Osteoarthritis: Elaine's story 

According to Elaine: "Your brain is the best painkiller you've got." She talks about her experience of osteoarthritis and how she manages the condition.

Find out more about osteoarthritis

Transcript of Osteoarthritis: Elaine's story

My name's Elaine. I've got osteoarthritis.

I was first diagnosed with osteoarthritis when I was 25,

but it really didn't start to impact on my life

until I was in my mid-40s.

It's possible that I got arthritis so young

because I had had some damage to my bones

when I was a child through a car accident.

I've got arthritis in my knees and in my neck,

in my hands, in my jaw, which I was most surprised about,

and I've started to get some arthritis in my hips as well now.

When I was first diagnosed I dealt with it

by ignoring the fact that I'd actually had the diagnosis,

not talking about it even to close friends and relatives.

Really it was my mid-40s that it started to impact on my lifestyle.

I went back to the GP and had a rediagnosis

and at that point went on to a selection of painkillers,

eventually having three operations on my knees

which made a vast difference, a really big improvement,

but it is a progressive condition

and things have got worse over the years.

At the moment I'm on painkillers and anti-inflammatories

and they're working quite well,

but managing my condition is a whole raft of ideas

and it isn't just the medication that I take.

It's very important for me to balance exercise and rest

and to know that I have to allow for rest periods in my days,

allow for rest periods in my week.

I can do lots of things but I can't do them one after the other,

so if I want to go out with my friends

I have to rest before I go and I have to rest afterwards,

and I have to actually write that on the calendar.

It's also important to keep socially active,

so that you're out with people, so that your mind's busy,

so that you're not focusing on your pain all the time.

And to do things where you can totally lose yourself in your activity.

I think my own road to Damascus was when I visited my local library

and there they had an arthritis centre, a resource centre,

where I found out lots of information about arthritis.

One of the things I did then was to join Arthritis Care, get their magazine,

and suddenly I discovered that there were lots of people out there

in exactly the same condition that I was in,

but they'd got lots of ideas about how to overcome difficulties in their life.

It's very important to remember that knowledge is power

and that knowledge can help you to manage your condition.

Your brain is the best painkiller that you've got.

If you understand what's happening with your body,

you're more likely to be able

to deal with the situations that you find yourself in,

you're more likely to be able to communicate well with your GP

so that he, in turn,

can provide you with the best treatment that's available.


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