There isn't often much discussion about physio. In the past I was offered a short 3 session course which gave me exercises but not much else. Since I've been off meds and feeling pretty bad, I decided to try more physio because I was threatened with an op for my knees and wanted to build up the muscle strength around them.

Had my second session with a (private) physio and it was well worth while.

She checked on the impact of the earlier exercises which I've been doing conscientiously, and gave me a very gentle massage on my knees to get the patella a bit more mobile. Now I can bend my knees more and they do feel freer. I've got to continue the exercises and also an additional one for my shoulder which is a bit tired after helping me to get up from seated.

People do talk about how exercise is good for both RA and OA and this bears it out I think. If you can, its well worth it I think.

24 Replies

  • Just a thought Cathie as I know how bad your knees have been. My physio did acupuncture at the hospital , weekly session for eight weeks. Worked amazingly for about six month, so maybe your physics are trained too?

  • Yes she offered this to me. I was a bit reluctant because I'd had acupuncture for many years before we moved to Scotland. If it helped you then I might give it a whirl. My prob is that 'alternative' practitioners all go a bit funny on me, rebirthing, colour therapy, stuff. Perhaps this one wont!

  • I have been having hydrotherapy with our physios. Everyone can have a course of six and then pay 4.50 per session after that if you would like to carry on with it. Really really good for my stiffness. Worth asking about x

  • Hello there, I'm very interested in your reply and wonder which area of the country you are and whether you have the paid sessions at the hospital in the daytime or evening? We have the same system, 5 hydrotherapy sessions on the NHS, then we formed a group using the same physios and paying them but meeting in the evening. The hospital trust has cancelled the sessions and is making us jump through so many legal hoops as to make it very difficult for a small community group to continue. I take it you have the full support of the hospital for your paid sessions? After all we are only trying to help ourselves and self manage our condition!

    Look forward to your replyx

  • I'm in Edinburgh. They've not offered me physio at hospital so I'm using a very good physio nearby. When I was in Oxford more than ten years ago I got physio + hydro they offered additional paid sessions but I heard nothing more

  • Hi. Yes it is all part of the physiotherapy department at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. We have six free sessions and then they do RA support group on a Wednesday for £4.50 if you want to carry on. I have to say that the care and attention from everyone at Southmead has been absolutely brilliant Can't fault them.

  • That's great!

  • You're right hydro is enjoyable and gives a great relief. I don't know of anywhere here that does it though. I will ask

  • Hi Cathie

    If you can't find physio led hydrotherapy sessions in your area you may want to ask at local leisure pools as some will raise the temperature of the pool for certain sessions ie for disability swim session or you could go in after a mums and babies session when it will be warmer. Not as warm as a hydro pool but better than nothing maybe? X

  • I very much agree with you my experience of physiotherapy has been much the same they were of little or no use to me offering a few exercise on a sheet that I could have looked up on the Internet and done myself from home

  • I was actually saying that I'd found a good physio and that she was helping me a lot. There are good and less brilliant ones, but I want to explore what exercise can offer before even thinking of surgery, which seems to be an option offered far too soon

  • Oh dear, that is unfortunate .. my Physio saw me last from June to November and didn't push me to leave .. I said I was ready to do my exercises at home. He did knee massages and ice and heat treatment and traction on my ankles. Wax baths for my hands. Got me walking after staggering about on two sticks and strengthened my upper body for when I need to use my sticks. He always is available at the end of the phone and it would be nice if I could clone him and send him to several of you. ;-)

  • Agree totally with Cathie ... see what the exercise can do and I also know my Physio used to get people fit for surgery by building up strength in the hydro pool. (Just that I think he was training people for the Olympics LOL .. they don't call him Arnie for nothing!!) Good luck Cathie. Are you starting your biologic soon?

  • I'm still waiting for bupa to contact me. It's been four months this mess

  • Oh no ... I was left waiting for two months waiting for Enbrel my first anti-tnf, this time last year but had been without a med that was working effectively for about six, so you go so downhilll and it is hard to get back on track .. but you will and hoping I will too. Didn't realise you were doing it through BUPA. I have BUPA but don't use it for RA clinic or meds but could use it for joint operations etc.

  • The hospital here in Edinburgh use bupa, I've been waiting for ages to go back to anti tnfs so I hope it won't be much longer as I'm very stiff and inflamed.

  • Aww so sorry Cathie . .been there just very recently and it is soul destroying. Hope so much they get your med sorted very soon. xx

  • I seem to be getting it on monday

  • I do hope so!!! ;-)

  • I had physio, referred by my rheumatologist, and I too found it excellent. She sorted out the stiffness in my neck which turned out to be nothing to do with RA in the first place. She also helped with my back and hips and was able to identify that some of the stiffness was due to me walking awkwardly, compensating for pain in other joints. She also kind of retaught me to stand and walk correctly so that I reduce further problems. In addition she diagnosed mild joint hypermobility which accounts for some of the fatigue I experience. It was well worth going. But she was very good at what she does.


  • sounds like you got an excellent physio.....nice was just alright, nice girl but didn't really offer much by way of practical things i could do to help myself. she did however refer me on to hydrotherapy and it is excellent and i would highly recommend it.

  • If I won the lottery I would get my own private swimming pool. the search for a quiet hydro pool continues in the meantime. Likely to be some time as I dont really do the lottery!

  • Then we could all come round and use your pool how fab would that be. I have been thinking about getting a spa pool but I am not sure as they seem very expensive to run.

  • I shall have to start doing lottery then!

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