7 Ways to Treat Arthritis Digitally
You may be wondering how on earth arthritis can be treated digitally? Arthritis is a common condition which causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. More than 10 million people are living with arthritis or a similar condition in the U.K.
So how can you treat arthritis digitally? There are many apps and digital tools available which can provide advice, give you exercises you can follow along with, and give you a handy place to track your progress and increase your incentives.
Meta analysis of studies looking at the effectiveness of digital therapy for arthritis found that they outperform more traditional methods. The study found that exercises delivered digitally performed better than the comparison approach, within both three and six months. This may be because you can use digital apps at your own pace, anywhere you feel comfortable, and you can track your progress to help you feel more internally motivated.
“As an osteopath, I believe that any kind of movement will be of benefit to your body,” says David Vaux, Arthritis Action Therapies Manager & Exercise Lead. “Any apps, websites or gadgets that help you get more active and get your body moving are a great thing!”
If you’re interested in treating your arthritis digitally, you may be wondering how to go about it. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the best apps around to get you started. Remember that different things work for different people, so don’t be disheartened if the first thing you try isn’t a good fit. Try a few of the suggestions below and see what you can genuinely see yourself sticking to.
Pathways combines mind and body techniques to help you holistically improve your physical and mental health.
The app includes education aimed at helping you understand the science behind your pain, tools that you can use to naturally reduce your sensitivity to pain, and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) tools to help you improve your mental health and resilience. There is also a guided programme to help you learn mindfulness and meditation techniques, physiotherapy exercises for every difficulty level, and the option to track your symptoms so you can be more aware of your triggers and identify any patterns that you find for your doctor.
This app has a 14 day money back guarantee. After that, it is $14.99 per month (£12.12).
This app enables people with osteoarthritis to track and share their symptoms and progress, so they can keep their care teams and themselves up to date and aware of any changes or triggers.
Jointfully includes personalised reminders for you to take your medication, options to monitor your pain levels, mood, weight and blood pressure, video tutorials for physiotherapy exercises and daily pain management tips.
This app can help you learn what works for you, and share those insights with medical professionals and trusted friends.
Jointfully is free to download.
If you’re living with knee pain, this app might be able to help. Designed by orthopaedic surgeons, this app includes medically informed exercises which can help you strengthen the muscles around the joints, decrease stiffness and lose weight.
“We know that exercise is good for people living with arthritis,” says David Vaux. “Regular exercise helps to strengthen the muscles that protect and support the joints, and has even been shown to help reduce the pain of arthritis and improve function.”
This app is free to use and has no ads.
4. DownDog Yoga App
Exercise is really important when you have arthritis, as it can increase muscle strength around the joints and thus decrease pain and improve mobility. Yoga is a form of exercise which also incorporates breathing techniques to help you connect your mind with your body. Yoga can help increase fitness, decrease stress, improve mood, help with flexibility, promote a healthy weight and increase muscle strength.
If you don’t want to go to a yoga class, the DownDog app can be a great alternative. It offers various forms of yoga, including restorative and yin which don’t involve any standing postures, and you can choose your level from total beginner to advanced. Like a traditional yoga class, you will follow along with an (AI) instructor and you can save your favourite classes.
DownDog is usually $7.99 (£6.46) per month or $49.99 per year.
Getting a good night's sleep is really important for your mood and general well being. When you feel rested, it’s easier to focus, you’re less irritable and you generally feel better. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can have negative impacts on pain, so it’s key to find ways to get enough each night.
SleepScore can help you improve your sleep. The app monitors your sleep quality and environment by using the microphone and speaker in your smartphone. It can give you a detailed, stage by stage analysis of your sleep cycle.
By using your data, SleepScore will then give you personalised advice and recommendations to help you reach your sleep goals. It will also track your progress so you can see how your sleep improves over time. It can also compare your sleep data with people of a similar demographic.
This app is available in free and premium versions.
“The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, with support from Sport England and the Centre for Ageing Better, led a research project looking into perceptions, barriers and motivators for strength training among people with health conditions,” says David Vaux. “Based on their findings, they have launched a new website called ‘Stronger My Way’. The hub features advice and guidance on how to get started, as well as real feedback and stories from people on their journey to discovering exercise and strengthening, for an improved quality of life.”
Stronger My Way has free information, strengthening exercises, inspirational stories and advice available on their website.
This is an app that encourages you to track your pain on a daily basis, so it can start analysing your pain and you can get a better idea of what makes it better or worse. It also helps you reflect on your day and set goals for yourself.
Manage My Pain is quick and easy to use, and it can help you better understand your symptoms so you can explain them to your doctor for better treatment outcomes.
This app is available as a free or paid version.
Have you used an app or website to manage your pain? Do you think we’ve missed anything off this list? Let us know on Facebook.