Self-Management for Arthritis
Self-management, put simply, is managing your arthritis symptoms yourself using a variety of methods to address both the physical and mental impacts. Arthritis affects people differently, so self-management means individuals can choose the strategies that best suit their needs.
Founded in 1942, Arthritis Action is the only UK charity giving hands-on, practical help to combat the pain of arthritis through self-management and lifestyle advice.
Staying active is essential for people with arthritis to strengthen the muscles around affected joints. Exercise can be as effective for pain as prescription painkillers, but getting started can be daunting. Beginning with something you enjoy, whether that is walking, swimming or Tai Chi, means you are more likely to carry on in the long term. Set realistic goals and build up slowly.
If you are looking to strengthen particular areas of your body, Arthritis Action has comprehensive exercises designed for people with arthritis on our website.
Healthy Eating and Weight management
People with arthritis often wonder what types of food they should eat or avoid to help reduce their symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, there are no particular diets or types of food that will make arthritis better or worse. The aim should be to eat a well-balanced diet and to keep to a healthy weight.
For every extra pound over a healthy weight an extra five pounds of force goes through the weight-bearing joints, especially the knees, hips and ankles. This means joints are carrying an extra five stone in weight if someone is one stone overweight, making joint pain worse.
Pacing your activities
Living with arthritis can be exhausting, and fatigue can set in. It is important to rest during these periods, but not to overdo things to compensate when you have more energy. Here are a few tips:
- Find a gadget to save effort or time. Or ask your GP to refer you to an occupational therapist or ask others how they manage specific tasks
- Plan your week. Break tasks down into smaller chunks and rest in between. Make sure you include things that make you feel good too. Seeing friends or enjoying a hobby can give you a real boost.
It’s good to talk
Try joining an Arthritis Action Online Group to meet others in in the same boat and share your unique experience of arthritis. Groups run on Zoom and are free to attend. Recent discussion topics have included pain management, distraction techniques and helpful gadgets.
For full information and dates see https://www.arthritisaction.org.uk/arthritis-action-groups/