Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic and painful clinical condition that leads to progressive joint damage, disability, deterioration in quality of life, and shortened life expectancy. Even mild inflammation may result in irreversible damage and permanent disability. The clinical course according to symptoms may be either intermittent or progressive in patients with RA. In most patients, the clinical course is progressive, and structural damage develops in the first 2 years. The aim of RA management is to achieve pain relief and prevent joint damage and functional loss.
Physiotherapy and rehabilitation applications significantly augment medical therapy by improving the management of RA and reducing handicaps in daily living for patients with RA. In this review, the application of physiotherapy modalities is examined, including the use of cold/heat applications, electrical stimulation, and hydrotherapy. Rehabilitation treatment techniques for patients with RA such as joint protection strategies, massage, exercise, and patient education are also presented.