With over 100 different types of arthritis, creating a management plan for arthritis can sometimes get confusing. As an allied health professional, we encourage individuals to spend the time to educate themselves through the correct avenues about their condition. There is not one sole treatment for each person; taking a holistic approach and following these basic steps will allow you to have the most effective long term management of your condition.
Getting the correct diagnosis can help reduce its impact on your life, and allow to you move on the management stage with less stress. Your GP will use a variety of tests including X-ray and/or blood test to help you get the right answers. Be aware it can sometimes take multiple tests to diagnose certain types of arthritis.
Your management will often revolve around a team of professionals – GP, pharmacists, physiotherapists, nurses, exercise physiologists, psychologists and sometimes specialists like a rheumatologist. Make sure you feel comfortable with your practitioners, get to know them and get as much information out of your visits as you can. Getting them to communicate within their roles and to each other is also invaluable. Make sure you have everyone on the same page where possible.
Depending on the severity and type of your arthritis, medication prescribed by your GP or specialist is sometimes required. This is particularly more common in inflammatory types of arthritis. This may range from over the counter to prescription medication. It is important that this medication is managed correctly; having reviews and sharing your medication list with your allied health practitioners is a vital part of ongoing management.
There are many emotions that stem from the prospect or diagnosis of arthritis. Knowing how to cope involves talking to your friends, your doctor or maybe a counsellor or psychologist and learning strategies to manage these feelings. Your physiotherapist and/or exercise physiologist can also help with providing strategies to help manage this within your exercise programs.
Whether it’s an introduction to exercise, or altering your current exercise regime, motion is lotion for our body. It’s just about knowing what TYPE and the FREQUENCY of the exercise we participate in. Not all forms of exercise are appropriate for certain types of arthritis. This is where your Exercise Physiologist comes into the equation. We can provide you with a thorough understanding of what you need, and provide you with education and support through the prescription of your exercise program. Whether it be at home, in the pool or in a gym environment, the exercise should be based on helping you stay functional and maintain quality of life, as well as pain reduction.
Maintaining a balance between work, exercise, social life and rest is an important part of managing arthritis. Learning and being taught how to pace yourself through your activities of daily living, as well as exercise, is a high priority. Or maybe it’s about learning about equipment that will make your daily tasks easier. Simple things like alternating between busy and quiet tasks will make a large difference to your quality of life.
Exercise can sometimes be overwhelming to participants with arthritis, with fear of making their pain or function worse. Correctly prescribed exercise will do just the opposite. Exercise in a holistic approach to arthritis management can increase mobility, increase bone strength, increase functional strength, support joints and improve balance.
The Exercise Physiologists at WA Health Group are well equipped to set you on an individual plan for exercise today.
In the coming weeks, we will also be running an ongoing 10 week exercise program run through Arthritis WA, called the Joint Movement. This privately run program consists of one land based and one water based exercise class per week over the 10 week period, with a pre and post assessment. A great introduction to exercise in a group capacity.
For more information or to book an appointment, please call 6162 2616 or