Hi - I've been going to the physio since just before my formal diagnosis of RA. My GP referred me a while back when I told him that I found I was unable to do lots of normal things with my hands anymore. As well as giving me exercises she's been working on my inflamed knuckles with a small ultrasound gadget and gel - she says it helps relax the tendons deep inside. I don't notice much difference but have been going along with this twice a week hoping that it will pay off if I also do my exercises everyday. Today she told me that she wanted me to have more intensive stuff done with my wrists also and for that I will have to go into town 30 mins drive away twice a week for some kind of treatment that needs a technician to do it. I did ask her what it was but she just said much the same thing but it's done electronically instead of with ultrasound and covers more joints and is theraputic. Does anyone else have anything like this and if so does it work?

12 Replies

Hi Tilda,

the only experience I had really with physio, was prior to diagnosis my shoulder was the first joint I got pain and GP referred me for physio (did'nt do blood tests) I got no benefit, ab=nd eventually they scratched their heads and said they could do no more. My pains continued and eventually a locum ran bloods an lo & behold!

I do hear lots on here, getting benefit from physio tho. sounds as though will help you.

Good Luck, Gina.


Thanks Gina - well it hasn't worked yet although in the past when I've seen her for other things she's been excellent so I think it's just because this is RA that she's not getting anywhere. I just don't want to have to trawl to and from the hospital where the physio dept is unless I'm going to get some benefit if you know what I mean? Especially as driving is often pretty difficult with wrist this bad.

I wish I'd asked her for the name of the treatment now so I could have been more specific. I think from what I've read physiotherapy can be very beneficial for those with RA - and she has given me exercises for shoulders, wrists, fingers and knees when they are bad. I'm a great believer in exercise being helpful whenever/ wherever possible so that's been really helpful aspect to seeing her at least. Up here it's physio and video link that's the main rheumatology service provision. TTx


i've had physio in the past but it's mainly to build up my muscles as they are quite weak ,apparently a side effect of RA and it did improve things

Maybe it's worth having a couple of sessions to see if it helps and then decide whether to carry on?

Let us know how you get on

Julie xx


Yes that was why my GP referred me too (muscle build up) but now I'm in the system the physio seems to be working quite hard to alleviate my more problem joints which isn't something I want to query as I know from reading the NRAS mag today that I'm very lucky to have got my foot through the door. Apparently the statistics are that 32.2% of NRAS respondents waited over a year for a physio referral after diagnosis of RA and 31% had never been referred at all despite clinical guidelines across the UK saying that all RA patients should have access to a physio as part of their rheumy team. So now I've read that i count myself as very fortunate and will to my best to attend them all however dodgy my wrist! TTx


Hi first off all I'd like to comment on how pleased I am for you that physio means physio in your area, in our area for the past 2.5 years all nhs physio no longer involves massage or the use off the infa red or the other machinery they have. They still have all there gadgets in there offices but nhs cut backs now means they just provide you with photo copies off exercise sheets for you to learn and do at home.

I also agree with doing exercise helping but when you suffer in as much pain as we do and a good massage once a month would really help ease the pain and keep us moving then it should be allowed.

Sorry for the moan it Just riles me that I have to pay £40 a go for private physio, because this is the only thing that helps ease the pain and spasms in my back and neck, I would probably benefit from massage etc in other areas but just can't afford it.

I can understand you not wanting to travel if this treatment isn't going to help much, but you'll never know until you try it. FIngers crossed for you it really helps. Is there no one who could drive you there or is there not either a bus that goes straight there or even a ring and ride service you could use? since I had my licence revoked due to health I use ring and ride or buses to most my appointments


And find the ring and ride service great.

Hope this treatment works let us know what its called when you find out.

Take care Julie x


Thanks Julie - yes as this question progresses I hope it will be more about what kind of a physio service people are offered if any. I was shocked to read those statistics. Up here we have no rheumy team or way of contacting our overseas rheumy - just the head physio and our GP no rheumy nurses or pain clinics though. I accept this as an inevitable shortcoming of island life but am feeling much more appreciative of what we do still have. I think it's dwindling by the day here too but after a fair wait I did get onto the physio's list and am now being seen. I find a lot of things about having RA in England quite horrifying now - the paying for essential prescriptions and for physio treatment seems terrible from where I'm sitting.

Re transport to and from town - yes it's not a really big issue of course - the bus would be an option but I will have to bring the dog too because my hubby needs his sleep when he's come off a nightshift and the dog barks him awake everytime the postie or someone comes to the door. If the appointments land on days when he's not sleeping then of course he will drive me but we will have to see how it works out. I only query it because the massage with an ultrasound stick and gel don't really make any difference at all it seems, so a trek through for a wider infra red equivalent is questionable just now when I've got a lot on at home with our work. But I have got a friend whom I can ask for lifts if desperate and having heard how you fare I'm sufficiently appreciative of what I'm being offered to go the extra mile happily!

Take care - Tilda xx


Glad you have a friend who can give you lifts, sometimes we just need to swallow our pride and ask for that help.

Take care and I really hope this treatment helps, its worth giving it at least one go to see if it does work, if not I can totally understand the not travelling for it.

Julie x


Heard nothing so far Julie so perhaps the waiting list kicks in again and nothing will happen for 6 months? I can't drive today as wrists too menacing so hopefully the MTX will make a difference by the time they do give me an apt. Hope all goes well with your infusion and you don't get too stiff or pained while in the hospital. TTx


Hi Tilda, I have been having physio on my shoulder for the last 3 months and it has helped. Because my collar bone is so wobbly, the physio has been working on that with gentle massage and pressure. I also have an exercise band to use as well. I have to make sure my shoulder is in the right position (not always easy) and try to relax the shoulder back rather than let it come forward which causes pain. Also she recommended a heat pad which also works and helps take the pain away.

I had to wait 3 months before I got my appt and that was at my surgery so very close to home. Would certainly recommend you try it. LavendarLady x


Thanks Lavender Lady I will - I've had a month's worth of physio treatment on my knuckles and find that exercising has so far been the best solution to my RA to date. I think I would be a lot worse now if I didn't make myself do daily workouts and use that stress ball a lot. Fingers are getting a bit stiffer everyday though although it's a case of all of them not being able to fully bend now rather than one on each hand sticking bolt upright with swollen, purple looking joints now at least. I'm starting to wonder if the cold weather here isn't making all this much worse but there's not a lot I can do about it until the boys leave school! TTx


Just to update I heard from the physio at the hospital today and am going in for my first session with this new treatment tomorrow - it's supposed to be theraputic for hands and wrists and she said something about air but I'll let you know what it is and how it goes.


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