Intervention programs for arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.

Disability reduction or prevention programs for people with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions reduce long-term pain and disability but reach only a fraction of their target audience. Few public health professionals are aware of these programs or their benefits. The objective of this study is to review and describe packaged (ready-to-use) arthritis self-management education and exerciselphysical activity programs that have had at least preliminary evaluation. Nine intervention programs (five self-management education programs, and four exercise/physical activity programs) met study criteria. Several of the packaged arthritis interventions reviewed help people with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions maximize their abilities and reduce pain, functional limitations, and other arthritis-related problems. Other packaged interventions show promise in reducing pain, disability, and depression and in increasing self-care behaviors, but they need to be evaluated more extensively.