I am getting more and more emails from people under the age of 40 who are living with osteoarthritis.
They become obsessed with having OA, are worried it will stop them enjoying time with their kids (or in some having them in the first place).
They search the Internet for answers, staying up late into the night affecting their marriages. They search for causes of osteoarthritis, wondering what they did wrong and they search for that illusive magic pill that will “cure” them.
This letter published by the Chicago Tribune and answered by the Mayo Clinic about a 36 year old living with osteoarthritis. It is fairly typical of the ones I get and they make me so sad as these young people are so distraught and have almost given up.
I’m 36 years old and have had constant pain in my right hip for two years. Last year, I was diagnosed with moderate degenerative hip disease. Medication managed my pain initially but is no longer effective. My doctor says the next step is a steroid shot or a procedure that involves going in and “cleaning the roughness.” What does this mean?
What this means is that your Doctor is hopelessly out of touch with the research on OA! There are plenty of options rather than just masking the pain and without cutting you open.
Many people who contact me want to know why they have OA. This is especially common in the younger generation as they want to know why they have got it at such a young age. To me worrying about why it is happened is useless for the individual. The stable door has been left open and the horse has bolted already.
To me looking at cause is more important to prevent other young people suffering.
If the OA is in a weight bearing joint then we must look at the weight of the patient. I understand it is not easy to lose weight or to keep it off once you have lost it but it will reduce the stress on your joint. Hopefully this will also reduce the rate of deterioration and also reduce the pain.
Obesity is becoming a big problem for our health (please excuse the pun!) and personally I see no answer to it. We all know it is bad for us and most of us know about healthy eating nowadays but food is simply too plentiful in the western world. Being pretty basic animals we eat too much. After all it tastes sooo good!
However I think there are other causes. After all we are overweight through all our joints so why has just one worn- in this case through the right hip. Why not the left or the knees or low back?
To me there must be a reason. Personally I believe, more often than not, the joint is dysfunctional to start with so it wears much quicker than the other joints.
This may be from a previous trauma that has not been properly dealt with. How many of us have picked our kids up from a fall, given them a rub and told them they will be fine. It is just bruised and will heal in a week or two. Being kids they heal quick and appear fine but have the ligaments shortened on one side from the scar tissue not healing right? Will that cause imbalance and stress through the joint? It is certainly possible and is why I know most chiropractors check their kids regularly.
Another cause may be a congenital abnormality. Maybe the hip socket wasn’t deep enough on that side or the person has a scoliosis (a curve in the spine) so more weight goes through one hip, wearing it quicker).
Whatever the true answer it (and it may vary from person to person) the one thing I know is that it is easy to screen for. The first things you tend to see is stiffness in the morning and a reduced range of motion in the joint.
Any screening could easily be done by a nurse as part of a well person check. If there is signs that all is not well with a particular joint then if physical therapy is a cheap and successful option at an early stage and will save a heap of time, money and suffering later.
In general I believe more preventative work needs to be done in order to prevent our healthcare systems collapsing under the weight of sick people and not just for OA but for many diseases.Prevention of OA would be so much simpler as a cure still alludes us.
How To Keep Living With Osteoarthritis
Nobody is going to pretend that living with osteoarthritis is easy. However the first thing to have is a positive mental attitude to it and take control of your OA rather than your OA controlling you.
You need to take control of the pain. This does not mean popping pills four times a day as you will be on this medication for years and you don’t want to ruin your health with them. Have good pain pills but use them only when you need them. Try more natural forms of pain relief first, like heat and cold packs. (Use cold when you are in pain and heat when you feel stiff).
Try supplements. They won’t cure you but many have been shown to give good pain relief.
Exercise. Now I don’t mean go for a bike ride as was suggested in the article. Actually change that- do go for a bike ride with the kids. It is good for yours and their general health and good family fun.However you need to do a targeted exercise program specifically for your worn joint. You need to stretch and strengthen the soft tissue around it and improve the scaffolding. This will enable you to go for that bike ride with less protest from your worn joint!
Your exercise plan must be suitable for the amount of OA you have. You need to start off slow, build up so the scaffold is good and strong and then drop off to a maintenance level to keep it strong in the long term.
Your New Start to Living With Osteoarthritis
- You are not going to let osteoarthritis ruin your life!
- You are not going to let osteoarthritis stop you doing anything you want to do!
- You are not going to let osteoarthritis stop you having kids or enjoying time with those you already have!
- You are going to adapt so you can lead a full and happy life and start truly living with osteoarthritis!
- You are going to take your first positive step towards living with osteoarthritis NOW!
Learn About Living With Osteoarthritis Without Spending a Fortune
You need to learn:
- Should You Rest or Work through the Pain?
- How to Use Hot and Cold Packs for Quick Pain Relief
- Should You Use Splints, Braces or Supports?
- How to Change Your Diet to Reduce Your Pain
- Which are the Best Supplements for Osteoarthritis?
- Should You Ever Use Drugs?
- Why is Physical Therapy so Important?
- How to Make a Plan of Management
Plus the most important thing is that you will learn to self massage AND get yourself a suitable exercise program specifically designed for people with OA along with a questionnaire so you follow a sensible program for the amount of wear and tear you have. And all for under US$20!
(Click here for a full description on learning about living with osteoarthritis.)
So if you are under 40 and living with osteoarthritis please do not despair. I was diagnosed at 28. I have gone through College, run my own successful business, had 2 kids and been fully involved in their lives.
At 51 I still help look after our 18 acre block of land, have 6 horses who I ride, compete on locally and breed from.
I have had no surgery and take pain medication probably a couple of times a month only.
You can do all of this too but only if you spend a little time keeping control of your OA.
$19.99 is so little to invest in you future. Select the joint that is ruining your life from the drop down below and start really living with osteoarthritis!