To examine effects of person-centered physical therapy on fatigue and related variables in persons with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
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).
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).
Person-centered physical therapy focused on health-enhancing physical activity and balancing life activities showed significant benefits on fatigue in persons with RA.
- Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation