Frequently Asked Questions - Arthritis Action

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Members regularly ask questions of our qualified staff.  Some are very specific to their individual situations.  There are as well some questions which are asked more often.  We have listed a sample of these below along with the advice we provide.

Please note: The information provided should not be treated as a substitute for the advice of your own doctor or health care professional. If you are concerned in any way about your health you should consult your General Practitioner (GP).


Q: What can your approach do for me?

A: Our self-management approach offers you a selection of benefit options for self-management of your arthritis. These are based around helping you make lifestyle changes which will help you to manage your arthritis symptoms. As a Member you can choose as many options from the list as you feel would benefit you. The list does change, but currently includes:

  • Consultations with and/or telephone access to our Registered Dietitian
  • Subsidised physical therapy sessions with an Associated Practitioner.
  • Exercises to do at home
  • Recipes to try at home
  • Self-management events  held regionally
  • A biannual Members’ Magazine
  • An electronic Newsletter

We aim to continue to develop our programme in the future, taking into account evidence from clinical research.


Q: Is the self-management approach suitable for all types of arthritis?

A: Yes, the self-management approach can be potentially beneficial for all forms of arthritis. It includes a menu of self-management options that can be tailored and delivered to your specific requirements.


Q: I have another health condition as well – what should I do?

A: If you have another health condition, it is advisable to speak to your GP and – of course – any advice received from your GP or other health professional should be heeded.


Q: I feel constantly tired. Is this normal?

A: Fatigue is a common symptom of arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis.  It is important to eat the right foods, drink plenty of the right fluids, and try to balance rest with some regular gentle exercise. Please consult your GP, since fatigue may indicate other conditions.


Q: What is the difference between physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic massage and acupuncture?

A: Physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic massage all involve manual therapy where the practitioner uses their hands to help diagnose the problems and treat the patient. Although they are all manual therapies they are based on different philosophies – for more details click here.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into the body to help relieve chronic musculoskeletal pain.


Q: I already see an Osteopath/Physiotherapist/Chiropractor/Acupuncturist. What makes your suggested physical therapy different?

A: The charity’s Associated Practitioners are familiar with our work and have an interest in the management of arthritis. They will carry out an initial assessment in a way that is relevant to their profession. For instance, an assessment carried out by an Acupuncturist will be different to that carried out by an Osteopath or Physiotherapist. Any treatment will be based on this assessment after consultation with you. As a Member you are entitled to subsidised sessions with an Associated Practitioner per Membership year.


Q: If I have an assessment, will I have to get undressed?

A: Unless you visit an acupuncturist you will normally be asked to undress down to your underwear so that a thorough assessment can be made. An assessment usually starts with the practitioner looking at how you stand, how you hold yourself and the shape of your spine and pelvis. They will also want to feel your muscles and joints and see how you move. While this can be done through clothes they can get a more complete view if you are prepared to undress. You will be given privacy and once on the couch you can be covered with a sheet or towel.

If you visit an Acupuncturist you may not be asked to undress for the assessment, but treatment may require that you have to remove some clothing.


Q: Will the assessment or treatment be painful?

A: As part of an assessment the practitioner will examine you to find out where the problem lies, so it is important that you tell them if you feel pain at any point. Treatment is not usually painful, but if your muscles are in spasm, or the nerves are compromised you may feel something. Again it is important to tell your practitioner. Some people feel tired and a little sore after treatment. This is normal and is part of the healing process. Do tell your practitioner at your next visit.


Q: I am overweight and have osteoarthritis. How can you help me?

A: As part of our nutritional service to members, our Registered Dietitian can assist you in managing your body weight effectively. This service is included in your membership subscription.


Q: I remember the charity used to recommend a diet. Do you still offer that?

A: It is worth bearing in mind that there are no diets that can cure your arthritis. However we are all different and some do find changing what they eat might help to control their symptoms. Our Dietitian can help Members find a tailored approach to this.


Q: Your services seem focused on losing weight. What about weight gain?

A: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are often underweight (rheumatoid cachexia). Our Dietitian is knowledgeable within the field of rheumatology and can advise on both weight loss and gain.


Q: I am struggling to plan healthy meals. What do you suggest?

A: Besides input from our Dietitian, Members have full access to our recipe database. These recipes are created by our cookery Consultant (who has arthritis) and they might help give you some ideas.