Help for arthritis sufferers
Arthritis is New Zealand’s leading cause of disability, and osteoarthritis is the most common form of the disease.
It is estimated that there are more than 305,000 adults living with osteoarthritis in New Zealand and that number is only expected to grow.
Osteoarthritis is the result of a mechanical breakdown in the joints. In a healthy joint, cartilage provides a smooth surface between the bones, allowing easy movement.
When a joint develops osteoarthritis, the cartilage gets thin and rough and in some cases completely breaks down, leaving the bones unprotected.
Living with osteoarthritis has been described as having broken glass in your joints.
As a result of the damage, the joint loses its ability to move smoothly and the bones lose shape and begin to produce bony spurs. Pieces of cartilage may break off and disturb other soft tissue in the joint, which causes pain and swelling.
Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, there are many ways to help relieve symptoms and stop it getting worse. Arthritis New Zealand has a team of educators who provide expert advice and guidance, help people learn how to self-manage, and provide up- to- date information about osteoarthritis and available treatments.
When you live with arthritis, everyday tasks can be challenging and the idea of becoming more physically active could be daunting.
But studies show that regular and appropriate physical activity helps improve pain tolerance, mood and quality of life.
Arthritis New Zealand helps people access land- and waterbased exercise programmes that enhance movement and functioning.
Knowing you are not alone is essential to self- management and Arthritis New Zealand provides advice and guidance, and can help you connect with other people and support groups who understand.
To learn more about osteoarthritis, visit arthritis.org.nz or ring 0800 663 463.
ARTHRITIS: Time to get help.