Physiotherapy & Exercise in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Physiotherapists are experts in assessing how muscles and joints move, and provide help in resuming or maintaining physical function. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis will typically be referred to physiotherapists not long after diagnosis to be given advice on exercise and joint protection. If you have been seen by the physiotherapist and later develop further problems you can self refer back to the physiotherapists for further input, or ask your rheumatologist or specialist nurse to refer you. Physiotherapists are also available in the community via your GP.
Exercise is important in arthritis in helping to keep muscles and joints healthy and maintaining or improving function.
For more information and advice on exercise in arthritis and physiotherapy visit:
National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society www.nras.org.uk/exercise
Arthritis Research UK www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/the-rheumatology-team/physiotherapist.aspx
South Gloucestershire Council www.southglos.gov.uk/advice-and-benefits/health-and-medical-advice/health-advice/exercise-on-prescription-patients/
Hydrotherapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis
This is a warm water based form of physiotherapy that can be very useful in managing pain and exercising joints in arthritis. Your physiotherapist will be able to assess your suitability for this.
For more information on hydrotherapy visit:
Arthritis Research UK www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/therapies/hydrotherapy.aspx
Occupational Therapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Occupational therapists are experts in helping overcome difficulties with everyday activities at home, at work, or with leisure activities. Some specialise in patients with arthritis and can advice on protecting your joints and maintaining independence. Many patients are referred as part of their usual care for rheumatoid arthritis but if you feel you would benefit and have not yet been seen by an occupational therapist you can ask your rheumatologist or specialist nurse to refer you.
For more information on occupational therapy visit:
Arthritis Research UK www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/the-rheumatology-team/occupational-therapist.aspx
Podiatry in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Podiatrists specialise in looking after the health of your feet. They look at the joints and soft tissues and advise on looking after these joints to prevent long term damage and alleviate symptoms. They can also provide foot-wear advice.
For more information on podiatry visit:
Arthritis Research UK www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/the-rheumatology-team/podiatrist.aspx
Arthritis Care www.arthritiscare.org.uk/AboutArthritis/Treatments/Podiatry
Orthotics in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Orthotists are specialists in producing made to measure aids to support joints, reduce pain and aid function. For example they produce made to measure footwear or insoles for patients with arthritis. Discuss referral with your rheumatologist or specialist nurse if you feel this might be useful to you.
For more information on orthotists visit:
Arthritis Research UK www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/the-rheumatology-team/orthotist.aspx
Psychology in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Psychologists can help to manage symptoms of pain and fatigue in arthritis. They help in developing behavior changes and coping mechanisms that are important in managing arthritis in the long term. Access to psychology via rheumatology units is variable but North Bristol Trust have a psychologist working on their team. Discuss with your rheumatologist or specialist nurse if you feel you would benefit from referral.
For more information on the role of the psychologist visit:
Arthritis Research UK www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/the-rheumatology-team/psychologists.aspx
Complementary & Alternative Therapies in Rheumatoid Arthritis
These therapies can be useful alongside conventional therapies in managing rheumatoid arthritis. Generally alternative therapies are not considered to be evidence based and therefore they are often not available on the NHS.
For more information on therapies visit:
Arthritis Research UK www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/complementary-and-alternative-medicines.aspx
Arthritis Care www.arthritiscare.org.uk/AboutArthritis/Treatments/Complementarytherapy
Surgery in Rheumatoid Arthritis
Surgery may be needed in rheumatoid arthritis when medications, exercise and other management have not been able to control symptoms of pain or preserve joint function. The type of surgery will depend on the joint and tissues affected. If you are referred to an orthopaedic surgeon they will be able to discuss the surgical options and potential risks and benefits. For complex problems, patients with rheumatoid arthritis are often seen in combined clinics where the rheumatologist and surgeon see the patient together. Other members of the multi-disciplinary team such as physiotherapists or occupational therapists may also be present.
For more information on surgery visit:
Arthritis Research UK www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/surgery.aspx