Strong evidence confirms the effectiveness of physiotherapy to treat arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, with interventions to control pain and improve physical function.

Physiotherapy management of arthritis

Backed by strong evidence from randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews, the treatment of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions is a core function of physiotherapy practice. Timely access to physiotherapy services for patients with arthritis-related problems can delay disease progression, reduce relapse and disease severity, and assist in prevention of further problems.

Appropriate exercise plays a vital role in prevention and early intervention, and several studies demonstrate the effectiveness of land-based therapeutic exercise in managing both acute and chronic arthritis and related conditions. Research shows that specific exercise keeps joints mobile, improving cartilage health while maintaining muscle strength.

The benefits of exercising in water are also well documented, with good evidence supporting the role of aquatic physiotherapy in reducing pain and improving joint mobility, strength and balance, especially among older people and those with rheumatic conditions and chronic lower back pain.

The highly skilled physiotherapists in our practice can prescribe tailored exercise and aquatic programs to increase physical activity and function without aggravating any coexisting problems. We also provide realistic advice to encourage self- management and build patient confidence to make daily decisions to cope with their condition.


APA physiotherapists are qualified professionals with expert knowledge and skills in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. All APA physiotherapists must participate in continuing professional development to keep them up to date with the latest in techniques and leading research-based treatment.

APA position statement: Physiotherapy in the management of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. Australian Physiotherapy Association, 2005.