I Have Osteoarthritis ! What Should I do?

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….

I have osteoarthritis

Jumping my horse, Breeze

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

The American College of Rheumatology recently updated their guidelines for treating osteoarthritis and the only treatment to be strongly recommended was exercises.

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!


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8 Responses to I Have Osteoarthritis ! What Should I do?

  1. Gustav Panesso says:

    I was diagnosed with osteo arthritis today, and it was very depressing for me since I’m very active and have been all my life and I have been lifting weights for a long time. Sudenly I feel like I’m 100 years old and the fear of being incapacitated and walking like and old decrepit man.

  2. Michelle says:

    Just around my mid-thirties I noticed a sudden change in my joints particularly my hands and ankles. It was like an overnight attack- my fingers are inflamed and slightly deformed and my ankles were bulging. And now I am in my early forties my hands look like my eighty-four grandmother’s hands. I used to take care of her for many years until she passed away few years ago- I thought that she was just complaining a lot and just merely acting that she can’t move. I never thought that osteoarthritis can truly be painful until the day I went to see my doctor and confirmed my condition. It is very painful, almost all my joints are affected, I can’t hardly move upon waking up, very difficult to get up from bed, I need help just to get up…it is very depressing sometimes. I am very much afraid that one day I will lose the ability to move freely and feel so useless.

    • Dr. Sophie says:

      This does not sound like osteoarthritis but maybe more like rheumatoid. Osteo does not come on over night, nor does it affect all your joints at once and you are far too young to have such a wide spread picture.

      There are over 150 different sorts of arthritis and they are treated differently. You need to get correctly diagnosed to get the correct treatment.

      I suggest you go back to your Doctor (or maybe try a different one) to get X-rays and blood tests to try and sort out what is going on.

  3. Lee Lord says:

    I am 69 yrs. Always active. My hands have a lot of pain and I did have X-rays and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hands, knees, and other places. I would like tips on food, medication just things that would hep me. Thank you.

  4. Vanessa says:

    I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and have had both rotator cuffs repaired and neck fusion. Just recently oblation on lower back which did help around70 percent. But even though I work every day the pain in my knees hips and shoulders are making it harder and harder. I don’t have a life anymore it hurts to do anything. I used to love driving fishing and camping now just getting through the work week so I can just lay on a heating pad all weekend is my life. I am taking gabapentin which isn’t helping osteo is ruining what’s left of my life. I am 60 this year and feel like this is it nothing to look forward to anymore

    • Dr. Sophie says:

      Hi Vanessa, what a mess! Are you seeing a physical therapist at all. Regular massage should help ease the pain a but won’t cure anything. Also maybe try some herbal/natural remedies like Devils Claw and glucosamine rather than addictive drugs like these?

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