Advice on daily living

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It is often the simple things in life that are taken for granted. In our daily life, we use the weight baring joints for our mobility, and our hands for essential daily activity. Therefore we need to look at methods to maintain our function and cope with pain and physical restriction. An education program early on will go a long way to help the arthritis patient. Books are available to assist this. I recommend Kate Lorig's book - the arthritis self - help book strongly to give my own patients insight.

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Assessment should be made of the individual needs of the patient. Different joint involvement, results in different problems. Intervention requires as much control of the problem as possible but also requires a look at the external factors that can be adapted.  
Assistant devices for hand function. These include, finger or wrist splints, that correct deformity and stabilize the joints. The semi-static resting wrist splints are excellent for wrist pain and swelling, and are useful also at night, where there is a fair amount of movement in a restless sleep. Splinting of the thumb is also a frequent method to help pain for subluxed or dislocated joints Futuro resting splint for the wrist

Assistant devices for the lower limb. For the lower Limbs, a wide variety of assistant devices, from canes, to walker frames to wheel chairs are available.  
Modification of the house is advisable. Kitchen :Use of handle enlargers, simple devices to increase the width of the handle of utensils. Tap openers. Kettle supports with a tipping device. Two handled cups.

Toilet :Bath rails, and non slippery tiles are recommended. Toilet side rails help the person rise. The use of an elevated toilet seat. Hoists. Placing chairs in showers rather than lying in baths.

Dressing devices :Hooks for clothes, shoe horns, and lace locks or Velcro substitutes. Use of zip fasteners rather than buttons.

Car / vehicle adaption. Where possible power steering and automatic control is preferable to manual.

 
Conservation of energy This is very important - plan your day - avoid unnecessary trips. Dont forget your keys and have to go up and down steps to get things that have been forgotten. Spread shopping trips and avoid very heavy parcels at one time.  
Get help Ask your doc to refer you to an occupational therapist - who will guide you regarding activities of daily living.  
The waiting room

The consulting room

The examination room

The laboratory / Pathologist

Radiology / Xray room

The virtual office homepage

drdoc arthritis homepage