Saturday, September 6, 2008

Adaptive Eating Utensils for Rheumatoid Arthritis

I wrote this article in response to a request for information. If you have hand deformities resulting from rheumatoid arthritis, you might have trouble hanging on to, well, everything, including eating utensils. This article, Adaptive Eating Utensils for Rheumatoid Arthritis, will give you some ideas for how to adapt meals. I tried to write it to give inexpensive, around the house ideas in addition to utensils available for purchase, as I know that health problems can zap the ol' bank account and not everyone can go out and buy new silverware. I also know that sometimes it just takes a quick and easy fix to solve the problem and a simple placemat might make the difference. Sometimes you, however, have to buy adapted utensils, and I have given resources for those also. Click on the title link to read the article.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Facing Arthritis Blog

If you scroll down on the right hand side bar my blog links, you will find a blog called Facing Arthritis. This blog is authored by Judith Lautner and is about her management of her arthritis by following the techniques in the book Arthritis RX. She is trying to avoid NSAIDs and other medications and opting for exercise, diet, and alternative management methods. Her blog is an interesting read and might have some good ideas for anyone who is struggling with NSAIDs. I can also relate to her struggles with pain management, exercise, and motivation! Check out her blog through the link in the right side bar.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Arthritis and Cooking

Here's one of the most frustrating activities I run into with my arthritis, cooking. I can't count how many times I have to run to my husband with a jar, can or package I can't open because of my unstable fingers. And how about when my Good Grips jar opener broke after one too many torques? Aside from all of this, I really have adapted many of the ways I cook and I love my new KitchenAid mixer! It does all the work so I don't have to! Get one if you don't have one! Here's the article link, Arthritis and Cooking.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Exercise With Arthritis

Here's an article that we should all pay attention to, Exercise With Arthritis. I am just as bad as anybody on this one. It is so easy to just say, Oh, I hurt too much to go to aquatics class today, so I'm going to skip it. Guilty as charged! It's not a good thing to do. If you have arthritis, you know that not exercising can make you stiffen up just as much as not taking your medications. So it's time for me to practice what I preach, and time for you to read this article and get off the couch!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Overview of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I jumped to carpal tunnel syndrome during this arthritis series as it commonly occurs secondary to arthritis. The best cure for carpal tunnel syndrome, I found out, is to sit around and do absolutely nothing for 3 months. My ex grandfather-in-law did this and his symptoms completely disappeared. (I'm not kidding - he really did absolutely nothing.) Of course, this is not a practical approach for most people. I hope this article, Overview of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, will help explain carpal tunnel syndrome and why so many people who do not work at repetitive motion jobs get the condition.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Arthritis and House Cleaning

This next article in my arthritis series, Arthritis and House Cleaning, addresses issues that are similar to those in the last post, Arthritis and Home Maintenance. The difference is that the tasks involved are focused on every day cleaning chores, but the principles are the same. Anyone who has arthritis and has to run a household should find these techniques useful. If you pace yourself and adapt some tasks to make them easier, you will save yourself some pain and aggrevation. Click on the links to read the articles.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Arthritis and Home Maintenance

I have written these arthritis articles to provide some information for people on how to manage everyday activities in spite of pain and stiffness. Here's the next one, Arthritis and Home Maintenance. This article gives some advice on how to adapt activities like home repairs and yardwork. I hope it is valuable to all you do-it-yourselfers.

Here's one home maintenance item I wouldn't be without - a self propelled lawn mower. If you have one of these, try pushing it without the propulsion for a couple of turns, then turn on the propulsion. Notice the difference? My shoulders and wrists just can't take it unless the propulsion is on. Of course, for you lucky people with riders, this doesn't matter! If you have a condo, it really doesn't matter! Anyway, click on the link to read the article.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Arthritis and Clothing

Here's a helpful hints article, Arthritis and Clothing. I was trying to find a website that offered adaptive clothing for people who have trouble dressing themselves. I also wanted this clothing to be somewhat fashionable - not the usual little old lady stuff. I found plenty of sites, but nothing that eliminated the little old lady factor! If anyone has any recommendations, please reply to this post! Anyway, the article will give you recommendations for adapting dressing techniques and the clothing you already have. Click on the title to read it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What Is Spondyloarthropathy

My next article in my arthritis series, What Is Spondyloarthropathy, hits home for me a bit, as this is what I was first diagnosed with. After I finally landed myself in a competent rheumatologist's office, he really wasn't sure what my symptoms pointed to, so he told me I had this type of arthritis. He, of course, didn't tell me this right away. He just told me this was the type I had. Later, after a few visits, he started writing RA on my note sheets. When I questioned him about it, he explained that I had symptoms of both and, while I didn't have the factors in the blood work, my physical symptoms and family history indicated seronegative RA. I am sure I'm not the only one who has been through this scenario, so if anyone cares to comment, please do so.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ever Wonder What a Hip Replacement Is Like?

