Practice Scenario of Physical activity and cryotherapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Practice Scenario of Physical activity and cryotherapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder of joints causing pain, infllammmation and swelling, thereby afecting mobility of the joints.  Patients of RA tend to  present a higher cardiovascular mortality rate. a. Physical Activities (PA) have been depicted as an important strategy to prevent cardiovascular diseases. However, the articular damage and the chronic pain induced by RA challenges its regular practice. Due to the fear of aggrevating the inflammatory potential and the pain, people suffering from RA often asked to avoid PA approach. Cryotherapy could be one choice to avoid the collateral effects of the PA.

Peres D et al conducted a review of studies targeted on the use of both PA and cryotherapy in RA patients. They aimed to identify evidences that both therapies could be combined in order to optimize the symptomatic treatment.

Four databases including MEDLINE, CINAHL, Elsevier and PEDro were explored to put forward the publications discussing RA, PA and cryotherapy interventions.Out of total 19 studies with RA patients identified, only 4 studies used PA in combination with cryotherapy. Other 13 used PA and 2 used cryotherapy intervention.

As per the outcomes of the PA combined with cryotherapy, an improvement in the disease activity and pain relief; however, no details of the PA intervention and an aerobic capacity were observed. Evidences suggested that aerobic exercises and multi-activity exercises with high intensity are most effective for improving the aerobic capacity. There are enough evidences in the literature demonstrating the advantages of this intervention on pain relief and disease activity.

All in all, neither study found associated physical activities to improve aerobic capacity with cryotherapy to ameliorate the disease activity and pain relief. This might be an innovative therapeutic strategy to improve the aerobic capacity in arthritis patients and subsequently reduce their cardiovascular risk while reducing pain and disease activity.


European journal of physical and rehabilitation medicine

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Original title of article:

The Practice of Physical Activity and Cryotherapy in Rheumatoid Arthritis – Systematic Review


 Daniele Peres et al.

European journal of physical and rehabilitation medicine
Therapeutic, Physical activity, Cryotherapy, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Joints, Review, Efficacy
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