A series of six-week courses to help people living with arthritis manage their pain and fatigue and develop a healthy lifestyle will be delivered in 14 locations around the country, starting in February.

The Living Well with Arthritis self-management course gives people with arthritis the tools and techniques to help them better manage their condition. The award-winning course will be held in Athlone, Celbridge, Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Letterkenny, Limerick, Galway, Tralee, Waterford, Westport and Wexford, starting this month.

The course is delivered by Arthritis Ireland and is suitable for people with any form of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, or related conditions like fibromyalgia or lupus.

Previous participants on the course have reported that it helped decrease their pain, reduced their reliance on health professionals and medication, and improved their overall sense of well-being.

Participants learn about pain and fatigue management; healthy lifestyle and the importance of healthy eating; dealing with negative emotions; and exercise techniques for weak and damaged joints.

Andrea MacMahonAndrea MacMahon from Limerick was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2010 and she also has fibromyalgia. She is one of the course leaders and an Arthritis Ireland Ambassador. According to Ms MacMahon “This programme has been proven to be an essential part of effective arthritis treatment. After completing the course, people are able to do things that they couldn’t before, they experience improvements in their mobility, mood and in their quality of life.”

A previous course participant commented: “While my friends and family support me, I don’t think they really understand what it’s like to live with a chronic illness. Many of the people who attended the course will tell you they didn’t require support, myself included. What we did need was the skills to manage living with a chronic illness.”

Developed by Stanford University, nearly 8,000 people have successfully completed the Living Well with Arthritis course since it was introduced here in 2006 by Arthritis Ireland.