Managing Osteoarthritis with Samantha Shann | Oak Tree Mobility
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Managing Osteoarthritis with Samantha Shann

Occupational therapist Samantha Shann tells us how she helps people manage their osteoarthritis, making life easier and more comfortable.

About Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joint pain and stiffness. It is usually caused by the general day-to-day strains placed on the joints during a lifetime. Normally, the body naturally repairs itself from this strain, but with osteoarthritis the cartilage that protects the ends of bones breaks down, causing pain, swelling and often bony growths. This makes osteoarthritis very different to rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease caused by antibodies.These antibodies usually fight off infection, but in the case of rheumatoid

These antibodies usually fight off infection, but in the case of rheumatoid arthritis they attack the cells that line the joints instead.Osteoarthritis and the resulting joint pain and stiffness can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to function and perform day-to-day tasks, either independently or in the way they would like. It is this impact on function or activity that an occupational therapist can support.

Osteoarthritis and the resulting joint pain and stiffness can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to function and perform day-to-day tasks, either independently or in the way they would like. It is this impact on function or activity that an occupational therapist can support.

 

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Osteoarthritis and Occupational Therapy

An occupational therapist’s primary role is to support participation in tasks that are meaningful to the person. This might be daily activities, such as washing and dressing, cooking meals or getting in and out of bed. It could also be leisurely activities like gardening, playing golf or shopping. Occupational therapy interventions tend to fall into three categories:1. Compensation for dysfunction. This type of intervention sees an occupational therapist using equipment to help the person complete activities that are painful. Examples of such equipment include kettle tippers or special chairs that make sitting and standing easier.

1. Compensation for dysfunction. This type of intervention sees an occupational therapist using equipment to help the person complete activities that are painful. Examples of such equipment include kettle tippers or special chairs that make sitting and standing easier.
2. Joint protection/prevention. Again, this often involves looking at products that help people avoid placing strain on painful joints. Examples include raising gardening beds to avoid too much bending or bathing products that help you get in and out of the bath more easily.
3. Fatigue management and techniques to make activities less tiring. Unless you suffer from osteoarthritis yourself, you might find it hard to understand that the condition can cause fatigue and impact the daily routine. An example of a method used to reduce fatigue is ironing while resting on a perching stool.

If osteoarthritis is preventing you from performing everyday tasks or is stopping you getting involved in activities you enjoy, then an occupational therapy assessment may be beneficial. Either before or during the occupational therapy assessment, it is important to consider what activities are important to you and what devices or equipment may help you overcome the difficulties you are facing.

 

How Oak Tree Mobility Can Help Find the Solution

All of the Oak Tree Mobility products provide options for each of the three categories an occupational therapist would consider: joint protection, and fatigue.

Rise and recline chairs

A correctly measured chair helps improve your posture, which reduces joint and back pain, helping you sit more comfortably and protect your joints whilst resting. The rise element of the chair promotes a natural biomechanical stand, supporting hip and knees joints while assisting you to sit or stand safely. With osteoarthritis and the associated pain, you may find yourself doing less activity during the day, which can lead to water retention and swelling in the legs. The unique high leg lift offered in Oak Tree Mobility’s chairs can help improve circulation and reduce leg swelling. The heat and massage options can also help alleviate stiffness.

Adjustable beds

Adjustable beds support those who need some assistance standing or adjusting their position in bed, particularly first thing in the morning and last thing at night when joints are at their stiffest. As with rise and recline chairs, the leg raise can help reduce swelling and improve circulation. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to help all parts of the body – particularly the joints – repair themselves.

Stairlifts

Stairlifts help to reduce fatigue by allowing you to spread your energy usage throughout the day on tasks other than climbing the stairs, such as playing with your grandchildren, meeting friends or preparing meals. The stairlift also supports joint protection, preventing strains that would otherwise cause further wear and tear on the hips, knees and ankles.

Bath lifts

At night when joints are at their stiffest, a bath lift can help you continue to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of a nice soak in a hot bath while staying safe and comfortable. The mechanics of the bath lift also protect painful joints and promote pain reduction when getting in and out of the bath. The benefits of a hot bath on muscle pain are well known but the routine also helps you to relax.

All Oak Tree Mobility staff have been trained by myself, a registered occupational therapist. They know what questions to ask and what to look for in supporting you and promoting your health and well-being.

 

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