Physiotherapy co-management of rheumatoid arthritis: Identification of red flags, significance to clinical practice and management pathways
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NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Manual Therapy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Manual Therapy, Vol. 18, Issue 6, (2013).
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, systemic, autoimmune disease. Physiotherapy interventions for people with RA are predominantly targeted at ameliorating disability resulting from articular and periarticular manifestations of the disease and providing advice and education to improve functional capacity and quality of life. To ensure safe and effective care, it is critical that physiotherapists are able to identify potentially serious articular and peri-articular manifestations of RA, such as instability of the cervical spine. Additionally, as primary contact professionals, it is essential that physiotherapists area ware of the potentially serious extra-articular manifestations of RA. This paper provides an overview of the practice-relevant manifestations associated with RA that might warrant further investigation by a medical practitioner (red flags), their relevance to physiotherapy practice, and recommended management pathways.
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