Living with Osteoarthritis: Life Changes and the Importance of a Support Group

Most of us have probably heard about arthritis before and know what it’s all about. Although there are numerous types of arthritis, there is one that currently affects approximately 27 million Americans. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects the joints and is the most chronic disease of the joints. It mainly affects the knee, hip, lower back and neck joints, as well as the small joints within our fingers.

What’s so significant about these joints? Well, they’re kind of important to us, right?

So what happens when they start degenerating? How does life change for someone with osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis is most common in older adults but younger adults can develop it too. It can be genetic or caused by an injury or malformation but can also be a result of being overweight or constantly doing activities that stress certain parts of the body.

What are signs that you or someone in your family might have osteoarthritis?

  • Stiffness in your joints after getting up from a prolonged period of sitting
  • Noticeable swelling
  • Tenderness or an uncomfortable feeling of bones rubbing against other bones

If you or a loved one have any of these symptoms, it may be time to see your doctor for professional guidance and support.

People who are affected by osteoarthritis usually experience pain and reduced joint motion which can be uncomfortable, painful and unpractical. This can also be stressful and frustrating for the person affected AND for the people around them and in turn may affect their quality of life.

Osteoarthritis treatment plans are great as they focus on 4 important goals: improving joint function, achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight, controlling pain, and achieving a healthy lifestyle. The treatment plans will be specific to each person.

It goes without saying that these goals are much easier to achieve with support. This is where Osteoarthritis support groups come in!

In these groups you will learn more about osteoarthritis. This is the first step into actually understanding your condition and treating it. You will build a positive attitude and mindset towards your health which is the key to making progress and being consistent with your treatment plans. You will learn how to manage your emotions when your osteoarthritis is affecting you and you will be able to cope with the disease better altogether.

Contact the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) for more information about the disease and join our Peer Health mailing list for live updates on joining our support groups.

Email: NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov

Website: https://www.niams.nih.gov


Peer Health can connect you with a personalized peer community to share provider recommendations, treatment options, and define your best life. The Peer Health community is coming soon and we want you to be the first to know. Sign up for our newsletter today.

Photo by Lotte Meijer on Unsplash

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