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Disease & Medication Information

Diseases & Medication Informatio
  • www.AlbertaRheumatology.comA collaboration by Alberta’s Rheumatologists
    Detailed pages on rheumatologic diseases, disease-targeting medications and complementary therapies, and other useful patient resources.

     

  • www.RheumInfo.comWritten by Dr. Andy Thompson, Rheumatologist in London (Arva), Ontario
    User-friendly summaries of rheumatologic diseases, medications and lab tests. Translations available in multiple languages.

     

  • The Arthritis Society
    The national group for patients with various forms of arthritis. 
    Includes a wide variety of summaries of rheumatologic diseases, disease-targeting and complementary medications, educational modules, links to past talks and local events, and other useful resources.

     

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis module - Developed by the Toronto Western Hospital
    An online educational module about ankylosing spondylitis, inflammatory back pain and helpful physiotherapy exercises for Ankylosing Spondylitis. 

     

  • Vasculitis Foundation Canada
    The national organization for vasculitis education and research. Includes useful patient handouts on various vasculitidies - giant cell arteritis (GCA), ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV), Bechet's disease and others - as well as other resources for patients living with vasculitis. ​

     

  • Osteoporosis Canada
    Canadian group on osteoporosis education, treatment and prevention. Useful information including a dietary calcium calculator and exercise recommendations for balance and stability.

Getting Active

Getting Active
Physiotherapy and Exercise
 

There are various community physiotherapy options in Alberta. In Alberta, coverage for physiotherapy varies widely. Some private plans will cover a portion with a prescription, however you can self-refer to most physiotherapists as well. 


You can search physiotherapist locations near you here: https://www.physiotherapyalberta.ca/ 


You can also contact the AHS Rehabilitation Advice Line at 1-833-379-0563 for free phone advice on what services are appropriate and available to you. 

Corbett Hall Student Physical Therapy Clinic is a non-profit clinic within the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Alberta. Physical therapy students provide assessment and rehab under the supervision of licensed physical therapists. Patients can self-refer  by calling 780-248-2070. Appointment costs are generally low. Because there is a focus on teaching, note that sessions may take longer than sessions in the community.

Educational & Group Programs

  • "Managing your RA" Group Educational Programs via Rheumatology Rehabilitation Services (University of Alberta)

    Group education program run over several days, empowering people with rheumatoid arthritis to manage their health and improve quality of life. Includes sessions run by rheumatology-specific physiotherapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, dieticians and Rheumatologists, an individual assessment prior to and follow-up 2 months later. Requires referral from your rheumatologist - please let us know if you are interested in attending!
     

  • "Managing your AS" Group Educational Programs via Rheumatology Rehabilitation Services (University of Alberta)

    Group education program over one day, empowering people with ankylosing spondylitis to manage their health and improve quality of life. Includes sessions run by rheumatology-specific physiotherapists, occupational therapists and Rheumatologists, an individual assessment prior to and follow-up 2 months later.  Requires referral from your rheumatologist - please let us know if you are interested in attending! 
     

  • GLA:D® Canada Programs for early Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis
    GLA:D® is an 8-week, group based exercise-based program developed in Denmark for people with symptoms of knee or hip osteoarthritis. There are two education sessions and then 12 supervised exercise sessions (twice per week). You can self refer - click here to find locations near you.

     

  • STEP Forward Supervised Transitional Exercise Program

    A beginner-to-intermediate transitional exercise program for people with one or more chronic diseases that limits their ability to move. Involves an individual assessment with an occupational therapist, physiotherapist and kinesiologist, 8 weeks of exercise, educational sessions, and individual followup. You can self-refer by calling the intake line at 780-735-3483.
     

  • AHS Better Choices, Better Health (BCBH) Program
    A free group educational program for people who live with or support someone who lives with a chronic disease. There are two streams - Chronic Disease Management, and Chronic Pain management. Workshops are in person or virtual. You can self-refer online.

Online Education Modules & Sample Exercises
 
Pain Management

Pain Management

Chronic pain is a common and often frustrating problem for people. Many people have chronic pain syndromes in addition to, or related to, their autoimmune disease. To complicate this, pain syndromes like fibromyalgia can share features with diseases seen in Rheumatology. 

Chronic pain is best managed in a collaborative effort by primary care physicians, chronic pain specialists and other allied health services. Key principles of management include graduated regular physical activity (i.e. slowly increasing amount and difficulty) and good sleep. Sometimes, different nerve pain medications can be helpful. Narcotics (opioids) are generally not recommended as they do not work well for chronic pain. Sometimes involving other specialists like cognitive behavioural therapy and psychiatry can be helpful for some people. Some people also find benefit from complimentary therapies like chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage therapy.  

Below are some useful resources to learn more about why chronic pain develops and how to manage it (links in text):
 

Online Chronic Pain Resources & Education


Educational Group Programs 
 

  • AHS Better Choices, Better Health (BCBH) Program
    A free group educational program for people who live with or support someone who lives with a chronic disease. There are two streams - Chronic Disease Management, and Chronic Pain management. Workshops are in person or virtual. You can self-refer online.
     

  • AHS Virtual Chronic Pain Program
    A new, free group-based education and self-management program for people living with chronic pain. Call 1-877-719-7707 for more information or to register. 
     

  • FibroFocus
    A multidisciplinary online program based out of Calgary for people with diagnosed fibromyalgia.  It is a free program through Alberta Health Services. Ask your provider for a referral if interested. 


     

Other resources

Other Resources

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