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Rehabilitation Courses

How a rehabilitation course could help your axial SpA

This information is for anyone with axial spondyloarthritis, including people with ankylosing spondylitis.

Some NHS hospitals run rehabilitation courses for people with axial SpA

These usually last 1 to 2 weeks and take a holistic approach. Physiotherapy and activity plays a large role.

Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (Stanmore, London)

The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) runs a three week in-patient programme. It offers information, education, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy. All patients can access occupational therapy and counselling.

The team is lead by Dr Gayatri Mittal, Clinical Lead for axial SpA services. For further information please contact Dr Mittal’s office on 0208 385 3040 or email.

Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (Bath)

The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath (RNHRD) has a long tradition of providing excellent clinical care for axial SpA patients. They run a specialist axial SpA rehabilitation course. The aim of this course is to promote self management and provide patients with the resources to optimise their health.

The axial SpA course aims to help:

  • People with a new diagnosis of spondyloarthropathy (mainly axial spondyloarthritis, but also psoriatic spondyloarthritis, undifferentiated spondyloarthritis and inflammatory bowel disease associated spondyloarthritis)
  • Those experiencing a flare of their condition
  • Post surgery. For example after hip replacement
  • Maximise outcome on anti-TNF therapy

The programme is provided at three different levels of intensity to cater for different levels of disease severity and functional ability.  People who go on the course are accommodated in flats close to the hospital.

Groups are made up of a maximum of 12 patients, and for people for whom group management is not suitable, the option of hospital admission for individualised treatment is available.

The programme is run by a multidisciplinary team which includes:

  • physiotherapists
  • consultant rheumatologist
  • occupational therapist
  • counsellors
  • pharmacist
  • dietician
  • health care assistants
  • administrator

The programme is largely delivered by the physiotherapy team who supervise the exercise and hydrotherapy sessions and provide the majority of the education sessions.  Each person on the course is reviewed by the consultant rheumatologist on a weekly multidisciplinary ward round where individual progress on the course is discussed and any issues around medications, investigations and complications of disease are dealt with.

The other health professionals on the team provide group and, if needed, individual sessions on their specialist areas over the course of the two-week programme.

This is done in a number of ways:

  • Education – helping people learn about their disease and the best way to manage it
  • Exercise – reducing pain and stiffness, maintaining erect posture and preserving mobility through graded exercises and stretches
  • Pain management – developing pain management strategies
  • Networking – giving people with axial SpA the opportunity to meet, learn from and work with others with axial SpA

Accessing the RNHRD Course

Patients can be referred to this NHS run course by their consultant rheumatologist or by their GP to a rheumatology consultant at the RNHRD in Bath to be assessed for their suitability for the course.

Referrals should be made via Choose and Book or in writing to:
Dr Raj Sengupta, Consultant Rheumatologist, RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre
Royal United Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Combe Park, Bath, BA1 3NG

Further information about the course can be obtained from: Belinda Jones, Course Bookings Administrator on 01225 821349 (


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