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What can it do?

Welcome to the beta Arthritis Virtual Assistant. At the moment it can give you general information about your condition and medication, and provide you with useful exercises to help manage your arthritis.

Why do we need your help?

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant has been built to learn and improve with every use. That way, whenever you use it, you’re indirectly helping another person get the answers that they need for their arthritis.

What can you ask?

You'll get the best response if your question relates to a single type of arthritis, and is expressed as clearly and simply as possible. For example, "What are the best exercises for osteoarthritis?" or "What are the side effects of methotrexate?"

Are you sure you want to close your conversation?

Your conversation will not be visible the next time you visit the Arthritis Virtual Assistant. If you want to keep a copy of the advice you've been given, you can print it using the button at the top of the chat window.

Arthritis Virtual Assistant

The Arthritis Virtual Assistant is being developed into a brand new type of tool which will help you to get the answers you need for your type of arthritis.

This automated chat service is designed to provide general information about your condition and ways you can manage it. It’s been developed from over 80 years of our research work and also learns from the experiences of its users. It’s a ‘beta’ version which means it’s still learning from you, and others. It uses artificial intelligence to decide which are the best responses to give you and it will improve each time it’s used. The better the information we can provide then the more people we can help to manage their condition too.

The advice in this service isn’t a substitute for professional medical advice so we’d always recommend speaking to your doctor about your treatment. When you use the Arthritis Virtual Assistant, you’ll be asked for your first name and the type of arthritis you have, there’s no need to tell us anything more personal than that.

By using the Arthritis Virtual Assistant you confirm that you understand and accept the terms of use and consent to how we will use the information you provide.

Helpline 0800 5200 520 More information

Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes.

Tablets and creams for osteoarthritis

A number of tablets and creams can help osteoarthritis symptoms. Because they work in different ways you can combine different treatments if you need to. Your pharmacist can advise you and supply paracetamol, and some low-dose tablets and creams without a prescription.

Over-the-counter painkillers for osteoarthritis

Painkillers (analgesics) often help with pain and stiffness, although they don’t affect the arthritis itself and won’t repair damage to your joint. They’re best used occasionally when the pain is very bad or when you’re likely to be exercising.

Paracetamol is usually the best and safest painkiller to try first, but make sure you take the right dose as most people take too little. You should try taking 1 g (usually two tablets) three or four times a day. It’s best to take them before the pain becomes very bad but you shouldn’t take them more often than every four hours.

Combined analgesics (for example co-codamol) contain paracetamol and a second codeine-like drug, and they may be helpful for more severe pain. They’re stronger than paracetamol and are therefore more likely to cause side-effects such as constipation or dizziness.

Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for osteoarthritis

Over-the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can also help. You can use these for a course of about 5–10 days, but if they’ve not helped within this time then they’re unlikely to. If the pain returns when you stop taking the tablets, try another short course.

If you’re already taking NSAID tablets, speak to your doctor about non-NSAID creams (for example capsaicin cream) to avoid taking too much of one type of drug.

You shouldn’t take ibuprofen or aspirin if you’re pregnant, or if you have asthma, indigestion or a stomach (gastrointestinal) ulcer, until you’ve spoken with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you know you’re going to be more active than usual, try taking a painkiller before you start to avoid increased pain later.

Anti-inflammatory creams and gels for osteoarthritis

You can apply anti-inflammatory creams and gels directly onto painful joints three times a day. There’s no need to rub them in – they absorb through your skin on their own. They’re especially helpful for osteoarthritis of the knee or hand but not for deep joints such as the hip.

Anti-inflammatory creams and gels are extremely well tolerated as very little is absorbed into your bloodstream. They’re a good option if you have trouble taking tablets. You can decide if they help your pain within the first few days of trying them.

Helpline

0800 5200 520

Our new helpline: Call us for free information, help and advice on your type of arthritis. Open Mon–Fri 9am–8pm.

All calls are recorded for training and quality purposes

Virtual Assistant

Our new Arthritis Virtual Assistant uses artificial intelligence to answer your arthritis related questions 24/7.

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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.