Regional Arthritis Center at Saint Francis

Regional Arthritis Center

Regional Arthritis Center in Southeast Missouri

The Southeast Missouri Regional Arthritis Center (SEMO RAC) is one of seven centers established in Missouri by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. It is designed to provide arthritis, osteoporosis and chronic disease education, information, and services to individuals, professionals, and community groups and organizations.

Goals of SEMO RAC

  • Improve the health and quality of life for people with arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Encourage early recognition, diagnosis and professional care
  • Provide education for successful disease self-management
  • Develop and support a network of volunteers to help meet the needs of people in our service area in their communities

Juvenile Arthritis Care

The Missouri Arthritis and Osteoporosis Program has referral service available for families who need assistance caring for a child with juvenile arthritis


Books and videos are available to check out. Free brochures provide educational information on various rheumatic diseases and self-management techniques.

Physician Referral Program

Contact the Southeast Missouri Regional Arthritis Center at 1–888–216–3293 for a complete listing of rheumatologists in your regional area.

Arthritis Exercise Classes at Saint Francis

Arthritis Aquatics Classes

These water exercise programs are designed for people with arthritis and related conditions. You do not have to know how to swim to enjoy these fun water-exercise classes. The warmth and buoyancy of the water helps:

  • Decrease strain on joints and muscles
  • Decrease pain and stiffness
  • Increase flexibility, mobility and strength
  • Regain independence in activities of daily living

Tai Chi for Arthritis

This exercise program is based on the sun style of tai chi. Tai chi is one of the most effective exercises for physical and mental well-being. Qigong movements enhance breathing and relaxation to help decrease inflammation and pain. Goals of this class include:

  • Improved flexibility, balance and muscle strength
  • Improved posture
  • Integration of the mind and body

Learn more about arthritis exercise classes offered at Saint Francis Medical Center’s Fitness Plus.

Arthritis Programs throughout Southeast Missouri

The programs detailed below are offered in various locations throughout southeast Missouri. To find a class near you, call SEMO RAC at 1–888–216–3293 or visit Missouri Regional Arthritis Centers online at

Fees may apply for classes and vary by facility. It is recommended that you talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program

This low-impact exercise program is designed specifically for people with arthritis. Using gentle activities, the exercises help increase joint flexibility and range of motion and help maintain muscle strength. This class can be taken in either a sitting or standing position. Goals of this class include:

  • Decreasing pain and stiffness
  • Increasing flexibility and mobility
  • Increasing strength
  • Increasing independence in activities of daily living

Other benefits include increased socialization, motivation, personal accountability and improved self-esteem.

Arthritis Tool Kit

People with arthritis can live a healthy life by actively managing the physical and emotional problems that come with their disease. The Arthritis Toolkit contains information and tips that help many people with arthritis and fibromyalgia live happier, healthier, more comfortable lives.

Toolkits are available to check out. After completing the program, individuals may return the toolkit or choose to purchase the materials for $25. Scholarships are available for a limited time.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program

This six-week self-management program was developed by researchers at the Stanford University Patient Education Research Center to improve your knowledge of living a healthy life with a chronic condition. The sessions provide information about issues related to a variety of conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, emphysema and others. Program goals and benefits include:

  • Identify ways to deal with pain, fatigue, difficult emotions and stress
  • Discuss the roles of exercise and nutrition in chronic conditions
  • Discuss ways to form a partnership with your healthcare team
  • Increased socialization
  • Increased motivation and personal accountability

This program is designed to complement the professional services provided by your healthcare team.

Support Groups

SEMO RAC offers support groups for arthritis and fibromyalgia in various locations throughout southeast Missouri. Support groups are designed to:

  • Improve social interaction
  • Decrease sense of isolation
  • Increase knowledge of rheumatic diseases, self-management skills and treatment options
  • Serve as a place where reinforcement and encouragement of individual self-esteem, self-determination and self-sufficiency are promoted