Arthritis services in Brunswick, ME

Arthritis in your hand, wrist, or shoulder limits your ability to perform daily tasks that were once much simpler, like using a computer keyboard or brushing your teeth. At Hand Therapy Treatment and Education Center, LLP, in Brunswick, Maine, Mary Woodbury, OTR/L, CHT, can help you restore function and reduce the limitations caused by upper extremity arthritis. Call Hand Therapy Treatment and Education Center, LLP, today or book a hand therapy consultation online.

Arthritis Q&A

How does arthritis affect my upper extremities?

Arthritis damages your joints. As that damage accumulates, it eventually limits the joints’ function. It can affect any joint in your body, including the joints in your upper extremities: shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers. This leads to daily challenges with lifting and reaching and affects your fine motor skills.

There are over 100 types of arthritis, but most people with arthritis have one of the two most common types:



Osteoarthritis causes the smooth cartilage inside your joints to gradually wear down, aggravating the tissues and causing inflammation.


Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis originates in the linings of your joints, not the cartilage. It’s an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to break down your joint linings, causing inflammation.

Other types of arthritis that can affect your upper extremities include psoriatic arthritis, gout, reactive arthritis, and fibromyalgia.

What are the main symptoms of arthritis?

Though various types of arthritis have distinct differences, all types cause similar symptoms. No matter which type you have, you can experience:

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Warmth
  • Redness

Arthritis in your upper extremities stiffens the affected joints and can cause weakness. Osteoarthritis is progressive and tends to get worse with time. But rheumatoid arthritis can sometimes go through periods of remission where symptoms get better.

How can I manage arthritis with occupational therapy?

Occupational hand therapy at Hand Therapy Treatment and Education Center, LLP, can help you maintain your hand and arm function despite joint damage from arthritis.

At Hand Therapy Treatment and Education Center, LLP, your occupational therapy can involve:

  • Treatments that use tools or physical agents (for example, heat, cold, or energy)
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Range-of-motion exercises
  • Custom splinting
  • Activity changes

Occupational therapy aims to restore your function so you can take care of yourself and maintain or regain your independence. Consistent occupational therapy helps you keep participating in everyday tasks and activities.

Arthritis in any upper extremity joint can significantly limit your personal and professional lives. Call Hand Therapy Treatment and Education Center, LLP, today or book an occupational hand therapy consultation online.