Conditions treated include : Dermatomyositis, Fibromyalgia, Gout, Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid arthritis(RA), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), hypermobility syndrome, spondyloarthropathies
The physiotherapist’s role in the management of patients with Rheumatic disease is to work with the patient to enable them to achieve and maintain optimal function and independence. An in-depth assessment should be done to establish how the condition affects the patient physically and how it affects activities of daily living like family care, work and hobbies. If it is found that a patient needs any special equipment i.e. walking aids, modified footwear or splints, patient are referred to the appropriate professional.
The main focus of treatment would be to devise a management strategy of the condition which might include hands-on physiotherapy, pool- and land-based exercise, self management and pain control via medication where applicable.
In these patients, pool-based programmes to gain range and maintain range of movement, increase general strength and mobility and manage pain are very effective.
Education on the condition is also very important, as this leads to better self-management in the long term. From here, patients can more effectively modify their exercise programmes according to the disease state.
If patients fall in the appropriate category, group exercise classes in the pool can be considered which is a good forum of knowledge and great base of support and encouragement.