The physiotherapist uses modalities and recommends exercises to help keep the joints flexible. The physiotherapist suggests new ways to do daily tasks such as picking up an object using the forearms.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS):
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) blocks pain signals from reaching the spinal cord. It helps to decrease muscle spasms, synovial fluid, and inflammation.
Ultrasound uses sound waves to create warmth, decreasing joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness.
Cryotherapy decreases swelling and inflammation. Cryotherapy can be used as ice packs, cold compresses on the painful area, mostly used in acute stages. Cold therapy is used in active joints where intra-articular heat increase is undesired.
Thermotherapy is used in chronic stages of rheumatoid arthritis. Heat therapy reduces muscle spasms. Heat therapy can be used for 10–20 minutes once or twice a day before exercise in the form of a hot-pack, hot water bottle, infrared radiation, paraffin, hot water bath, hydrotherapy, etc.
Rest and Splinting:
The joints are put to rest during the acute stage of the disease, if required. It relieves the pain in case of critical joint movement. Orthosis and splinting diminishes inflammation, joint stress, stiffness, and prevents deformities.
Hydrotherapy reduces pain and other symptoms with water. The part is submerged in warm water to relieve symptoms.
Patients use compression gloves to reduce joint swelling and pain and increasees grip strength or hand functions from using gloves.
Massage can help promote blood circulation and reduce muscle spasms. Massage is found to be effective for depression, elevate mood, and decrease pain.
Flexibility and strengthening exercises:
These exercises improve range of motion and help to build muscle strength. Pilates are donr as flexibility and strengthening exercises.
Aerobic exercises such as light walking are effective to manage chronic pain, joint inflammation, and other rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Low-impact aerobic exercise a day and 30 minutes of strengthening exercises every other day can be incorporated as a routine.
Assistive Devices and Adaptive Equipment:
Assistive Devices and Adaptive Equipment improve functional ability and decrease pain, keeping the patient suffering from rheumatoid arthritis independent. Assistive devices and adaptive equipments have beneficial effects on energy conservation and joint protection in arthritic patients.