The important role of rehabilitation in patients with scleroderma


The physiotherapy It is shown to improve muscle strength, mobility and lung capacity in patients with scleroderma. In fact, this form of rehabilitation it minimizes disability and increases autonomy, which improves the self-esteem and mental health of people who suffer from this disease.

The Professional College of Physiotherapists of the Community of Madrid (CPFCM) wants to contribute to raising awareness and publicizing the main physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatments to treat scleroderma and care for people who suffer from it. For this reason, it has signed an action agreement with the Spanish Association of Scleroderma (AEE) in terms of research, training and improvements in treatments and care.

Rehabilitation treatments for scleroderma

Scleroderma is an excess production of collagen that accumulates in the skin and in some internal organs. Precisely, the skin is the most affected organ, but internal organs can also be involved, such as the lungs, among others, which generate serious consequences.

“Physiotherapy offers a wide range of treatments, which must be individualized, because the symptoms are diverse and not all patients present the same sequelae,” says Mercedes Franco, president of the CPFCM’s Dermatofunctional Physiotherapy Commission, who highlights the ability to Physiotherapy within rehabilitation to improve the quality of life of people with scleroderma.

Treatments to treat scleroderma include:

  • The use of hydrotherapy to stimulate circulation, the vegetative nervous system and joint stiffness.
  • The manual therapy, which is essential to reduce tissue fibrosis, contractures and cramps.
  • Running programs specific exercises to improve mobility.

Other alternatives that help reduce the stiffness of the joints are the use of paraffin or parafango before starting the exercises and stretching; the use of electrotherapy to decrease pain; laser phototherapy; as well as good postural hygiene and skin care. In addition, Madrid physiotherapists consider respiratory physiotherapy treatment essential, since without it the symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis and cardiac involvement are exacerbated.

Scleroderma, an invisible disease

Teresa Bello, president of the Spanish Association of Scleroderma (AEE), affirms that “invisibility” is another of the complications that affected people have to face. “If you don’t see the disease, it seems like it doesn’t exist,” he says.

«Our environment is suspicious because it does not appreciate external signs of scleroderma. All this makes it difficult for us to make ourselves understood by our relatives, both in our family, social and work environment, “he says.

“Physiotherapy helps patients with scleroderma by relieving our symptoms and improving our abilities. With physiotherapy we improve our mobility and muscular strength; In addition, we minimize disability while increasing our autonomy and independence, something very important for our self-esteem and mental health. We also optimize our postural hygiene, the functionality of the hands and the facial muscles; and finally, we improve our lung capacity “, clarifies Bello, who considers that physiotherapy is the” best ally “.

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