Arthritis self-management programmes are ineffective

Self-management programmes for patients with arthritis do not reduce pain or the number of visits patients make to their GP, according to a randomised-controlled trial published in the BMJ.

The researchers studied 812 individuals with osteoarthritis in their hips and/or knees. The sample was separated in to two groups, those who were placed on a six-session arthritis self-management programme and education booklet, the those who received the booklet only.

The individuals on the self-management programme experienced a reduction in anxiety levels, but neither group showed a reduction in pain.

The authors concluded that: ‘There is little doubt that self-management techniques provide some benefit for those with chronic or long-term conditions. However, there is currently insufficient evidence to justify a policy of active recruitment of patients from the primary care setting.’

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