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Over 50 million Americans have arthritis, making it the No. 1 cause of disability in the U.S., according to the Arthritis Foundation. TIRR Memorial Hermann and the Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Network work with individuals who have been affected by arthritis, to help them maximize their functional potential for improved quality of life.

What is arthritis? What are the symptoms and causes?

The word “arthritis,” which means joint inflammation, is a term used to describe rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints as well as surrounding and connective tissue. According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are more than 100 different forms or arthritis and related diseases, among the more common:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, occurs when cartilage inside the joint – the cushiony material on the end of bones – breaks down, making affected joints – typically knees, hips, lower back, neck, fingers and feet – stiff, painful and difficult to move. Swelling may be present. OA is typically the result of wear and tear over the years but can also be caused by a joint injury or infection.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) occurs when an individual’s immune system attacks his or her own tissue and joints (and organs). Over time, the persistent inflammation breaks down the joint and damages it permanently. Primary symptoms of RA include joint pain, swelling and stiffness, fatigue and muscle pain. The cause of RA is unknown.
  • Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a disease in which the immune system attacks the body, causing inflammation and pain. PsA affects joints, causing arthritis. It causes enthesitis (inflammation of the entheses, the sites where tendons or ligaments insert into the bone). And PsA causes psoriasis (a condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches). PsA symptoms include joint pain and stiffness, skin rashes, nail changes, fatigue, eye problems and swelling/tenderness in fingers and feet. The cause of PsA is unknown.

How is arthritis diagnosed?

A physician will typically begin with a medical history and physical exam, and might also order diagnostic tests, such as a blood test, a test of fluid from the affected joint, an X-ray or an MRI.

What rehabilitative therapies are available for patients with arthritis?

Physical therapy is helpful for arthritis sufferers. We offer specialized rehabilitation, in both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings, for individuals suffering from arthritis.

Rehabilitative services include:

  • Comprehensive management of rehabilitation needs by a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician
  • Treatments that have been proven effective to help patients regain improved mobility and function
  • Patient and family education with adaptive equipment
  • Psychological assessment and treatment for coping skills and depression or anxiety
  • Recreational therapy and vocational counseling to help transition back to home, work or community activities

What are the benefits of rehabilitation for arthritis?

While arthritis cannot be cured, rehabilitative therapy can help improve an individual’s range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding joints.

Meet the Team

Our interdisciplinary team of specialists works closely with patients with arthritis, as well as their families and caregivers, to improve quality of life and maximize positive patient outcomes.

We have a knowledgeable outpatient interdisciplinary team that may include:

  • Physical therapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Speech language pathologist
  • Neuropsychologist/Psychologist
  • Clinical social worker
  • Vocational counselor
  • Wheelchair seating and positioning specialist
  • Chaplain

Additional team members of an inpatient stay may include:

  • Affiliated rehabilitation physician
  • Rehabilitation nursing
  • Therapeutic recreation therapist
  • Music therapist
  • Clinical pharmacist
  • Case Manager
  • Nutritionist

Get Started

To get started, use this form to become a patient or contact us by phone 1 (800) 44-REHAB (73422) , (713) 797-5942 or fax 713.797.5988