Objective: To examine effects of person-centered physical therapy on fatigue and related variables in persons with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Hospital outpatient rheumatology clinic.
Participants: Persons with RA aged 20 to 65 years (N=70): intervention group (n=36) and reference group (n=34).
Interventions: The 12-week intervention, with 6-month follow-up, focused on partnership between participant and physical therapist and tailored health-enhancing physical activity and balancing life activities. The reference group continued with regular activities; both groups received usual health care.
Main outcome measures: Primary outcome was general fatigue (visual analog scale). Secondary outcomes included multidimensional fatigue (Bristol Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue Multi-Dimensional Questionnaire) and fatigue-related variables (ie, disease, health, function).
Results: At posttest, general fatigue improved more in the intervention group than the reference group (P=.042). Improvement in median general fatigue reached minimal clinically important differences between and within groups at posttest and follow-up. Improvement was also observed for anxiety (P=.0099), and trends toward improvements were observed for most multidimensional aspects of fatigue (P=.023-.048), leg strength/endurance (P=.024), and physical activity (P=.023). Compared with the reference group at follow-up, the intervention group improvement was observed for leg strength/endurance (P=.001), and the trends toward improvements persisted for physical (P=.041) and living-related (P=.031) aspects of fatigue, physical activity (P=.019), anxiety (P=.015), self-rated health (P=.010), and self-efficacy (P=.046).
Conclusions: Person-centered physical therapy focused on health-enhancing physical activity and balancing life activities showed significant benefits on fatigue in persons with RA.
Keywords: Arthritis; Fatigue; Randomized controlled trial at topic; Rehabilitation; Rheumatoid.
Copyright © 2016 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.