ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
38% of U.S. Adults Use Alternative Treatments
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
CANCER
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
CAREGIVING
Flu Strikes a Milder Blow This Season
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Drinking Your Way to Health? Perhaps Not
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
EYE CARE, VISION
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
FITNESS
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Treat symptoms (result of disease) or diagnose systems (cause of disease)?
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
SENIORS
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
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Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis

TUESDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Adding occupational therapy to a structured exercise program increases physical activity for most people who have hip and knee osteoarthritis, say researchers.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that leads to the breakdown of the cartilage in joints. In people with osteoarthritis, exercise helps maintain good joint health, manage symptoms and prevent functional decline.

But studies have shown that the benefits of a structured exercise program are short-lived. The beneficial effects usually fade soon after participation in the program ends.

In a study in the October issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, researchers investigated whether occupational therapy could benefit people with hip and knee osteoarthritis.

The occupational therapy program in this study was designed to educate osteoarthritis patients about joint protection, proper body mechanisms, activity pacing, and environmental barriers.

The participants of the current study were divided into two groups. The first group participated in a structured exercise program and the occupational therapy program. The second group participated in the same exercise program, but received health education in place of the occupational therapy.

Only the group that engaged in occupational therapy increased the intensity of physical activity at the end of the study.

"Occupational therapy is really the missing link in promoting wellness of people with hip and knee osteoarthritis," study author Susan L. Murphy, an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan Medical School and Research Health Science Specialist at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, said in a university news release.

Murphy points out that more research is necessary to study the effects of occupational therapy in larger groups of people with osteoarthritis and to determine the long-term effects of the therapy.

But Murphy says that people with osteoarthritis should strive to expand their daily physical activity and improve their overall health behaviors.

"People with osteoarthritis tend to know more about surgical options, and less about how they can take an active role in promoting their own health and well-being," she said. "People with osteoarthritis need to be their own agents of change. They can do so much to manage symptoms and stave off functional decline caused by osteoarthritis just by being physically active. The bottom line is to find out ways to help people create and maintain these healthy habits."

More information

The American Occupational Therapy Association has more about occupational therapy and arthritis.



-- Krisha McCoy



SOURCE: University of Michigan Health System, news release, Sept. 29, 2008

Last Updated: Sept. 30, 2008

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