Counseling by a physical therapist has the potential to improve physical activity in people with inflammatory arthritis, according to a study conducted by investigators from Arthritis Research Canada.

Researchers recruited people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and involved them in an 8-week physical activity intervention.

This included an in-person session with 20 minutes of group education and 30 minutes of individual counseling with a physical therapist, use of a FitBit wristband paired with an app developed by the research team, and four bi-weekly phone calls (20-30 minutes) with a physical therapist. Physical therapists guided participants to set goals, develop an action plan, and identify barriers and solutions to physical activity, a media release from Arthritis Research Canada explains.

“While the research doesn’t prove this intervention will work for all people with inflammatory arthritis, we found a significant improvement in pain, which suggests it might have a positive effect on symptom management.”

— Dr Linda Li, a Senior Scientist of Clinical Epidemiology at Arthritis Research Canada

Supporting a physically active lifestyle is an important part of self care for people living with arthritis. It can reduce complications like cardiovascular conditions and has a positive effect on pain, sleep quality and fatigue, researchers suggest in the release.

The results of this study provide a foundation for further development of the intervention for individuals with inflammatory arthritis.

[Source(s): Arthritis Research Canada, PR Newswire]

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