PHYSIOTHERAPY IN RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease affecting the joints .As it is progressive and causes pain ,swelling,tenderness and sometimes deformities in the joint.
AIM OF PHYSIOTHERAPY TREATMENT:
1. Pain relief
2. To prevent joint damage
3. To prevent functional loss
4. To improve strength and flexibility
- Assessment of posture
- Assessment of muscle strength
- ROM of joints
- Functional assessment or assessment of daily activities.
1. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation(TENS)- It is used for pain relief. It is applied on
the area of pain. It is fast acting and non invasive. It is a good alternative to analgesic drugs.
2. Hot / Cold Application-Different heat modalities can be applied like hot packs ,infrared lamp, paraffin wax bath ,hydrotherapy etc. Heat is generally applied in chronic conditions as it will relax the tissues and muscles which will further increase the ROM of joint and also relieve pain. Heat applied before exercise will be more beneficial to the patient. Cold packs or cryotherapy is helpful in acute cases as it will reduce the swelling and is also helpful in relieving pain.
Posture correction along with gait analysis and correction plays a major role in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
· Rest and splinting (orthosis)-In acute stages rest to the affected joint is very important. It will relieve stress on affected joint that will in turn decrease pain.
Splints and orthosis-Supports the joint and helps in preventing the development of deformities. Splints can be given either in functional position or at resting position depending upon the clinical condition of the patient.
· Use of assistive devices like cane ,crutches or walker while walking will improve the gait pattern and will prevent the further damage to the joint due to stress. It will also provide stability by increasing the base of support and also helps in balancing . Assistive devices for the other affected joints can also be used.
IMPROVE MUSCLE STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY
Due to lack of mobility and reduction of activities muscles may get weak and tight .Exercise regime should be such that it should strengthen the weak muscles and stretch the tight muscle groups. Exercises that prevent deformities should also be included as an integral part of exercise regime. Exercise to increase the ROM should be added.
Along with the above mentioned treatment Patient education and counseling is also important so that patient can deal with the socio--psychological factors effectively.
By: Pooja Dhamija