Arthritis: Symptoms, Treatment & Support | ͵͵


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Arthritis is a common condition which causes joint pain and inflammation. If you have arthritis, we can point you in the direction of the support available to you and the things you can do to help make things a little easier.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition which causes joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation. There are many different types of arthritis. Some types are long-term conditions, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis.

It's very common to have aches and pains in your muscles and joints from time to time. However, if these pains don’t go away after a few days or if they become painful to touch, it’s important to book an appointment with a healthcare professional.

What are the symptoms of arthritis?

Symptoms of arthritis include pain and stiffness in your joints, inflammation around the joints and limited joint movement. There are many different types of arthritis, each with different symptoms.

It’s normal to experience aches and pains, especially if you’ve carried out strenuous activity. But if your symptoms are unexplained, don’t go away within a few days, or if they're impacting your day-to-day life, you should visit your doctor or another healthcare professional involved in your care.

What can I do to help my symptoms?

Keep active

Regular physical activity can reduce pain, increase your strength and prevent joint stiffness. It’s important to find exercises that are right for you – speak to a healthcare professional for more information.

Find out more about being active as you get older

Look after your joints

It’s important to protect your joints to reduce the risk of more damage and pain, especially when carrying, gripping or lifting things. An occupational therapist can give advice on ways of carrying out everyday tasks in ways that protect your joints.

Simple things like keeping items within reach, using jar openers or electric tin openers and carrying things in both hands can help.

Healthy eating

Eating a balanced diet and keeping to a healthy weight can help manage your symptoms because being overweight can put extra strain on your joints, which can cause more pain.

Find out more about how to eat well

Medical treatments

Depending on the type of arthritis you have, there are different medicines and treatments available to help manage your pain. Speak to a healthcare professional about what is available, and their associated risks and benefits.

What benefits can I claim if I have arthritis?

There are many benefits and grants you may be eligible for if you have arthritis.

Benefits you may be entitled to

If you're over State Pension age and you need help with personal care because of arthritis, you may be able to claim Attendance Allownace. Personal care includes things like washing and dressing yourself and going to the toilet. 

Find out more about Attendance Allowance

If you’re under State Pension age and you need help with personal care because of arthritis, you may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment. 

Find out more about Personal Independence Payment

If your ability to work is limited due to your arthritis symptoms, you may be eligible to claim Employment and Support Allowance.

Find out more about Employment and Support Allowance

If you claim Universal Credit and work is more difficult for you because of your symptoms, you may be eligible for an extra amount of Universal Credit, called the limited capability for work-related activity element (or 'LCWRA'). 

Find out more about Universal Credit

Disabled Facilities Grants

For larger home adaptations, such as installing ramps and fitting specialist equipment in the kitchen or bathroom, you may qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant. This can be used to cover a wide range of adaptations.

Find out more about Disabled Facilities Grants

Carer's Allowance

If you have a friend or family member who looks after you for at least 35 hours a week, they may be able to claim Carer's Allowance. 

Find out more about Carer’s Allowance

Can I get help at home if I have arthritis?

If you need help at home with tasks such as washing, getting dressed and going to the toilet, the first step is to contact your local council to arrange a care needs assessment. They'll work out what sort of support you need and how much you can afford to pay.

Find out more about arranging help at home

Adaptations to your home, such as grab rails and ramps may make moving around the house much easier, and specialist equipment like bath aids can make everyday tasks simpler. You may also be eligible for financial help to pay for these in part or in full through your local council.

Find out more about home adaptations

Most local councils don’t provide support if you just need a helping hand with your housework, gardening or shopping. Contact a local voluntary organisation such as your local ͵͵ to see whether they offer these services.

See if your local ͵͵ can help with housework and other tasks


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Can I still drive if I have arthritis?

If your arthritis affects your ability to drive, you must let the DVLA know. You can be fined up to £1000 if you don't tell the DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you'll have to stop driving.

You’ll also have to let your insurance company know, but they aren’t allowed to charge you more because of your condition. If you haven't declared a medical condition and you have an accident where your arthritis may have been a factor, you could be prosecuted – and your insurance might not cover you.

Our information guide In the driving seat has more information about driving with a health condition and the types of adaptations you can make to your car.

In the driving seat information guide (PDF, 3.4 MB)

Am I eligible for a blue badge?

Having a Blue Badge lets you park closer to where you need to go. You may be eligible for a Blue Badge if you have arthritis – and if you claim benefits like Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence payment, or have difficulty getting around, then this will support your Blue Badge application.

Find out more about applying for a Blue Badge

Phone icon We're here to help

We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local ͵͵s.

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Last updated: Apr 10 2024

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