Are your joints creaking like an old rusty door hinge? You might just be among the millions worldwide battling the relentless foe known as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). RA is a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. This condition can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life by limiting their mobility and causing persistent discomfort. While there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are various treatment approaches to manage its symptoms effectively, one of them being physiotherapy¹.

Let’s discover how this practice can save your day, making you more agile without the accompanying pain.

1. Range Of Motion Exercise

One of the key goals of physiotherapy in managing RA is to improve joint flexibility and range of motion². When joints become inflamed and painful, individuals often limit their movement to avoid discomfort. However, this can lead to further stiffness and reduced mobility. Physiotherapists employ a variety of exercise therapies to banish pain and stiffness including – 

  • Stretching Exercises: Stretching routines are tailored to the specific needs of RA patients, targeting affected joints. Gentle stretching helps prevent muscles from tightening and maintains joint flexibility.
  • Passive Range of Motion (ROM) Exercises: In passive ROM exercises, the therapist moves the patient’s joints through a full range of motion. This technique can be particularly beneficial for patients with severe pain or limited mobility.
  • Active Range of Motion (AROM) Exercises: AROM exercises involve the patient actively moving their joints. These exercises help maintain joint function and boost overall mobility.

2. Strengthening Exercises

Muscle weakness often accompanies RA due to decreased physical activity and inflammation around the joints. To address this, physiotherapists design strengthening exercises that target the muscles surrounding affected joints. Strengthening these muscles provides additional support to the joints, reducing pain and enhancing function.

  • Resistance Training: Resistance training involves using weights, resistance bands, or even one’s body weight to build muscle strength. For RA patients, this can help stabilise joints and optimise their ability to perform daily activities.
  • Weight-Bearing Exercises: Weight-bearing exercises, like walking or light jogging, help improve bone density and strengthen the lower extremities. They also provide cardiovascular benefits, which are essential for maintaining overall health.
  • Isometric Exercises: Isometric exercises involve contracting muscles without changing joint position. These exercises can be especially helpful for individuals with severely affected joints, as they don’t require joint movement.

3. Education and Advice

Beyond exercises, physiotherapists play a crucial role in educating and advising RA patients through physiotherapy rehabilitation on how to manage their condition effectively.

  • Pain Management Strategies: Physiotherapists teach patients various pain management techniques, such as applying hot or cold therapy, and practising relaxation exercises, including massage therapy, to alleviate discomfort.
  • Joint Protection Techniques: Learning how to protect joints during daily activities is essential for RA patients. Providing guidance on using proper body mechanics and adaptive strategies helps to alleviate stress on compromised joints.
  • Maintaining Physical Activity: Staying physically active is vital for one’s holistic well-being. By crafting tailored exercise routines based on their unique condition, physiotherapists ensure the sustenance of their fitness levels.

For individuals dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a physiotherapist is able to turn the tables around, helping you regain mobility, strength, and independence. Ready to take the first step toward a more active and pain-free life? Join us at The Movement Laboratory, where our dedicated team of physiotherapists is committed to helping you on your journey in managing RA. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and discover how we can tailor a personalised physiotherapy plan to meet your needs.


  1. Kavuncu, V., & Evcik, D. (2004). Physiotherapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Medscape General Medicine, 6(2).
  2. Peter, W. F., Swart, N. M., Meerhoff, G. A., & Vliet Vlieland, T. P. (2021). Clinical Practice Guideline for Physical Therapist Management of People With Rheumatoid Arthritis. Physical Therapy, 101(8).