Arthritis in NSW – What You Should Know

Living in NSW with Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the most common chronic health conditions in Australia. Anyone can get arthritis, including children and young people.

Approximately 3.6 million Australians live with arthritis and this will rise to 5.4 million by 2030. Arthritis can affect people from all backgrounds, ages and lifestyles. In fact, two out of every three people with arthritis are between 15 and 60 years old.

The good news is that there are ways to help manage your arthritis and pain. Here at Arthritis NSW, that’s one of our goals – helping people in NSW with arthritis to live a full and enjoyable life. We have a range of services that can help you live well with arthritis.

Diagnosing Arthritis

There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Symptoms and treatment will vary depending on which type you have. So, it is very important to make sure you get the right diagnosis. Your general practitioner (GP) will be able to help.

It is important to see your doctor as soon as possible if you have symptoms of arthritis. It may take several visits before your doctor can tell what type of arthritis you have. This is because some types of arthritis can be hard to diagnose and may need further testing or examination.

Firstly, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and family history. They may examine the affected joints and send you for some tests or x-rays. Your doctor may also send you to a rheumatologist (a doctor who specialises in arthritis) for more tests.

For more information, read our free article on Diagnosing Arthritis

Managing Your Arthritis

Whether you’re living with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or any other form of arthritis – learning about your condition will help you better manage your symptoms and pain in the long run. Below we provide a few helpful tips for people in NSW when it comes to managing arthritis.

#1. Your healthcare team

Your healthcare team is made up of a number of individuals – you, your health care professionals, your family, friends and other supportive community groups.

You are at the centre of your healthcare team, because you make the final decisions about your health care.

Your healthcare team also includes your general practitioner (GP). You may have also already seen a rheumatologist (a doctor who specialises in arthritis). You might also see other specialists or allied health professionals (for example, a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or dietitian) who can help with different areas of looking after your arthritis and are also a part of your healthcare team.

Your doctors and health professionals have the knowledge and experience to help you make informed decisions about symptoms and arthritis management.

Your family and friends may be able to support you by talking to you about the decisions that you make when it comes to managing your arthritis.

#2. Getting the most from your healthcare visits

To get the most out of any visit with a doctor or a health professional, it helps to:

  • Be prepared with your x-rays, scans, and other records you’ve kept, such as a pain diary.
  • Consider taking a support person with you, so that you have someone else to hear the information you are given and remind you later.
  • Take notes about any important information (or get your support person to do it for you).
  • Ask questions if you don’t understand something, or need more information.
  • Ask your doctor or health professional about where you can get more information. They will often know of organisations, support groups and places where you can learn more about your condition.

Doctors and health care professionals are there to help you through your arthritis management journey. Ensuring you get the most out of your appointments and visits, is a great first step to managing how you live with arthritis.

#3. Your treatment plan

By learning about your arthritis, and working with your healthcare team, you can determine the best treatment options tailored for your arthritis type and come up with a treatment plan. An arthritis treatment plan is a combination of treatments that help you to manage your arthritis.

Your treatment plan may include:

As life changes, your treatment plan may also change from time to time. Many people find that having a treatment plan is reassuring and keeps them ‘on track’ during the ups and downs of living with arthritis.

For more information on how to manage your arthritis, read our free article on managing arthritis

Arthritis Support Near Me

Another great way to manage your arthritis more effectively, is to educate yourself as well as your support network, about the type of arthritis you are living with. Your doctor and health professionals will be a great start to learning about your arthritis. This is also where we can help!

  • Read more about some of the types of arthritis and how they are managed.
  • Connecting with others who live with arthritis can help you learn about your condition, treatments, and know you’re not alone. Join one of our support groups.
  • If you would like to speak with someone one-on-one who lives with arthritis just like you, register to speak with a Peer-Mentor in our Arthritis Assist telephone service.
  • Join our Arthritis Moves Exercise Program – exercise is one of the best treatments for arthritis and managing your pain.
  • Join our Dance for Arthritis Exercise Program – exercise can be done in many ways, why not have fun and take part in this free online exercise program.
  • Watch our Free Monthly Webinars! Our webinar series deliver information about healthy lifestyles, diet, exercise, pain management and other key issues related to living with arthritis and osteoporosis.
  • Sign up for our Free Fortnightly E-News! We will send you tips and advice to help you live well with arthritis.

If you are looking for a specialist or allied health professional, use our find a specialist and allied health professional tool

Finding Support Services in NSW

If you would like to speak with a member of our health team, call the Arthritis NSW Infoline on 1800 011 041.

Our friendly health team are here to help answer your questions, or point you in the right direction.

Our health team can send you a free information pack and tell you about the services and support that may help you better manage your arthritis.

September, 2022