There are currently 620,000 New Zealanders living with a diagnosis of one or more of the 140 different forms of arthritis. That’s one in six, and 1,000 children.
The three primary forms are:
- 387,000 of those have osteoarthritis
- 161,600 with gout (yes a form of arthritis!)
- 87,000 with rheumatoid arthritis
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability and the most common cause of chronic pain affecting New Zealanders. The most common reason for people to come to Arthritis New Zealand is for help in managing pain.
Funding support from Trust House enables us to provide a range of services in local communities that help people with pain. Our Arthritis Educators can also provide individual phone consultations – call 0800 663 463. A visit to the Arthritis New Zealand website or a call to 0800 663 463 is a great start to a pain management plan.
Arthritis pain can be caused by a number of things – inflammation; damage to the joints; muscle tension, from trying to protect joints from painful movements; physical or emotional stress on the body; or changes in the nervous system. For some conditions, such as fibromyalgia, the cause of the pain is not yet fully understood.
The first step in managing your pain is to find out which type of arthritis you have, as this will determine your treatment.
Many of the people who come to us to learn more about pain management find the four Ps of self-management useful. Pacing yourself; Prioritising tasks; Planning to spread the ‘heavy’ tasks throughout the day; and Posture.