Rehabilitation spells rheumatologic relief

October 26, 2010

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) observed the occasion by encouraging persons who have arthritis and other rheumatologic diseases to discover the benefits of rehabilitation with a physical therapist, whose primary roles are to help patients prevent disability and achieve optimal function and pain relief.

October was National Physical Therapy Month. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) observed the occasion by encouraging persons who have arthritis and other rheumatologic diseases to discover the benefits of rehabilitation with a physical therapist, whose primary roles are to help patients prevent disability and achieve optimal function and pain relief.

According to the ACR, patients who work with a physical therapist can expect assistance in several areas, including the following:

•Developing and managing an individualized care plan that includes personal improvement goals and self-management skills.

•Using therapeutic exercises to relieve discomfort and improve performance by strengthening muscles.

•Modifying activities that are painful or harmful.

•Adapting home and work environments to better suit individual needs.

Physical therapy coupled with a visit to a rheumatologist can help patients improve or restore mobility and may serve as a first line of defense before medication or surgical intervention is needed, the ACR noted, adding that patients have direct access to a physical therapist in more than 43 states and may be referred by health care professionals for consultation and treatment in the others. Patients undergoing treatment for arthritis or another rheumatologic disease are encouraged to speak with their rheumatologist about the positive role that physical therapy can play in their overall wellness.

For more information, visit the ACR Web site at http://www.rheumatology.org. Or, contact the organization at American College of Rheumatology, 2200 Lake Boulevard NE, Atlanta, GA 30319-5312; telephone: (404) 633-3777; fax: (404) 633-1870.