Physical Therapist

Role of the Physical Therapist in the Management of Rheumatic Diseases


Physical therapists (PTs) are licensed healthcare providers who most often have a doctoral degree and are specialists in movement, pain, and endurance. PTs can help rheumatic disease patients learn how to manage their disease from day to day through education, use of a device, or ongoing treatment for pain and loss of function.

Where Does a Physical Therapist Work?

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Nursing facilities
  • Schools
  • Some workplaces
  • Gyms

Should I See a Physical Therapist?

If you are having trouble with any of the following, a PT can help.

Physical Therapy
A PT can design a program to help you increase or maintain your physical abilities, which include anything you do during the day that requires movement, such as:

  • Walking
  • Standing
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Cooking
  • Exercising
  • Sports
  • Hobbies

A PT can help you learn how to manage your pain levels and what to do during a flare.

Fatigue is a common symptom in autoimmune disease. PTs can explore tips and tricks to help you learn how to conserve your energy for the things that are important to you.

Joint Protection
There are many devices that can make your life easier and ease the strain on your tender joints. A PT can talk to you about your life and teach you how to use these tools to help you be productive.

Activity Modification
A PT can recommend a different way to complete a task or activity with less pain and energy use.

PTs can consult with you and your workplace to recommend accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

All states allow some form of direct access to PTs, which means that you can go directly to a PT without a doctor’s referral. However, check with your insurance company for their policies on referrals.

This information is provided for general education only. Individuals should consult a qualified health care provider for professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment of a medical or health condition.

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