Christina Helging Opava

Professor/physical therapist

About me

Christina H Opava (formerly Stenström) is a full Professor of physiotherapy since 2006, a registered physiotherapist since 1978 and formally specialised in physiotherapy in rheumatology since 1996. Has a joint position with the Karolinska University Hospital, Department of Rheumatology. Leads research team with main focus on Physical Activity and Health in Rheumatic Disease.

Is a foreign adjunct professor at Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam College of Physiotherapy, Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences, Loni, India.

Research description

Main research focus on physical activity and exercise in the rheumatic diseases in intervention studies and implementation studies, development and adaptation of assessment methods and exploration of patients’ and care givers’ perspectives on physical activity. Studies on physical activity effects on mechanisms behind systemic and local inflammation, pain modulation and cardiovascular function are performed in collaboration with specilists in these areas. The research is translational and multiprofessional and performed in collaboration with researchers from multiple universities in Sweden and abroad.

Teaching portfolio

Current teaching consists of examination of Master theses within the KI Physiotherapy program. Previous teaching at all levels at eight Swedish universities and in the USA, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and India. Development and administration of courses within the KI Physiotherapy program and editorship and writing of textbooks (chapter) and other teaching materials in Swedish and English.

Regular lectures and presentations on evidence-based physiotherapy by invitations from clinics, professional organisations and patient organisations. 


University diploma, Physiotherapy, Lund University, 1978

Doctoral degree, Medical Science, Karolinska Institutet, 1993

Associate Professor (docent), Physiotherapy in Rheumatology, Karolinska Institutet, 1999

Full Professor, Physiotherapy, Karolinska Institutet, 2006


Academic honours, awards and prizes

- Distinguished Scholar Award, Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, USA 2002

- Nanna Svartz prize in Clinical Rheumatology Research, Pfizer/Swedish Rheumatology Association, 2004

- Ann Kunkel Advocacy Award, Association of Rheumatology Health professionals, USA, 2016

- Honorary membership of European League Against Rheumatism, 2017

- Lifetime Achievement Award, Association of Rheumatology Health professionals, USA, 2018

- Leadership in Rehabilitation Award, World Confederation for Physical Therapy, 2019

- Honorary membership of Swedish Society of Rheumatology, 2019

Loading bibliometrics...