Managing Arthritis

I have learned about the importance of exercise and stress management to improve my symptoms. I have so much to live for, arthritis is not going to get in the way!” —Bob

Arthritis affects about 1 in 5 adults in the United States. If you are one of them, learning how to manage your arthritis through a self-management education (SME) program can help you take control and maintain a healthy lifestyle. SME programs can help you cope with chronic pain, deal with tiredness, and improve your eating and sleeping habits. Find out how an arthritis SME program can help you learn more and feel better.

Arthritis-Specific SME Programs

Arthritis Self-Management Program

Cost: Varies depending on organization; rarely more than $50.
Format: In-person workshop.

This course, developed by Stanford University, helps you learn and practice the different strategies needed to manage your arthritis on a day-to-day basis.  Each week you will develop your own action plan for the coming week, to help you gain the skills and confidence to manage your arthritis.  The 6-week interactive workshop consists of weekly 2 hour sessions guided by two trained instructors, at least one of whom has arthritis.  The workshops are offered in convenient community locations.

an older woman rubbing her hands in pain

Topics include:

  • Dealing with problems associated with arthritis.
  • Pain management techniques.
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  • Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, and isolation.
  • Managing depression.
  • Appropriate use of medications.
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals.
  • Healthy eating.
  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Making good decisions about your health.
  • How to evaluate new treatments.

Learn more about the Arthritis Self-Management Program. Locate a program in your area on the Evidence-Based Leadership Council website.External

Arthritis Toolkit

Cost: $43.96 (cheaper when buying in bulk).
Format: Self-study.

The Arthritis Toolkit provides much of the same information as the Arthritis Self- Management Program (ASMP) in a self-study format that you can receive by mail. The tool kit helps you construct your own self management plan to deal with your arthritis through exercise, and strategies to reduce pain, stress, fatigue, and other symptoms. It encourages goal setting, action planning, and thinking and acting proactively. You can work through the toolkit at your own pace, focusing on areas most important to you.   The kit is available in both English and Spanish.

The self-study kit includes:

  • Arthritis Self-Help book.
  • Information sheets briefly describing common problems and helpful solutions.
  • Self-test to identify elements and set priorities for a personal plan.
  • Exercise action plan with hints and instruction on use of other toolkit materials.
  • 4 exercise and relaxation CD’s.
  • Illustrated exercise guide.
Programa de Manejo Personal de la Artritis

Cost: Varies by organization, rarely more than $50.
Format: In-person workshop.

This course, developed by Stanford University, is a 6-week interactive group workshop for Spanish speaking people with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. This workshop can help you manage pain, tiredness, and other concerns by helping you learn how to exercise, eat healthy, sleep better, and manage your day-to-day activities more effectively. All the workshop sessions are held in Spanish. It is very similar to the Arthritis Self-Management Program (ASMP), but was developed to be culturally appropriate for Spanish speaking adults.  The workshops are held for 2 hours per week in convenient community locations.

Topics include:

  • Dealing with problems associated with arthritis.
  • Pain management techniques.
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  • Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, and isolation.
  • Managing depression.
  • Appropriate use of medications.
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals.
  • Healthy eating.
  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Making good decisions about your health.
  • How to evaluate new treatments.

Learn more about the Programa de Manejo Personal de la Artritis. Locate a program in your area on the Evidence-Based Leadership Council website.External

 

General Chronic Disease SME Programs

In addition to the arthritis-specific programs above, the following SME programs are for people with any chronic condition, including arthritis.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program

Cost: Varies by organization, rarely more than $50.
Format: In-person workshop.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program is a 6-week interactive workshop for people with all types of chronic conditions. This course, developed by Stanford University, can help people with one or more chronic conditions learn the strategies to manage your condition and have the confidence to carry them out.  This interactive workshop meets for 2.5 hours per week for 6 weeks in convenient community locations.  It is led by trained leaders, at least one of whom has a chronic condition.  This workshop is known by a variety of different names, including Living Well. It also is available in Spanish.

Subjects covered include:

  • Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation.
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  • Appropriate use of medications.
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals.
  • Managing depression.
  • Better breathing techniques.
  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Healthy eating habits.
  • Making good decisions about your health.
  • How to evaluate new treatments.

Visit the Self-Management Resource Center website to learn more about the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.External Locate organizations licensed to offer the program in your area on the Evidence-Based Leadership Council website.External

Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: Tool Kit for Active Living

Cost: $43.96.
Format: Self-study toolkit.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program Tool Kit for Active Living provides much of the same information as the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) in a self-study format that you can receive by mail. The tool kit helps you construct your own self management plan to deal with your chronic condition(s) through exercise, and strategies to reduce stress, fatigue, pain and other symptoms. It encourages goal setting, action planning, and thinking and acting proactively. You can work through the toolkit at your own pace, focusing on areas most important to you.  Also available in Spanish.

The self-study kit includes:

  • The workbook Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions.
  • Information Sheets briefly describing common problems and helpful solutions.
  • A self-test that helps you identify elements and set priorities for a personal self-management plan.
  • Action Plan description with instruction and examples for developing unique plan.
  • Exercise Action Plan with hints and instruction on use of the other exercise and activity materials, Relaxation CD and Exercise CD.

Visit the Self-Management Resource Center website to learn more about the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program: Tool Kit for Active LivingExternal.

Tomando Control de su Salud

Cost: Varies by organization, rarely more than $50.
Format: In-person workshop.

This course, developed by Stanford University, is a 6-week interactive workshop for Spanish speaking adults with all types of chronic conditions.  If you have one or more chronic condition, this program can help you learn the strategies and skills to manage your health and your condition(s) more effectively and live your everyday life. All the workshop sessions are held in Spanish. It is very similar to the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), but was developed to be culturally appropriate for Spanish speaking adults.  Workshop sessions are held for 2.5 hours per week for 6 weeks at convenient community locations.

Topics include:

  • Techniques to deal with problems such as frustration, fatigue, pain and isolation.
  • Appropriate exercise for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility, and endurance.
  • Managing depression.
  • Appropriate use of medications.
  • Communicating effectively with family, friends, and health professionals.
  • Healthy eating habits.
  • Better breathing techniques.
  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Appropriate use of the health care system.
  • Making good decisions about your health.
  • How to evaluate new treatments.

Visit the Self-Management Resource Center website to learn more about Tomando Control de su Salud.External Locate organizations licensed to offer the program in your area on the Evidence-Based Leadership Council website.External

More Information