NICE recommends physio-led exercise plans for axial spondyloarthritis

People with axial spondyloarthritis should receive a referral to a specialist physiotherapist for a personalised, structured exercise programme.


NICE says physiotherapy-led exercise can help people with spondyloarthritis have a better quality of life

This is according to a new quality standard from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The standard covers the diagnosis and management of spondyloarthritis in adults aged 16 and over.

It says that specialist physiotherapists, experienced in treating rheumatology and axial spondyloarthritis, should devise individually tailored exercise programmes.

These may include

  • stretching, strengthening and postural exercises
  • deep breathing, spinal extension and aerobic exercise
  • exercises for the lumbar, thoracic and cervical sections of the spine

NICE says this input from physiotherapists could reduce pain and fatigue, maintain or improve mobility, increase the ability to self-manage and improve quality of life.

Carol McCrum, a consultant physiotherapist at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, recently produced a resource to support NICE guidance on the diagnosis and management of spondyloarthritis.

She said: ‘The quality standard highlights recognition and referral, an awareness of the different kind of MRI that people require and the importance of specialist physio care once someone is diagnosed.’

Author: Robert Millett

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