Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Awareness Week 2019 takes place between June 17th and 23, and is an annual event to raise awareness of the condition. The event is run by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS).
Physiotherapists are members of the multi-disciplinary team involved in the treatment and management of people with rheumatoid arthritis to help an individual achieve their short and long-term needs.
They work closely with multi-disciplinary team colleagues, such as occupational therapists, podiatrists and orthotists, and will refer you to them when necessary.
When will you see a physiotherapist?
Physiotherapists have a key role throughout the course of the disease. The extent of their involvement will vary throughout that time, dependent upon the individual’s needs.
What physiotherapy can offer an individual with Rheumatoid Arthritis:
- Pain relief & pain management strategies
- Fatigue management
- Healthy lifestyle
After diagnosis they will offer education and advice, which is likely to include information regarding how to recognise and manage a flare, when to rest and when to exercise, and advice on how to modify activities to reduce pain and maintain/ improve function. People with rheumatoid arthritis often find that their joints become stiff and muscles become weak and therefore carrying out normal daily activities, such as getting up and down the stairs or in and out of a chair, can become hard. Physiotherapists can help by teaching mobility and strengthening exercises to increase movement and strength allowing better function.
Why exercise is important
Exercise is important as part of a healthy lifestyle to maintain fitness, control weight, maintain joint range of movement, improve muscle strength and endurance and improve mental wellbeing maintaining joint range of movement, strengthening muscle and increasing endurance.
A Physiotherapist is a specialist in advising on exercise. It is important to find a safe way of exercising that the individual enjoys and will be able to continue in the future.
- Arthritis Research UK booklet: Physiotherapy
- Arthritis Research UK booklet: Keep Moving
- Chartered Society of Physiotherapists
- Exercise section of the NRAS website
- Emma James Physiotherapy