When you get the diagnosis from a health care practitioner your first thought will be “Oh my goodness! I have osteoarthritis! I must be old and worn out so this is the end of my life.” You imagine those gnarled old hags hands and limping, stooped old people….
Yup, been there, done that and got the T-shirt but it is NOT the case. I was diagnosed at the age of 28 in my spine and 37 in my hands. Am I still active- YES! I ride my horse, including jumping him (though we stick to under 1 meter now!) and I look after the 5 horses on our property. I do my own house work, gardening and can still walk round Field Days (big New Zealand agricultural show) from 9 a.m. til 4 p.m.
Do make sure when you have calmed down from the panic of I Have Osteoarthritis that you understand exactly what osteoarthritis is. This is a YouTube video entitled I have Osteoarthritis and it explains OA quite well, even though the guys voice is very boring it is worth watching
Step 1: Get Over The “I Have Osteoarthritis” Mentality!
Life does not end but you do have to get over the initial “I have osteoarthritis” thought and start taking control of the condition.
The first thing to realise is that there is NO CURE. Once you get your head around the fact and realise what you can do is MANAGE your osteoarthritis then things start to get clearer.
Step 2: Anti-Inflammatory Therapies
Your Doctor will no doubt give you non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Osteoarthritis is a non- inflammatory arthritis so it will not ease the actual pain of the wear and tear but will help with the inflamed muscles, tendons and ligaments (soft tissue) around the joint. If they help you will find natural anti-inflammatory therapies will help as well.
You can choose to use some or all of these anti-inflammatory therapies:
♦ Ice packs (not heat though heat will improve stiffness)
♦ Massage – read more about that here
♦ Natural remedies such as diet, supplements, homeopathic remedies and natural oils and balms. Click on the link to to read about the 5 best natural anti-inflammatory therapies.
♦ Continue on the medication. Please be aware of the side effects of NSAIDs when taken in the long term and remember what I said before- you are managing your osteoarthritis so will be on this medication for the rest of your life. Check out the Drugs for Osteoarthritis category for more information.
Step 3: Improve Your Symptoms
Again exercises do not cure your osteoarthritis but if you improve the function of the joint and the scaffolding around it with a good targeted exercise program you will feel better. An exercise program must be individually designed for you so you do not make your symptoms worse. Once your pain and function have settled you can do a good program 3 times a week to keep everything under control in the long term.
What Should You Do Now?
I hope you have started to calm down from that I Have Osteoarthritis panic a bit now. There is lots you can do to help yourself and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
I suggest you start by signing up for my free 3 day email course. It will give you lots of tips and advice on lifestyle changes and how to start managing your condition.
The only thing that will hold you back is the thought “I have osteoarthritis“.
Don’t let that happen. I am 50 and have lived with the condition for 22 years. I don’t let it ruin my life. Don’t let it ruin yours either!