Guide to Arthritis

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that affects millions of people around the world.1 It causes inflammation of joints, leading to pain, stiffness and swelling.2 There are over 100 types of arthritis, each with their own symptoms, causes and treatment options.3 Arthritis can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in older adults. It is also more common in women than in men.4 If you are experiencing arthritis symptoms such as pain, stiffness or swelling in or around joints you should speak to your GP for medical advice.

What Causes Arthritis?

Arthritis can be caused by a variety of factors, and different types of arthritis can have different underlying causes. Some of the most common causes of arthritis are genetics, age, injury, overuse of joints, autoimmune disorders or lifestyle factors such as obesity.5

How is Arthritis Diagnosed?

Diagnosing arthritis can sometimes be challenging, as there are many types of arthritis and the symptoms can vary from person to person. However, there are some tests and procedures that can be used to diagnose it. Some steps to diagnosing arthritis may include physical examinations to examine signs of swelling, tenderness and range of motion, analysis of medical history to look for incidence of injury or trauma to joints, scans to access any damage or inflammation, or blood tests.6

Exercising with Arthritis

When you are in pain, exercising can often be the last thing on your mind. However, staying as active as possible could help to reduce your pain and symptoms when done properly. A regular exercise routine can help you to improve your strength, help improve your balance, and help you to manage your weight. It is also proven to help improve your mental health. 7  It is important that you stay active to reduce the risk of your muscles and tissues becoming weaker. This could cause more joint pain issues in the future.8

Water Walking

 Water walking is a low-impact exercise which helps you to build muscle strength. Water is much denser than air, so exercising in water requires more effort! Low-impact exercises like this are gentler on your joints, making them a safer option for people who suffer from arthritis.9


Attending a yoga class with a qualified yoga instructor may help to improve strength, flexibility and fitness. It is a slow form of exercise which focuses on balance and strength.10 Yoga can also be a great form of meditation and benefit your mental health. Types of yoga meditation techniques include;11


  • Hatha – the term for ‘basic’ yoga
  • Restorative yoga – Uses supportive blocks, blankets and pillows
  • Hot yoga – Practicing yoga in a heated space
  • Vinyasa – A series of yoga movements that flow into a sequence



Cycling is another low-impact exercise with multiple benefits. Cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise which can help to build muscular strength. The intensity of cycling is adjustable, making it suitable for a wide range of mobilities. If you are just getting started, you can use lower gears to ease the burden on your leg muscles. 12


Simple and effective! Low-impact walking is something that nearly everyone can do. Walking can help to strengthen your muscles and increase your range of motion.13 Start slowly, walk a short distance and build up gradually as you get used to walking more regularly.

Eating Healthily

If you suffer from arthritis, it is important to eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight. Although no diet has been proven to help with arthritis, certain foods are thought to have anti-inflammatory benefits.14

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Being overweight can cause extra strain on your joints as well as increasing chances of developing certain conditions.15

Eating a Balanced Diet

It is important to eat a balanced, varied diet which includes all of these vitamins and minerals your body needs. 15

What is a Balanced Diet?

Eating a balanced diet means eating a wide variety of foods, whilst considering proportions and portion sizes to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.16

The NHS recommends that you should eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. For example, 80g of fresh fruit or 30g of dried fruits.17

Advice from the NHS is to ‘Try to choose a variety of different foods from the 5 main food groups to get a wide range of nutrients. Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.’ 17

Arthritis and Mental Health

Some people find that having arthritis effects their mental health. This most commonly manifests as depression or anxiety.18 If you feel that you are struggling, talking to someone you trust can make a big difference. This could be your GP, a friend, a family member or someone at Samaritans, Anxiety UK or Mind.

It is important to understand why you are feeling low or stressed, and talking to a therapist can be a great way to do that. A trained professional can help you unpack what is really going on in your mind, and remind you along the way that you are not alone.

Staying active with exercise can help to improve your mental health. Exercise has also been shown to benefit self-confidence and self-esteem.19

Vitamin D is often referred to as ‘the sunshine vitamin’ because when your skin is exposed to the sunshine, your body can produce it. Some studies have shown that vitamin D may help to improve mental health.20

Getting support for arthritis


If you have arthritis, it is important to remember that you are not alone and there is support available. Arthritis can be life changing, and you may need to adapt to a new way of performing everyday tasks, or make changes to your lifestyle, to help your condition.21

 Some useful resources for arthritis sufferers include;

Flarin 200mg soft capsules. Contain ibuprofen. Relief from joint and muscular pain, pain of nonserious arthritic conditions (caused by joint inflammation), back pain. Always read the label.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/communications/features/4things.htm
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/symptoms/#:~:text=The%20main%20symptoms%20of%20rheumatoid,over%20a%20number%20of%20days.
  3. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/understanding-pain/sources-of-arthritis-pain#:~:text=There%20are%20more%20than%20100,changing%20pain%20in%20different%20ways.
  4. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/osteoarthritis
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/arthritis#causes
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/faqs.htm#:~:text=Doctors%20usually%20diagnose%20arthritis%20using,doctor%20determine%20the%20best%20treatment.
  7. https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/exercising-with-arthritis/why-is-exercise-important/
  8. https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/exercising-with-arthritis/why-is-exercise-important/
  9. https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/water-walking
  10. https://www.versusarthritis.org/news/2022/may/why-are-yoga-and-tai-chi-beneficial-for-our-bodies-and-minds/
  11. https://ro.co/health-guide/yoga-meditation/#:~:text=Yoga%20meditation%20is%20done%20without,facing%20upward%20to%20the%20sky.
  12. https://creakyjoints.org/diet-exercise/cycling-and-arthritis/
  13. https://healthcareassociates.com/5-best-exercises-for-arthritis/
  14. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/healthy-eating/12-best-foods-for-arthritis
  15. https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/managing-symptoms/diet/?gclid=CjwKCAjw3POhBhBQEiwAqTCuBoATe_bUXILdAN6DuJ50zKsNpnWluddYVky0ol0IoxNOz7JoCXuinRoCFPsQAvD_BwE
  16. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-eat-a-balanced-diet/eating-a-balanced-diet/
  17. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/5-a-day/5-a-day-what-counts/
  18. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/emotional-well-being/anxiety-depression/arthritis-and-mental-health
  19. https://www.versusarthritis.org/news/2021/september/arthritis-and-depression-what-you-can-do-about-it/
  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29958055/
  21. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rheumatoid-arthritis/living-with/