Getting Rheumatoid Arthritis Under Control
“Rheumatoid arthritis” (RA) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that leads to pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of function in the joints. While conventional medical treatment can be highly effective, adjunctive physical therapy can help with physical discomfort and improve overall well-being. Physical therapists find it most helpful to guide RA patients through slow, controlled movements that help them maintain strength and improve mobility without placing too much stress on joints that are already irritated. Particularly beneficial are water workouts performed in warm water between 82 and 88 degrees F. (when possible), which use water buoyancy to take stress off joints while providing resistance that improves strength. Water workouts can range from simply walking to performing leg lifts at poolside.