Arthritis: A Take Care of Yourself Health Guide for Understanding Your Arthritis

Arthritis: A Take Care of Yourself Health Guide for Understanding Your Arthritis

Arthritis: A Take Care of Yourself Health Guide for Understanding Your Arthritis

Arthritis: A Take Care of Yourself Health Guide for Understanding Your Arthritis

Excerpt

Arthritis can be defeated. Not easily and not always—but usually and substantially. Recently there has been an explosion in scientific knowledge about arthritis. Dramatic new treatments are available. Your doctor can help more than ever before. But you need to be in charge of your health. This book will guide you toward working effectively with your doctor and toward your personal plan of action. You need to think in terms of self-management rather than just self-care. You need to manage your medical treatment and the use of your own resources. All of the latest information is in this book, and you need to use it.

Four principles provide the intellectual framework for this book. In the first edition two decades ago, these thoughts were new, but the success of programs based on these principles has established them as the foundation of sound arthritis self-management.

First, it is crucial that each individual assume greater personal responsibility for his or her own health, and that dependable information sources are available—the medical consumer has a right to know the facts.

Second, a revolution in medical thinking has occurred; it is now known that the body lasts longer when it is used and ages more rapidly with disuse. This concept has been emphasized for cardiac and muscular fitness; it also holds to a surprising degree for strengthening the joints. For example, long-distance runners do not frequently get arthritis.

Third, withdrawal from social interaction, from new experiences, and from the exercise of personal autonomy all accelerate the aging process. Arthritis is in many ways a physical parallel to aging; it is an allegory for the aging process. When arthritis is incorrectly considered an inevitable problem of increasing pain and decreasing function, it becomes a reason to retreat from independent life. Treatment of arthritis thus extends far beyond the joints. The successful response to musculoskeletal pain must be reaffirmation of life rather than its rejection.

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