In a nutshell
This study observed the effects of physical activity on patients with chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) by using the supervision of a physiotherapist (PT) and additional digital monitoring.
It showed that the multi-component procedures can help improve pain and the level of daily activity in these patients.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic inflammatory disease, causing symptoms like pain. They can negatively impact mood and sleep and fatigue. Other studies have shown that 150 of moderate/vigorous physical activity (MVPA) weekly can improve these symptoms and other health factors for a similar disease. There also may be a high hesitation to commit to a daily activity lifestyle among patients with RA.
It is important to evaluate whether a counseling program would motivate patients with RA into improving their physical activity level and to evaluate the effects of this program in patients with RA.
Methods & findings
For this study, 118 patients with RA and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were included. They were randomly placed into two different groups. Both groups received the same treatments at two different points in time. Group 1 received the treatment during weeks 1-8. Group 2 received the treatment during weeks 10.17.
The treatment included coaching sessions with a physiotherapist (PT). All activity was measured by the use of a digital wearable device such as Fitbit and an online application. The groups also received four follow-up calls from the PT. The study observed measures like the time daily spent in MVPA (minimum in 10-minute-chunks), time spent sitting down, pain, step count, fatigue, and mood. These measures were evaluated at the beginning of the study and after 9, 18, and 27 weeks.
The program showed a significant increase in the time spent in MVPA by about 9.4 minutes per day. Participants also their walking habits and their pain levels decreased significantly.
Over 80% of participants responded positively to the phone calls and Fitbit use and the average attendance of participants to the program was over 98%. After starting the program, there were side effects reported such as sore muscles and falls.
The bottom line
The study concluded that a multi-component program may improve the amount of time spent doing physical activity and that this may help ease symptoms, especially pain in patients with RA.
The fine print
It should be noted, that depending on the type of analysis, the results could only be applied to RA, not SLE. The number of patients was comparably low, and the program differed greatly from patient to patient.
Discuss with your doctor the options for implementing physical activity and physiotherapy into your treatment.
Published By :
Arthritis Care & Research
Apr 05, 2020
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