Patient QI found no studies specific to the use of creative therapies in rheumatoid arthritis, however there are studies that show benefit in relieving pain in osteoarthritis patients.
In 2001 a group of four case studies was published which had tested the benefits of playing musical instruments for older adults with hand osteoarthritis. The participants played folk and big band melodies on a touch-sensitive electronic keyboard for 20 minutes, four days a week for a month and were evaluated pre and post session. Arthritic discomfort was measured using a visual Likert scale (1-10), while a MIDI sequencing computer program measured finger velocity. Two of the four patients demonstrated significant improvement in pain levels after playing, while three of the four had improved finger velocity and a finger pinch meter showed all the participants had their range of motion positively increased. A further result noted, was that all the participants had enjoyed the treatment especially as it involved social contact and leisure activities for patients with a disease which frequently results in isolation as the disease progresses.
Zelazny. Therapeutic instrumental music playing in hand rehabilitation for older adults with osteoarthritis: four case studies.J Music Ther. Summer 2001.