications so that he could preserve his joints and his independence for a safe, successful return home. The discharge planner assisted in obtaining the items needed and provided support for the transition home, helping to coordinate continued therapy services. It was an emotional discharge as he came in completely dependent on staff, and left dependent on only himself. He was trained in joint protection and task breakdown, using techniques such as the ones lifted above. As he came to the therapy department to bid fair well, he thanked us all for giving him his life back. We all wish him the best of luck and reminded him to keep moving and be mindful of protecting his joints.

For more information on locations and services, visit the MediLodge website.  Find us on Facebook for up-to-date pictures or watch our YouTube channel for videos of events and activities.

MediLodge of Sterling Heights

MediLodge of Sterling Heights



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