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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.

Strengthening exercises

Lady doing situp

What are strengthening exercises?

Strengthening exercises help you to strengthen your muscles so they can support your joints. To strengthen muscles we usually need to move them against some resistance.

Why are strengthening exercises important?

If your muscles are weak, your joints can become unstable, which can be painful.

You probably won't want to move when you’re in pain, but this can cause your joints to become stiff and more painful. After only a short time your muscles will start to weaken and get smaller.

Eventually the pain in your joints and weakness in the muscles around them will mean you won't be able to do what you could before. Stretching exercises can help prevent this.

How should I do strengthening exercises?

Do strengthening exercises slowly. Start with a low number of repetitions and build up gradually.

It's normal for your muscles to feel a bit sore after exercise, especially if you're not used to it, but you should stop if you have sudden or severe pain in your muscles or joints. Seek medical advice if the pain persists after you have finished exercising. 

If you’re back to normal by the next day then start again, but start slowly. If all's well after that, gradually increase the amount you do each day.

You may want to try Pilates, which focuses on strengthening the muscles involved in improving posture and keeping your joints in the correct position. Discuss which classes would be best for you with your physiotherapist.

If your joints are especially hot or swollen, leave the strengthening exercises until your joints settle down again. You can still do the stretching exercises, but do them gently and only do a few repetitions once a day.

You can find some stretching and strengthening exercises at the end of our Keep moving booklet (PDF 3.7 MB)

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.