Should your consultant refer you to a physio?

Hi, I've just been diagnosed with RA. Steroids have reduced my inflammation (tho it feels like its coming back) and i have now started on mtx and hydroxychloroquine. I asked my consultant for a referal to a physio because my work is very physically demanding ( I'm a joiner and i build and install outdoor play equipment in schools). Not been working recently tho! He said i don't need one as i exercise (swim n cycle) Funnily enough cycling is my way of getting about when my feet are too sore to walk! Swimming keeps me sane! I'm worried about my ability to lift anything, struggle with a spoon at times! so really want to get some advice about weight bearing exercise, I used to go to the gym regularly. Has anyone else struggled to get a referal? is it worth insisting on? This is all so new and i feel a bit lost!!!

8 Replies

I was referred straight away by my consultant and am surprised to hear that you haven't been - get to your GP as they are able to refer you as well! Your meds will take a few months to kick in and in the mean time it's important you don't do any damage to your joints - before you do anything (other than swimming and cycling) I'd get some advice first! All the best, Jo.


right my consultant didnt refer me.. my health authiority does a self referal scheme yours might be same ring hosp and ask to speak to physio service


I would ask for an occupational therapy referral as well as physio - you are entitled to a referral. O/T will help with the tasks specific to your employment - and how to do them safely. Also good tips on helpful aides (ergonomic spoons!), hints and tips. they do a lot about joint protection too. Your gp, rheumatologist or nurse specialist can refer you to both.

Cece x


Dear RJRJ,

Firstly I'm really sorry to hear that you have been diagnosed with RA. I' m new to this site too but already I have found a lot of support from it; I hope you do too. I had great trouble being refered to physio, in the end the RA nurse refered me not the consultant. I have been going through a really bad patch at the moment and have been feeling very weak so wanted some advice on trying to keep my muscle tone. Went to the Physio and although they were very good there was very little they could do for me; they said I need to get sorted from the inside out (with Med's) first and then start working from the outside in with toning (hope that makes sense) I actually found my local osteopath to be the most helpful giving me posture advice and simply but very effective excercise; so if you are happy to pay go private with an osteopath. It does sound as though your consultant is attacking the RA straight away with strong medication so hopefully you'll feel the benefits faster and for longer. I've ha RA for over four years and only just going onto MTX! Very best of luck to you an kind regards Mel



I understand (now 8 months on from diagnosis) that you are supposed or entitled to an OT referral straight away. I didn't get one! I rang yesterday to find out what is happening because I was referred 12 weeks ago, and the nursey said well there is a back log you are just going to have to wait! So like others have said it might pay to go private? I know we shouldn't have to, but if you are concerned about muscle it's probably the best wayl I didn't really feel like doing any exercise until the RA was under control a bit as I found it difficult to kno when I was overdoing it. I wanted to give my body chance to get on top of the RA first. Don't know whether this was the right thing to do. But the most frustrating thing about all this is that you do have to slow down whether you like it or not... Good luck. and take care!

Julie xx


I agree with the others that you're entitled to various specialist advice. Even though you're doing excellent exercise (I'm just going back to swimming after a stupid break, and its such a good thing to do), the physios and others can advise you on specific exercises. I got 6 hydrotherapy sessions which were really helpful for exercises to combine with swimming. And I also took some swimming lessons to rid me of those bad habits which were straining shoulders and neck. Good luck.


So sorry you have RA. I understand how lost you feel because it is all new, frightening and the unknown but your rheummy team will sort you out and you will start to feel better when your meds kick in. I wasn't referred to a physio until 2 months ago and I have had RA for 9 years so make the most of them.

Good luck


Thanks to you all for all your words of wisdom.

This site is just such a find! Really helps me to sort out my thoughts and to know that others are having the same worries!! (i'm not losing my head!).


You may also like...