Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is anautoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints of the body. It can make the joints swell, feel stiff and leave individual's feeling generally unwell and fatigued. Symptoms of rheumatoid can vary over time and range from mild to severe. It is estimated to affect over 580,000 people in the UK and is more predominant in women than men. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect individuals of any age, but is more common amongst individuals between the age of 40 and 70 years.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a life-changing long term condition and affects an individual's ability to complete everyday activities. Simple tasks we once took for granted can become extremely difficult or take much longer to complete, this is due to the level of pain and stiffness an individual experiences. Self-care is an integral part of daily living and involves activities such as washing, dressing, grooming and eating. When living with a long term condition, self-care activities can become a challenge. Our Occupational Therapists can help individuals adapt the way in which they carry out these daily activities and live a better quality of life with less pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue.

Our Occupational Therapists provide effective treatments for individuals who experience difficulties completing their everyday work, leisure and home activities due to an illness or disability. Our Occupational Therapists have specialist knowledge in dealing with problems caused by rheumatoid arthritis and will work together with individuals to find solutions to their difficulties, enabling them to carry on living an independent lifestyle. Our Occupational Therapists can help individuals manage their arthritis effectively in a number of ways. For example, Our Occupational Therapists can provide advice on using joints without straining them, can provide supportive splints, and recommend aids and adaptations. Our Occupational Therapists will maximise an individual's functional independence and increase their overall quality of life.

Problems associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Stiff, painful and inflamed joints often characterises the condition rheumatoid arthritis. But what is often unknown about the disease is that complications can occur anywhere within body. This autoimmune process can also affect individual's eyes, lungs, skin, heart and blood vessels and other organs. To manage the condition effectively it is important to recognise symptoms early on and seek appropriate treatment. Over time rheumatoid arthritis can become a highly disabling condition and affect individual's abilities to:

  • Wash and dress
  • Mobilise inside and outside the home
  • Drive
  • Complete work activities
  • Sleep
  • Complete leisure and social activities
  • Complete household duties- cooking and cleaning

Rheumatoid arthritis remains a serious disease, and one that can vary greatly in symptoms and outcomes. Our Occupational Therapists can make it possible for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis to live independently and lead a successful lifestyle. Our Occupational Therapists will assess an individual's condition and measure the impact it is having on theirabilities to carry out day to day activities. Once an individual's problems have been highlighted, our Occupational Therapists will explore possible solutions in order to decrease the daily impact of rheumatoid arthritis. This may include: practical advice, advice on managing mood and stress, providing splints or arthritis gloves to reduce pain and provide support, suggest hand exercises, advice on how to adapt everyday activities and many more.

Our Occupational Therapists can also analyse an individual's work and leisure activities, discover where the problems lie and suggest possible changes. For example if an individual finds it extremely uncomfortable to sit at a computer desk for long periods of the day, our Occupational Therapists can complete a workplace assessment and recommend supportive aids such as, wrist and hand braces. Our specialist Occupational Therapy treatments will enable individuals with rheumatoid arthritis to maximise theirindependence within the workplace and increase their quality of life.

How can these difficulties impact on function?

Rheumatoid arthritis has an enormous impact the individual diagnosed. It not only affects their abilities to function independently but also manage their mood effectively. Below is a summary of how rheumatoid arthritis can affect the different aspects of an individual's life:


  • Difficulties expressing emotions appropriately
  • Difficulties feeding
  • Difficulties washing and dressing independently
  • Difficulties mobilising


  • Stigma
  • Completing social activities
  • Participating in leisure activities
  • Feelings of depression

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect an individual's social interactions in many ways, for example, parents who have a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis may remain in their car when picking up their children from school, in order to avoid the struggle and intense pain. Thisresult in them missing out onsocialising with other parents and grandparents. Many individuals will also turn down invitations to go out and socialise as they lack the energy do so. Our Occupational Therapists can reduce the impact rheumatoid arthritis has on an individual's social life and provide effective treatments to manage their condition more effectively.

Primarily affecting the joints within the body, rheumatoid arthritis can impact heavily on an individual's abilities to complete everyday activities such as washing, dressing, cooking and cleaning. Our Occupational Therapists are extremely experienced and can aid an individual's independence through the use of adapting self-care activities or by providing supportive aids.

What exactly is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory, autoimmune disease which cannot be cured. For no known reason, in rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system (which is designed to protect the human body from harmful viruses and foreign cells) begins to attack its own body tissues, particularly the thin membranes that line all the joints in the body. As a result of this attack, fluid build-up appears in and around the joints, causing extreme pain and inflammation that is systemic - meaning it can occur throughout the body.

The long term effects of rheumatoid arthritis can be extremely disabling. One of the most common being joint deformity. Individual's with rheumatoid arthritis can begin to develop nodules; lumps of tissues under the skin, often over bony areas exposed to pressure. These can be very painful and effect the way an individual completes daily activities.

Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis still remains unknown, it is thought that is may result from a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Some researchers do however believe an infection with a bacteria or virus can trigger the development of rheumatoid arthritis in those genetically susceptible.

Occupational Therapy assessments suitable for Rheumatoid Arthritis

A combination of standardised assessment and clinical observationsare used by all our Occupational Therapists and enable them to gather relevant information needed to devise an appropriate treatment plan for individuals with rheumatoid arthritis, some of the most common assessment used include:

  • Cognitive assessments
  • Functional assessment
  • Activities of daily living assessments
  • Aids and adaptations assessment
  • Risk assessment
  • Workplace assessment

Non-standardised assessments are also essential during the assessment stage of the Occupational Therapy process and can involve interviewing the individual and their family members or observing their functional abilities, coping strategies and care needs. Our Occupational Therapists will also take into account various factors when assessing such as non-verbal communication, posture, facial expression and many more in order to ensure assessment results pure and accurate.

Occupational therapy treatment available

Our Occupational Therapy treatments aim at enhancing an individual's participation in everyday living activities. Our Occupational Therapists use their knowledge and skills to enable individuals and promote their health and well-being. Our treatments for individuals with rheumatoid arthritisaim to improve the following:

  • Functional independence
  • Social interaction
  • Improved safety in the home
  • Pain in joints

Our Occupational Therapy treatments are individualisedto meet the needs of each individual. Our treatments have been extremely effective with individuals with rheumatoid arthritis and have been shown to improve functional abilities and overall life satisfaction. Our treatments can be conducted here in one of our clinics or in the comfort of your own home.


Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic progressive disease causing inflammation in and around the joints of the body. It affects an individual's ability to complete day to day activities and can impact greatly on their quality of life. Our Occupational therapists are highly skilled in dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and can increase an individual's level of function and impendence through effective treatment planning. Our Occupational Therapy can make a huge difference to the lives of those affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

How to arrange to see anoccupational therapist?

If you would like to discuss the benefits of our Occupational Therapy assessments in further detail then please feel free to email us at office@londonot.co.uk or Call us on 02033 937 332



London OT offer and provide a range of Occupational Therapy services for individuals with a variety of conditions.

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