I have arthritis associated with lupus, and also rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. So, I'm accustomed to dealing with a variety of aches and pains due to these conditions. I'm currently on contract at a State agency and read a wonderful story in this week's newsletter about the agency's Arthritis Program Coordinator.
This person is the liaison between employees and various external groups, such as the City Parks and Recreation Department, State Arthritis Committee and the CDC to spread the word that daily physical activity provides the best pain relief available. The PARD operates a model program of water aerobics and therapy. The CDC offers webinars on the latest research and treatments. A number of doctors, including an epidemiologist and rheumatologist, are on an advisory committee providing information and support that the advocate can pass along to the public and employees.
I'm not sure that I can share the URL to the story with you, even though it's not a secure link, because there is a photo of the woman. But, I can share a resource cited:
Excerpt from the newsletter:
"Hearing people describe their symptoms can be a really emotional experience. Here’s one comment the program received: “There were days when I couldn’t even lift my baby from the crib because my wrists were too weak and I hurt so much.”
Here’s another: “My range of motion is limited and I hurt all the time. I just try not to let anybody know [how badly I hurt].”
Pain is a great motivator, and people really respond when I tell them they don’t have to keep living that way. There’s something you can do no matter how severely you’re affected. If your knees are too stiff to ride a bike, you may be able to benefit from a low-stress exercise program. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, the message may be “We need to get you into a warm-water exercise program. It’s low-impact, the warm water feels great and it’s very effective in loosening your joints.”
Or, if you’re 24 years old and already have arthritis symptoms, you may have been told, “You’ll just have to live with it.” Well, chances are you’ve never been told about arthritis exercise programs, the benefits of massage, losing weight, assistive devices [such as flexible pens for people with weak grips], injectable corticosteroids, anti-rheumatic drugs — or even over-the-counter pain relievers like Aleve and Tylenol."
Are you lucky enough to have an arthritis advocate in your company?
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Each form of arthritis has its own set of manifestations. RA causes the painful swelling. Osteoarthritis is degenerative, so my joints are more block than ball. The lupus-related arthritis, well, how would I know one pain from another, considering I'm dealing with more than one form, lol!
When I worked primarily from home, I could go to the community pool a (long) block away. It's heated and open year-round (tepid during summer).
However, now that I've had to go to the client site and don't have all the extra time to go for an evening swim, I keep up with my marathon training as much as possible during the week, definitely on the weekend when I do my long distances, and incorporate various strength and resistance training on non-run days. Because of the impact of running, additional aerobics would put more stress on my bones. Strength and resistance training are important for core strength, anyway, and help keep my joints flexible.
I also take a glucosamine chondroitin/MSM supplement - liquid on a daily basis, tablet before going on my long run (don't need more fluid than I already take in before a run, lol!).
Sometimes, a nice soak in epsom salts eases the pain aggravated by humidity. Sometimes, absolutely nothing works, shy of a martini!
Bottom line: the most effective way I've found for me is to keep moving. That's why I run and do whatever I can to be able to run pain free.
I'm one of the lucky ones, I'm sure!June 24, 2008 - 4:19pm
The excerpt from the newsletter is moving. I've only seen arthritis dealt with in terms of surgery. Arthritis pain and stiffness spurred four of my aunts into the operating room for work on their knees, hips and wrists. It would've been great to have a program like this in place for them before they had to resort to such extreme measures. Thanks for passing this along. What have you found to be the most effective for arthritis aches and pains?June 23, 2008 - 8:40pm