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How rheumatoid arthritis group could benefit you
18 June 2018

Ipswich Hospital's rheumatoid arthritis group turned 20 years old last year.

Established by rheumatology consultant Prof. Richard Watts and rheumatology physiotherapist Sue Voules, the group has enabled many patients to manage their conditions through a range of specialised exercises and treatments.

Each week, members take part in exercise classes and circuits in the gym and hydrotherapy pool to help
with muscle strength, joint range of movement and general fitness. They can also have their hands waxed to help keep joints supple and to reduce pain.

Volunteer group treasurer Pam Prowse, a member for 19 years, said: “I was quite disabled when I first came to the group and while I and many of us have our ups and downs, there are many of us that have got older with the group and stayed supple and well for being here.

“It’s a nice social environment too and we meet away from here and organise fundraising events to keep the group going.

“The group has kept me mobile. Yes I use an electric scooter and a walker but I would not be able to do half the things I can do without the group – I would be being pushed around in a wheelchair.

“My son said to me recently, ‘mum, how many more years are you going to put into the group? I said while ever I can get to the bus stop I will carry on.”

Physio Sue Voules said: “The group offers patients a chance to exercise in an environment where they feel supported and understood.

“Many would be reluctant to go to a gym on their own, but here they know their joint condition is understood and therefore feel confident to exercise.

Members of the rheumatoid arthritis group with physio, Sue Voules.

The group meets on Thursdays between 6pm to 8pm in the outpatient Physiotherapy department which can be accessed through Entrance 5.

Membership is £12/ annum and £5/session. Speak to your GP if you think this group could help you.