Who else can help me to look after my joints?
The healthcare professionals attached to rheumatology units help support people in adapting their lifestyle. This can include nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Your occupational therapist can discuss the information in this section with you and suggest more ways you can reduce aches, pain and strain, which may help to slow down the development of joint deformities.
Because changing the habits of a lifetime can be very difficult to do, many people find it helpful to get together with others who wish to do the same. Many occupational therapy departments offer joint protection programmes, where groups of people with arthritis support each other through learning and practising activities together. This may be part of an overall programme for people with arthritis.
If you find the self-help methods suggested here useful, you may like to join a local group. Arthritis Care, a national organisation with local branches, runs a programme called Challenging Arthritis, which teaches self-management techniques for people with any kind of arthritis. The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) run a programme for people with rheumatoid arthritis. There are similar programmes available locally for people with long-term medical conditions like arthritis. Ask at your doctor’s surgery or rheumatology unit about the NHS Expert Patient Programme.
How can my family and friends help me look after my joints?
Learning about the things described here can help your family and carers to understand some of the problems you might face. Some people find it very helpful if their family or friends become involved as they practise some of the ideas mentioned in this section. If they’re supportive, give you feedback on how you’re doing and help you to find solutions to problems, you may find you’re able to adopt the new movements or activities more quickly.