Health Library

 

Physical Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Topic Overview

The purpose of physical therapy is to reduce pain and allow you to continue daily activities. Physical therapy can reduce pain in the soft tissues (such as the muscles, ligaments, and tendons), improve function, and build muscle strength. A physical therapist provides these treatments and will also provide education, instruction, and support for recovery.

Physical therapy techniques for rheumatoid arthritis may include:

  • Stretching, to increase flexibility and reduce stress on joints.
  • Education, to help you improve and maintain your posture.
  • Exercise, to strengthen muscles.
  • Manual therapy, including massage, to improve or maintain range of motion.
  • Heat therapy, to improve blood circulation to the muscles and other soft tissues.
  • Ice therapy, to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
  • Cycling and limited walking, to promote good physical conditioning.
  • Water exercises, to allow your body to exercise without pressure on the spine.

Your doctor or physical therapist or both will design a program specific to your normal level of activity, physical fitness, severity of pain, and disease activity.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Last Revised June 5, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

First Nurse

First Nurse

Call First Nurse 24 Hours a Day for free health care advice, resources and referrals!

Ames: 515-239-6877
In Iowa: 800-524-6877 

Search health information online in our Mulimedia Health Library.

Symptom Checker

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker

Patient Privacy | Net Learning for Employees | MGMC PACS for Physicians
Emergency Preparedness

1111 Duff Avenue Ames, IA 50010 - 515-239-2011 - yourhealth.mgmc@mgmc.com

©2014 Mary Greeley Medical Center - All rights reserved.