Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common autoimmune disorder that typically affects the joints in the feet, ankles, wrists, elbows, hands, and hips. Individuals with this disease also commonly suffer from back pain that arises due to the body’s immune system attacking the synovial coating of the small joints of the spine.
As RA advances, there is a high probability that affected individuals will develop back pain symptoms. Additionally, in chronic cases, rheumatoid arthritis can cause compression of not only the spinal cord but also the nerve roots, leading to mild to severe back pain.
One study reveals that approximately 64.5% of individuals with RA may suffer lower back pain during the course of the disease. This study also found that individuals with RA, combined with low back pain, were not happy with their quality of life, leading to a heightened risk of depression. Other reports claim that over 80% of individuals with RA suffer spinal problems within 2 years of diagnosis.
Physical therapy plays an integral role in the treatment of RA, helping to improve the quality of life of affected individuals. Physical therapy helps affected individuals move better, become stronger, and manage their pain.
There are two main types of physical therapy treatment options for RA: active and passive. Active treatment options involve the patient performing the tasks, such as strengthening exercises, while passive treatment involves the physical therapist performing the majority of the work. Both forms of treatment are instrumental in alleviating painful RA flare-ups. An experienced physical therapist will create a personalized physical therapy program that incorporates aspects of both active and passive treatments.
Some of the more commonly recommended treatments are outlined below.
Our physical therapists, specializing in physical therapy for rheumatoid arthritis in Boston, have a deep understanding of how muscles, bones, and joints work together, the problems that can arise in the body, and suitable solutions that are available for addressing any issues that arise as the result of RA. It is always a wise decision to seek the services of a physical therapist, whether you have just been diagnosed with RA, or if you have had it for a long period of time.
In the initial stages of RA, your physical therapist can assess your fitness, strength, and the performance of your joints. They will then develop a program to help you maintain your joint health. The prescribed treatment plan may include a variety of active treatments including:
In addition to active treatments, your physical therapist may recommend a variety of passive treatment options including:
If you have rheumatoid arthritis that is causing you severe back pain, consider a consultation with one of the trained physical therapists at Blue Hills Sports & Spine Rehabilitation. Our physical therapists in Boston, Weymouth, Plymouth, and Braintree are trained to provide you with some much-needed relief in the comfort of our state-of-the-art clinics. We can help customize a treatment plan that specifically addresses your symptoms, allowing you to maintain your quality of life.