Marisol Monasterio, OTR, CHT
Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints of your body. Deformity will occur if stress is placed on these joints, especially over a prolonged period of time. Therefore, it is very important to understand that damage can be done to your joints when the disease is in its active and inactive phase. You can prevent unnecessary joint damage and minimize pain due to unnecessary stress by assessing your daily activities and modifying your habits, as well as following a number of exercises that will help you increase joint motion and flexibility.
PROTECT YOUR JOINTS: joints tend to deform in a flexed of bend position. Arthritic joints are vulnerable to pressure that decreases space and circulation.
- Knees: Do not sleep with a pillow under your knees at night
- Hips: try to keep your hips straight. Lay over your stomach up to ½ an hour every day
- Elbows: do not lean over your elbows while seating. Relax your elbows over a pillow, resting them at 30 degrees flexed.
- Hands: Avoid pushing yourself up from a sitting position, avoid resting your head over your knuckles (try over the palm of your hand), avoid excessive use of the thumbs for lateral pinch and to pick up heavy objects( use your bigger body areas such as your forearms).
AVOID HOLDING JOINTS OR USING MUSCLES IN ONE POSITION FOR A LONG TIME
Maintaining a grasp or one position for a long period of time causes muscles to fatigue quickly. Tired muscles do not give the support that your joints need.
- Do not stand for long periods, especially in the kitchen. A high stool may be useful to use at the sink, etc. If your job requires more than 10 min standing, try to take sitting breaks.
- At the same time, if your job requires sitting for a long period of time, use a footstool to rest your feet and take stretching breaks.
- Avoid holding a book or paper while reading. Support the reading material on a book rest or a cushion leaving your hands free.
- Sometimes typing is better than writing. You can also change the way you hold a pen using it between your index and long finger, or building up the diameter.
- If sustained grip is necessary in an n activity, stop and allow the finger to stretch in the opposite direction.
USE THE STRONGEST JOINTS AVAILABLE FOR AN ACTIVITY.
- Carry your pocket book, laptop or grocery bag on your forearm evading using your fingers.
- Use your knees, not your back, when lifting objects
- When carrying objects, use the palm of your hand
- When pushing an object try leaning over it. Consider using your foot or hip.
DO NOT START ONACTIVITIES YOU CAN NOT STOP IF NECESSARY
- Subdivide articles in smaller groups instead of lifting all of them if you feel that you might not be able to maintain a comfortable grip
- Evaluate your endurance level before starting an ambitious task such as preparing a meal or shopping. Energy conservation is the key.
- Plan your activities before starting
- Your body will give you danger signals if you are putting your joints under stress. Harmful pain last more than two hours after doing an activity rather than discomfort.
- Follow a range of motion exercise program using deep moist heat previously to condition the joint.
- Use static splints for the thumb and wrist to stop overusing the small joints of the hand and to promote muscle rest and decrease inflammation.
- Adequate general body rest is essential. You will have a better sleeping posture if you use a firm mattress, with a small pillow under your head.