Living with arthritis in Tipperary

Arthritis Ireland has announced that its acclaimed self-management programme ‘Living Well with Arthritis’ is to take place in Co Tipperary to help the 32,000 people living with arthritis in the county discover how to effectively manage their condition.

Arthritis Ireland has announced that its acclaimed self-management programme ‘Living Well with Arthritis’ is to take place in Co Tipperary to help the 32,000 people living with arthritis in the county discover how to effectively manage their condition.

The six-week programme, which takes place in the Duneske Centre from 6th September, is one of non-medical interventions designed to complement the medical treatment of arthritis with simple but effective techniques.

This award-winning workshop, developed by Stanford University in the US, has been proven around the world to be an important part of the prescription of effective arthritis treatment by decreasing pain, reducing reliance on health professionals and medication and improving the overall sense of well-being.

In a nationwide survey, conducted recently by Arthritis Ireland, the majority of the 400 participants said they had noticed that little things learnt on the Living Well with Arthritis course, such as simple pain-management techniques, had complemented their medication and made a big difference to their quality of life.

The results of the survey show that on completion of the Living Well with Arthritis programme people:

Improved their ability to cope with pain by 50%.

Increased their amount of regular exercise by 72%.

Improved their attitude towards living with their condition by 63%.

Increased their knowledge of their condition by 59%.

Head of Education and Support at Arthritis Ireland, Grainne O’Leary, said: “Ireland is only beginning to embrace the concept of self-management. This is a scientifically structured education programme, designed on empirical evidence and has been proven to be an essential part of effective arthritis treatment that actually improves the performance of medication. We see people able to do things that they couldn’t before, related to improvements in mobility and mood, and we see improvements in their quality of life.”

The ‘Living Well with Arthritis’ programme is delivered over a six-week period for one evening a week by highly-trained Arthritis Ireland self-management leaders. As well as learning about pain and fatigue management techniques and planning for set-backs, participants will discover tips on healthy lifestyle and the importance of healthy eating; managing your relationship with your healthcare team; dealing with negative emotions such as frustration, anger and depression and exercise techniques for weak and damaged joints, developed by leading physiotherapists.

Marie Brennan, from Clonmel, who has completed Arthritis Ireland’s Living Well with Arthritis course, said: “While my friends and family support me, I don’t think they really understand what it’s like to live with a chronic illness. Many of the people who attended the course will tell you they didn’t require support, myself included. What we did need was the skills to manage living with a chronic illness. Arthritis used to have a hold of me but now I truly believe that, while arthritis is unpredictable, I am in a better position to take control of it.”