Personal Story: Managing mild arthritis with more serious health issues

John has been living with mild hand arthritis which became more troublesome in September 2022. He also lives with Parkinsons Disease. He contacted Arthritis NSW for advice when his hand arthritis grew worse. ‘The index finger and middle finger of my left hand were in pain and the whole hand lost strength and flexibility. I couldn’t open things easily or pick up small things. Luckily, I’m righthanded,’ John said.

‘I began doing the hand exercises in the ANSW Get Moving Plus videos. I’ve been going to an occupational therapist (OT) at Hornsby Hospital for the Parkinsons, and they gave me exercises for my hands. The exercises have helped, there’s less pain, though there’s still weakness in my functionality. I feel my coordination is better in warm weather, than in the cold.’

John is taking alternative supplements to aid his management. ‘I take turmeric tablets twice a day and Rosehip Vital powder with breakfast,’ said John. ‘Arnica is an effective cream and I take arnica tablets under the tongue. All these things are easy to do, so I’m keeping them going for the moment.

‘My OT told me I have mild osteoarthritis in my knees, and I did play a lot of sport years ago, basketball and tennis, and my knees have suffered from both those sports. It’s confusing though, because having Parkinsons also involves some loss of ability.’

John used to run his own recruitment and re-insurance consulting company but has since retired. He and his wife have two grown children and have lived in the same home in Turramurra for 50 years. He walks every day. ‘We have a big backyard with a creek running through it and we have a small rainforest and veggie garden. We look after it mostly ourselves, which helps keep us limber.’