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Hand exercises for RA

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Hand exercises can go a long way in improving flexibility and stabilizing the joints in rheumatoid arthritis patients. This was revealed in a new study led by Professor Sallie Lamb of and the University of Warwick and the Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS), Oxford University. The results, published in ‘The Lancet’ in 2014, proved that a tailored hand exercise programme improves function and quality of life for patients living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

More than 80% of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have hand and wrist problems, and this has a substantial impact on quality of life, function and productivity. This study aimed at devising a new strengthening and stretching exercise programme as a worthwhile, low cost intervention to adopt alongside medication. Called the ‘Strengthening and Stretching For Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand (SARAH)’ trial, it evaluated the effectiveness of adding an individually tailored, progressive exercise programme for the hands and upper limbs in addition to usual care.

Results of the Study

Approximately 80% of the patients using the SARAH programme alongside their medication, reported improvement of hand function a year after starting the programme. Significant improvements in strength and dexterity were also seen for patients performing the exercise programme. According to Mark Williams, Research Fellow at NDORMS, “Current best practice mandates medication regimens, which substantially improve control of disease activity and joint damage, but don’t always impact on disability and health related quality of life. By adding an optimised exercise programme for hands and upper limbs to usual care for patients with RA, we can addresses key issues of this debilitating condition to help patients in their daily lives.”

As part of the study, the team developed a manual that describes the treatment programme developed for the SARAH trial. The manual is designed to guide hand therapists through the SARAH exercise programme with detailed descriptions of the different elements. While patients can look this up for reference, healthcare providers need to work on implementing the exercise programme into clinical practice and ensure that patients have easy access to this treatment.

Thus a daily exercise programme for the hands and arms promises to be a proactive approach that enables people to manage their own condition and lead full and active lives.

#Arthritis #JointPain #Flexibility #HandExercises #Physiotherapy #RheumatoidArthritis

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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This web site is run by an Arthritis Specialist based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. On this site you will find news about the latest in arthritis, information about research results in the field, tips and information and diet and exercise, and much more.

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