A special task force established by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has developed 4 overall principles and 10 specific recommendations to ensure that physical activity is a part of the standard of care among patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), spondyloarthritis, and osteoarthritis in Europe.
A special task force established by the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) has developed 4 overall principles and 10 specific recommendations to ensure that physical activity (PA) is a part of the standard of care among patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), spondyloarthritis (SpA), and osteoarthritis (OA) in Europe.
Although the World Health Organization and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) have developed general guidance for PA among healthy adults, uptake among individuals with rheumatic diseases is less, likely due to a fear of joint damage or flare-ups among both patients and their care providers. While existing EULAR guidelines1 and those by ACSM recommend exercise or PA, they lack in specifics on the type and dose of exercise.
The EULAR task force—composed of 22 European PA experts, 1 orthopedic surgeon, 9 physiotherapists, 1 psychologist, 1 occupational therapy nurse, and 1 human movement specialist—was therefore commissioned to:2
ACSM’s position stand was followed and the group kicked off the process by agreeing on the definitions of exercise and PA. The group conducted 2 systematic literature searches and meta-analyzed studies that measured efficacy of PA interventions. Results from here were used to develop the overarching principles as well as the specific recommendations during a face-to-face meeting, followed by independent and anonymous voting by the task force members to establish the level of agreement on these recommendations. The objective was to understand the barriers and facilitators of PA intervention in the said patient population.
The 4 overarching principles state that:
Specific recommendations by the task force include:
The guidelines have been developed for care providers, patient advocacy groups, and policy makers.