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Scand J Rheumatol. 1981;10(1):17-23.

Physical training in rheumatoid arthritis: a controlled long-term study. I.


Twenty-three patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have been given physical training for 4 to 8 years. To compare, we have had a control group of equal size and with the same disease severity. The training program consisted of home-training and for most of the patients also group-training led by a physiotherapist. During the observation period we have found a significantly less pronounced progress of X-ray changes in the joints of the active patients compared with control patients. Physiological tests and clinical parameters, including sick-pension and sick-leave, show unanimously a better disease outcome in the active group of patients. There is probably a risk of overuse or disuse of the joints in RA but we believe that it is better to be overactive rather than the reverse. As in many other diseases, the general prescription of rest in RA is not adequate.

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