January 31, 2020
A new study published in Rheumatic & Musculoskeletal Diseases showed that exercising the upper extremities – shoulder, arm, wrist and hands – improved ability to do daily tasks.
Researchers in Greece conducted a 24-week randomized study of people with lupus who have problems with these areas. To test the effects of exercise, participants were randomly chosen to be in one of two groups. One group was given a personal tailored exercise program to do every day at home plus training in better ways to do daily activities, use physical aids, protect joints and save energy. The “control” group did not receive the personal exercise program but was given the same training.
Using common measurement tools, the team checked all participants’ ability to do daily activities every six weeks from the time they began the study through six months.
There were significant differences in participants’ ability to perform daily activities. Among the group who received personal exercise instruction, 52 percent saw improvement at 24 weeks versus 8 percent of those in the control group. Similar significant differences were seen at every six week checkpoint. There was also a significant improvement in quality of life related to health. At 24 weeks, 70 percent improved with exercise plus training compared with 9 percent with training alone. Hand strength, dexterity, physical health and fatigue also improved significantly in the exercise group.
Investigators concluded: “Based on the results of this study, we confirmed the hypothesis that upper limb exercise programme, in patients with SLE, would result in improvements in hand strength, dexterity, performance of daily activities and quality of life, as adjunct to ongoing routine care.”