In finding hope for arthritis, the key thing that many people skip is actually learning about arthritis. Instead, we typically search for the next best supplement, brace, or medication we can use instead. We do this without realizing we are missing 3 vital steps to finding hope. It all starts with our mindset and how we actually think about our pain. The more time we spend thinking “I know my arthritis is going to keep getting worse and I’m doomed”, the more time we are wasting on all of these treatment options. If we don’t believe there is hope for arthritis, we aren’t going to find relief. Let’s learn more.
Have you been feeling hopeless because of your arthritis?
First I want to tell you, you are not alone.
I just recently worked with a client who was feeling hopeless with their knee arthritis. Recently adopting a life full of Advil and inactivity, thinking this was the only way. Once she regained confidence through movement, realized that pain management is possible, and changed the way she thought about her arthritis, she was finally able to regain hope.
In order to find hope for arthritis we have to understand what arthritis is, show our bodies we can move safely, and understand what pain truly means. When we have accomplished these things, it is possible for arthritis sufferers to find hope, the hope that they have been longing for!
Arthritis sufferers can find hope. It is possible to keep your adventure alive with new research on ways to manage it conservatively. Serious surgery and life long reliance on pain pills doesn’t have to be the only reality. How do we find this hope with an arthritis diagnosis? By understanding what arthritis is and what is possible despite your arthritis pain.
“I am a very active person and this is shutting my life down. Everything I used to love has been taken away from me. I’m honestly scared for my future if this pain continues.”
“I feel hopeless. My pain is so bad I can’t even get out of bed some days”
“I am young and have arthritis in my back, hips, and knees. Will I ever be able to keep up with my kids again?”
Any of these sound familiar? Feelings of frustration, stress, and anxiety around arthritic joint pain.
In the US, over 54 million people have osteoarthritis and it’s climbing. 43.5% (23.7 million) of the 54.4 million adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis have limitations in their usual activities due to their arthritis (CDC statistics). In Australia, upwards of 57% of people diagnosed with osteoarthritis don’t receive proper healthcare. Even worse, the use of non-pharmacological treatments (which are highly recommended) are low. In the US it’s likely similar.
Do these shoes sound familiar?
You’re 45. You start having knee pain without an injury, gradually it is increasing. You are feeling very stiff when you wake up in the morning and after you sit for a long period of time. Stairs are starting to hurt, especially going down.
You see a physician, something must be wrong with your knee. They do an x-ray and MRI. He/she tells you, “you have degenerative changes in your joint” and “you are showing signs of arthritis, you are close to bone on bone”.
Then, they send you to an orthopedic surgeon. They take another x-ray and you are told something like, “your knee is one of the worst I’ve seen” or “I don’t even know how you are walking on that leg”. Because of these findings, they suggest a joint replacement and get you on the schedule for next month. You only have a very limited time to ask questions and limited time to understand what the surgery actually entails.
Now this may be a bit exaggerated but it’s not far from the truth! Unfortunately, non-surgical options aren’t always offered to us. Which leaves people to think that surgery is the only option. This is when our hope typically begins to crumble. We may not realize we can try physical therapy or that we could try changing out eating habits. We miss out on these opportunities.
I’m here to bring a new light to this matter. There is hope for arthritis sufferers. Most people with osteoarthritis don’t even end up needing surgery. It is possible that pain doesn’t progress. For this to be possible though, we have to take action.
I have a client who was so fearful of exercise. She didn’t know what would help her knee. She was feeling lost with what to do next, trying everything from braces to topical gels. Further damage is not what she wanted. She didn’t trust her knee when she had to step off of her mountain bike. Stairs became her enemy because of pain and weakness. This has been continuing for almost 2 years.
Now, she is hiking again with her family. She is climbing stairs without pain. She is doing things she never thought possible. This is because she was able to find hope for arthritis. She was able to understand her diagnosis and understand how to best manage the pain. She began thinking positively, instead of constantly feeding herself negative thoughts. She took action.
Instead of thinking pain is inevitable as we age, we should understand pain is not normal. If we think pain is normal, we tend to brush it off. This can cause us to delay seeking out help.
So how was she able to find hope? She took action. And I was given the chance to give her hope.
How did she find this new found hope?
In finding hope for arthritis, it is important to follow 3 simple steps. Many times we try to make it so much more complicated with fancy diets, the next best supplement, and crazy exercises. In reality if you are ever going to find hope for arthritis, you will find the most success in these three steps.
1. First we discussed, that exercise does NOT damage cartilage like most think. Exercise helps you get rid of inflammation and helps you gain more anti-inflammatory cells. Essentially with arthritis, you lose some of your “worker cells” as I like to call them, the anti-inflammatory cells that work to get out all of the inflammation. Without exercise, the disease progresses when you lose your anti-inflammatory (worker cells) and the inflammatory cells are able to irritate your joint. Take a look at this picture below:
2. Second, we found safe exercises for her right in that moment. Essentially, these are exercises that are going to build up the joint and surrounding areas, focus on balance and stability, thus building confidence. She was blown away about how much she could actually do without pain. The art is in finding theses exercises and then progressing them so she can continue to make progress. Now she does the stairs with confidence. If you are continuing to have difficulty with stairs, this is a great post for you to read.
3. Thirdly, we discussed that pain doesn’t necessarily mean more damage. Often times, in times of high levels of pain, we can become fearful because we are unsure what the pain means. Pain is protective. Your body senses pain because it thinks it is in danger. With chronic pain, our pain system can become overprotective. Because of this, our body senses it is in danger all of the time, even when there is no threat present. The pain is totally real, we get that. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed!
We continued to navigate a few other common symptoms such as joint flare ups-creating a plan on what to do if she has one. We discussed other pain management techniques. Now, she has the resources and support she needs for success.
She is no longer fearful of exercise. She now knows there is hope for arthritis. Her condition doesn’t seem as scary as she now knows more about it and how to manage it. She has gained new found confidence in her knee with the appropriate movements. Surgery is not the only option and she now understands.
We can find hope for arthritis.
Everyone is different. Everyone’s arthritis is different. Everyone’s pain is different. But the possibility is still there. The hope is still there. With support, dedication, and confidence- we can control osteoarthritis without drastic measures such as surgery. But we have to act on it. Taking a back seat and stopping all movement is a fast track to surgery or giving up all of the activities you love.
Let’s help control your arthritis. Let’s get your life back because it is possible. There is hope for arthritis sufferers. You just have to believe. We are on a mission to decrease the 57% that may not get proper care, to decrease the 43% of people that are negatively affected by this condition. We want to keep your adventure alive.
I have found that people have the most success in finding hope for arthritis when they understand what it is, understand what is normal, and what to expect. This makes the diagnosis much less scary and manageable. If we get a peace of mind, we are able to then stop thinking about our arthritis in a negative way and start seeing the possibilities!
The best way to do this is first learn 5 things about arthritis that many people don’t tell you. I have created this ebook just for you so you can learn these top 5 things right now. The more you know, the better you will begin to feel. If you would like to know the TOP 5 Secrets to Getting Rid of Joint Pain Forever, download it instantly below!
Dr. Alyssa Kuhn is a physical therapist and founder of Keep the Adventure Alive based in Salt Lake City, UT. She is a specialist for osteoarthritis management and joint pain relief. She has helped clients all over the country finally break free from their arthritis pain, even when they thought it was impossible. She is on a mission to spread hope and optimism about life with arthritis because there is already too much negativity! Keep the Adventure Alive wants to show the world that arthritis sufferers can find hope.
Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.