Role of the Physical Therapist in the Management of Rheumatic Disease

physical therapist

Physical Therapists (PTs) are licensed healthcare providers who most often have a doctoral degree. All states allow some form of direct access to PTs, which means that you can go directly to a PT without a doctor’s referral. However, check with your insurance company for their policies on referrals. You can find PTs in hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing facilities, schools, and some workplaces and gyms. PTs are specialists in movement, pain, and endurance, and can help you learn how to manage your disease from day to day. This can be through education, use of a device, such as a cane, or ongoing treatment for pain and loss of function. PTs are focused on you and your unique needs.

Should I see a Physical Therapist?

If you are having trouble with any of the following, a physical therapist can help.

Physical Therapy
A PT can design a program to help you increase or maintain your physical abilities, which include anything you do during the day that requires movement: walking, standing, swimming, biking, cooking, exercising, sports, or hobbies. Work or play, these activities are important to your overall quality of life.

A PT can help you learn how to manage your pain levels, and what to do during a flare.

Fatigue is a common symptom in autoimmune disease. PTs can explore tips and tricks with you to help you learn how to conserve your energy for the things that are important to you.

Joint Protection
There are many devices that can make your life easier and ease the strain on your tender joints. A PT can talk to you about your life and teach you how to use these tools to help you get things done.

Activity Modification
Is there something you love to do, or need to do, that you now find difficult? A PT can recommend a different way to complete a task with less pain and energy use.

PTs can consult with you and your workplace to recommend accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This information is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnoses and treatment of a medical or health condition.

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