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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?"

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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.

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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.

General fitness exercises

A man in an exercise class

Fitness exercises are very important to keep your hearty healthy. It can be as simple as walking a bit further or faster than normal.

Types of fitness exercise

Swimming

Swimming is an excellent all-round exercise for people with arthritis:

  • The water supports your joints, which makes it easier to move them.
  • You can strengthen muscles and exercise your heart and lungs by moving your limbs firmly against the resistance of the water.

If you have neck problems, breaststroke may make it worse. If so it's worth checking your technique. Remember, it's never too late to go to a swimming class if you need to.

If you have osteoporosis, it's important to do weight-bearing exercise as well as swimming to help maintain bone density.

Aquarobics

Some sports centres offer aquarobics. It gives a good overall workout but won't put too much stress on your joints. Check with your doctor first and go at your own pace if you feel the exercises are too fast for you.

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is a set of exercises done in warm water under the supervision of a physiotherapist. It's safe and effective for arthritis and back pain so ask your healthcare team what's available in your area.

Walking

Walking is a simple, cheap and very effective way to exercise. Putting weight through your legs when you walk helps keep your bones as strong as possible.

Start gently and gradually increase the amount you do each time. Start by walking a few houses away and back. Time yourself and then try to improve on the time each day. Or try gradually increasing the distance, or walking uphill more often.

Fitness classes

General keep fit classes (some of which are aimed at older people) and T'ai chi are suitable for people with arthritis.

Low-impact aerobics/step aerobics may be more suitable than high-impact aerobics. If you have joint pain some of the exercises may make it worse.

Yoga has also been shown to help some people with arthritis. Get advice from your physiotherapist before you start.

Cycling

Cycling is very good for strengthening your knees and for general fitness. Use an exercise bike or traffic-free cycle routes if you prefer not to go out on busy roads.

If you get a lot of knee pain you may have to take it very gently to start off with. Stop if your pain gets worse after cycling.

Gym

You may find it useful to join a gym and use different equipment to strengthen muscles and get fitter. Using weights can increase pain if they're too heavy so it's better to use very low weights and do lots of slow, controlled repetitions.

It can be useful to discuss your exercise programme with your gym instructor or physiotherapist.

Is there any type of exercise I shouldn't do?

Jogging can jar your joints and increase pain, so it may not be the best way for you to keep fit if you have joint pain.

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.