Rheumatoid Arthritis

Influence of Physical Therapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis



Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease which results in chronic inflammation in joint membranes.  Some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include severe pain, inflammation, joint disfigurement, and reduced joint mobility and function.  RA typically worsens as time progresses, however some people experience sudden remission in the midst of the disease.

Manifestations of Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Rheumatoid nodules
  • Vasculitis,
  • Eye inflammation
  • Neurologic dysfunction
  • Cardiopulmonary disease
  • Lymphadenopathy
  • Splenomegaly

Physical therapy (PT) is used for prevention and treatment of various physical limitations, sometimes resulting from disease or surgery.  It is meant to develop and improve range of motion and to restore quality of life to the furthest extent that it can.  It deals with the whole person including the physical, psychological, emotional and social aspects of the patient.

Physical therapy consists of requiring the patient to do certain exercises or assisting them in these exercises.  It often includes education and social or emotional coaching or attention. Physical therapists also work with those who are healthy and reasonably fit in order to prevent potential loss of mobility.  They do this by creating programs that promote fitness and wellness.  They seek to promote, through many means, the maximum functionality in their patients throughout life.

A recent study sought to determine how physical therapy might benefit those who suffer fromrheumatoid arthritis with joint pain and stiffness and a reduced quality of life. Those who participated in the study received one to two sessions of physical therapy every week for the duration of six months.

The study revealed that physical therapy decreased occurrences of pain during treatment and stiffness in the morning, however researchers also found that the physical therapy required in treating RA may be linked to an increase the patients’ other physical problems.  Therefore, while there were benefits of physical therapy relating to rheumatoid arthritis, it is difficult to determine the overall effectiveness of the treatment.

Dr. Carrie will be happy to assist in not only therapy for rheumatoid patients but also using acupuncture for therapy.

About Dr Carrie

Dr. Carrie Hartney has been working at the Chiropractic Care Center in Berlin, CT for over 25 years. She started working with her father Dr. Edward Hartney in the Chiropractic Care Center of Plainville. Her Father, a chiropractor for over 25 years, started the Berlin office with Dr. Carrie.


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