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Rheumatology Services

We have links with other health professions such as podiatry, orthotics and dietetics, and also liaise with other departments such as dermatology, orthopaedics and respiratory medicine (chest clinic) where appropriate.

Rheumatology Services FAQs

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Will I need physiotherapy or hydrotherapy?

Physiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of rheumatic conditions. The physiotherapist can examine your joints and assess your functional abilities in order to design a treatment plan to meet your specific goals. Treatment can involve both physical 'hands on' techniques, exercise and electrical modalities. It is a team approach to treatment with you, the patient, playing a vital role.

An exercise programme is often provided for you to do at home, together with education to help maximise the effects of treatment. This may include advice on planning and pacing activities, joint protection, fatigue management and pain management strategies. Generally treatment is on a one to one basis but in some cases patients may be asked to attend group therapy sessions such as relaxation and/or general exercise classes.

Physiotherapists are based both within hospitals and in community settings, allowing patients to be seen both within specialist in and outpatient settings, close to their home or if necessary within their own home. Anyone seeking private physiotherapy should ensure that they are seen by a Chartered Physiotherapist, a list of whom can be found in the Yellow Pages.

Hydrotherapy, a water based therapy is a useful treatment for patients with rheumatic conditions. Most hydrotherapy pools are heated to approximately 37°C, which is much warmer than the temperature of a swimming pool. The heat facilitates relaxation of muscles and in so doing helps ease pain and enables easier movement. The buoyancy of the water is used to help improve joint mobility. This can be helpful for patients who are experiencing a flare and need to maintain joint movement, or for patients recovering from a flare who need to regain movement. Treatment sessions are quite short, 15 to 20 minutes, as it is easy to become quickly fatigued due to the heat and increased exercise.