Many of our physiotherapy clients at STAVE OFF are struggling with arthritis. The pain affects them every day: their ability to do things, walk as long as they wish to, do the activities they enjoy. People can often do quite well with physiotherapy, pain management techniques, pain medications, and a gym program that focusses on strength training exercises for the lower body.
However, arthritis is a chronic condition that can progress. For some people, the next step is often a joint replacement. Total knee and total hip replacements are becoming increasingly more popular and commonly done. But right now, our healthcare system is unable to meet that demand. We just don’t have the operating room space and the number of surgeons required to meet the demand of our aging Canadians who need joint replacements. So what does that mean?
We, unfortunately, have a pretty long wait list!
Wait list times vary. In some areas of Canada, it’s a couple of months. That seems to be the exception though. For many they are waiting three months for the consultation from the orthopaedic surgeon just to be PUT on the list.
Then the waiting game truly starts. It can be anywhere from six months to over a year until your surgery. Now the Ontario healthcare system is starting to track these numbers and one of their healthcare initiatives is to get this down. But the demand is ever increasing and this is not an easy task.
What is happening, therefore, is that people are suffering on the wait lists.
For many that I talk to, they believe they just have to wait. I’m getting a knee replacement so I just need to suffer until that happens. Then everything will be fine. Hunky dory.
But why do we need to just… wait? I’m not talking about finding a way to get the surgery faster. That is a circumstance out of our control. But when you get put on that wait list, you are now in an aggressive PREHAB program.
Your soul mission is to get as strong and remain as able as possible while you wait for surgery. The stronger you are BEFORE surgery, the stronger you will be AFTER surgery. This wait time is not the time you need to be losing more and more muscle weight and sometimes putting on more and more extra body weight. It is the time to make sure you give yourself the best chance of success with your new joint.
A joint replacement may be fairly commonplace now but it is still a surgery and we know that people who are healthier going into surgery, do better.
I know what you’re thinking. Christina … everything hurts how can I stay active and be healthy?!
The other response I get is… “I’m just waiting for the surgery, then I’ll get myself back on track”
No, no, no please stop waiting!
There are options!
Going into a pool for example unloads the joints and lets you be active (check out our FAQ video number ONE on how to exercise with severe arthritis). STAVE OFF has our Conquer program which is specifically designed to help people with arthritis stay strong without flare ups. Exercise helps keep your mood up too which can take a dip when you’re in pain a lot of the time.
The diet choices you make are the biggest determinants of your weight overall.
All of these things matter.
You can do it. Don’t think of your wait to surgery as a time to be stagnant!
Find people to help you. Find a support circle. You are in the driver’s seat of your healthcare experience.