Arthritis - is it a dirty word?
Arthritis - Do you dread this word? Have you been given this 'diagnosis' by your GP, from your scans or even your google search? (no judgement here, we all seek information from a variety of sources).
And when it comes to Arthritis, could movement be medicine? Or is it all a downhill ride of drugs and surgeries?
Arthritis is a word that describes over 150 different conditions (https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/arthritis).
It's important to know just which type of arthritis you have - and today's blog focusses on Osteoarthritis. And no, it is not simply just "getting older".
We have many conversations with patients about being visited by the dreaded "Arthur" (a common reference to arthritis). For some people, they admit to a sense of bodily decline and fear impending dysfunction. Others see it as part of growing "old" - and might shrug in acceptance of this "inevitable reality". If I asked a room full of people to offer words up that describe arthritis, I am sure we would have a long list, but unfortunately they would mostly be negative. No-one really thinks of arthritis with a sense of positivity.....except maybe us and many of our fellow health professionals - even orthopaedic surgeons! (yes we get referrals from many surgeons looking to help delay or even prevent joint replacement surgery - who would have thought we would ever see THAT!!).
Increasingly, we are seeing a shift in perception and this is very exciting for us as physios. More and more research is being done on pain and arthritis. It is no longer acceptable to see arthritis in such a negative light, and in fact doing so can actually make some of the pain worse.
Whilst scrolling through LinkedIn this morning I came across the vibrant Uni SA researcher, Tasha Stanton, talking about our words, and how some can actually make pain worse! https://www.linkedin.com/posts/rajam-roose_physicaltherapy-occupationaltherapy-painmanagement-activity-6850899789039710209-pALT
Does reframing the thoughts about arthritis help? Could thinking differently be useful when navigating ageing?
We believe so.
And that is why we encourage you to explore what the word "arthritis" means for you, and what you CAN do about your arthritis.
Through education and exercise, focus is shifted from the negatives to the positives....from disability to ability.....from "can't" to "can".
You can find guidelines on how exercise is critical for Osteoarthritis management here
This process starts with having a conversation about your fears and concerns if you believe you have arthritis. Come and chat with us soon!