Well, did you ever wonder what a hip replacement surgery is like? Here's a funky website that shows you. Take your pick. You can either be the surgeon and do a virtual hip replacement surgery, or look at photos of a real operation. It is still not quite the same as the real thing, but it's more fun. Check it out at

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Arthritis and Joint Protection Techniques

Here is the link to the next article in my arthritis series, Arthritis and Joint Protection Techniques. These techniques are sort of similar to energy conservation and work simplification, but are a little more specific to keeping your joints in neutral positions as you complete activities. I had to teach myself to use these techniques when opening jars and packages. It doesn't come natuarallyv- you do have to think about it. Click on the link to read the article.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Adaptive Sewing Devices for Arthritis

Here's an interesting article I found for anyone who sews. This article talks about adaptive sewing tools for people who have arthritis. I know one of the hobbies I have given up due to my arthritis is cross stitch. Even though I did adapt the hoop, I could no longer handle the needle and my hand would cramp up after short periods. Maybe some tools like this would have helped me out. Anyway, here's the article link for you die hard stitchers: Thimbles For Arthritic Hands by Millard Hiner

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What Is Gout

Here is the link to the next article in my arthritis series, What is Gouty Arthritis. This is the form of arthritis that you always see in old movies, where the old guy has his foot on a stool and says his gout is bothering him. Gout does affet the big toe more often than other joints, but it can affect other parts of the body also.

I have placed a link in the side bar to a web store called Arthritis Supplies, run by The Wright Stuff Inc. They have a large selection of adaptive devices in stock, more so than some of the other online stores I have browsed. If you are having trouble with a specific task at home or at work, check them out. They might have a gadget that will suit your needs.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Arthritis and Work Simplification

The next article in my arthritis series is titles Arthritis and Work Simplification. This article describes some techniques you can use to pace yourself through work activities without placing excess stress on your joints. I have found these techniques helpful with employers in the past, even though many employees are reluctant to approach their supervisors about adapting their jobs. Many employers are more willing to make a few modifications, many of which are free or inexpensive, than they are to spend four figures to hire and train a new employee. I realize everyone's situation is different, but work simplification does not have to be complicated or expensive. Click on the link to read the article.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis

Here is the link to the next article in my arthritis series, What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have the seronegative form of this disease. What that means is that I spent a couple of years being jerked around by 6 doctors and paying for dozens of lab tests before I ended up with the right rheumatologist who knew what questions to ask. Even then, it took him a few visits to end up with the seronegative RA diagnosis. Now, every time I switch doctors (due to my wonderful health insurance), I have to tell this whole story over again. I know I have a good doctor when he (sorry, they've all been hes) checks my physical symptoms, medical records and past blood work and just takes my word for it! Sorry people, but in 15 years I've had 1 positive lab result and that was probably a fluke. Anyway, I'm going off again, so I'll stop now. Click on the link above to read the article.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Arthritis and Energy Conservation

Here's a problem I've had a lot lately - fatigue. Pain just tires me out! Anyway, this article, Arthritis and Energy Conservation, gives some ideas on how to save energy during the day so you can get more done. The general idea is to pace yourself, but it takes some planning ahead to actually make it work. If you are like me, you try to get too much done when you are feeling good, and then you are down for the count for two days. Energy conservation principles will help you pace yourself so that doesn't happen. Click on the article link to read more. Now if I'd just follow my own advice....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What Is Osteoarthritis

Here is a link to the next article in my arthritis series, What Is Osteoarthritis. I find that a lot of people confuse the different types of arthritis, so I hope these articles will help clear some of that confusion. Osteoarthritis is the type of arthritis you get after an injury or from years of manual labor. It is also what many people consider "old age" arthritis, although not everyone who is old gets it. Click on the link above to read more about osteoarthritis.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Plug for The Arthritis Foundation

I found an article today that gives a good plug for The Arthritis Foundation. This organization serves as a resource to anyone who has arthritis or knows someone who has arthritis - any form, any degree. As far as organizations for persons with medical conditions go, they have one of the best developed programs that I know of. When I worked in outpatient clinics, I used to teach both land based and water exercise programs sponsored by the foundation, and I used their series of educational pamphlets to help teach my patients the skills they needed to manage their activities at home. The foundation now has much information on their website free of charge. A membership gives you access to much more and costs as little as $20.

To read the article, The Arthritis Foundation Is Here to Help by Mike Selvon, click the link. To visit The Arthritis Foundation Website, go to

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What Is Arthritis - An Overview

I have started writing a series of artcles on arthritis for These articles are in the process of being reviewed and the first one, What Is Arthritis - An Overview, has been approved. Click on the title of this post to read it.

I have a question for anyone who might read this post. I have recently started on Minocycline for my arthritis symptoms and want to know if anyone else is on this medication? This drug is normally for skin conditions, but also works for the type of arthritis I have. It works well in controlling the inflammation in my hands, but I am getting some funky stomach side effects. Does anyone know how to control this? Please reply to this post if you do.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Arthritis and Calcium Absorption

One of the first topics I'm going to write about here is arthritis, because I have it and and I know a lot about it. The form I have is what they call a sero-negative rheumatoid arthritis, which means my physical symptoms are similar to rheumatoid arthritis, but my lab work shows zippo. On paper I am the healthiest person in Wisconsin. This type of arthritis is usually hereditary, so, thanks a lot Grandma! The good thing is that this type of arthritis does not usually result in the deformities that regular rheumatoid arthritis does, so I'm lucky there, at least.

Enough rant. I read an article entitled Why I Didn't Jump From the Empire State Building by Nancy Lake and thought the author's point on calcium absorption was quite interesting. I know I don't pay enough attention to my own calcium intake and I really should. Hope it gives everyone some ideas on diet and arthritis.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Welcome to Online OT. I hope publish some tidbits of helpful information here for anyone looking for advice on healthcare related topics. As I have worked in the field of Occupational Therapy for 20 years, I have a bit of information to share, especially about recovering from illness, adapting to chronic illness, and topics related to congenital and childhood conditions. I hope to provide links to informative articles here written by both myself and others, so check back often. If you don't see the information you are looknig for, email or post a comment and I will track it down for you!