How to help my mum with osteoarthritis

Alex459 Member Posts: 2
edited 19. Dec 2019, 11:13 in Living with arthritis
Hello my name is Alex i'm 28, my mum who is 58 has recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. It mainly affects her knuckles, they are swollen and there is some limits for her on bending her fingers. She has recently started to feel pain in her lower back and is assuming it is the arthritis but won't go to the doctors to have it checked fully. Unfortunately my mum works a physically demanding job and there arnt many options to change this. My mum is also reluctant to share her pains and struggles with my dad.

I worry about her situation getting worse. Her pain becoming more severe. Missing out on seeing a doctor who can give advice and help. Is her osteoarthritis going to get worse regardless?

Is there anything I can do to help her situation? Can her pain be eased in any way? Will reducing her physical work load help her arthritis?

I'm just wondering if anyone has been through a similar situation and can give me some advice on what I can do.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,635
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Alex
    welcome to the community and I am sorry to hear about your mum. Firstly I think it is wonderful that you are supporting her and I am sure it must be very difficult to watch your mum being in so much pain and worrying about her future.
    What I can say is that as your mum is only recently diagnosed it is going to take her time to come to terms with such a difficult diagnosis. Give her a bit of time to adjust and I am sure you are there for her if she needs to talk, this is the best thing you can do, just listen.
    Her back pain may or may not be connected to her osteoarthritis diagnosis and as you rightly point out she really needs to go back to the GP. We do have some information about osteoarthritis which you can certainly read and you might be albe to encourage her to read it too. You can find it here
    We also have lots of information about work and her rights in relation to work, you can find that here
    It is impossible to predict how arthritis will progress but there are lots of things your mum can do such as keeping active, eating well and getting a good amount of sleep. Hopefully once Christmas is over she will be more open to going back to the GP for some further investigations.
    Meanwhile take care of your self and ask as many questions as you like that is what we are here for. You can also phone our free Helpline on 0800 5200 520. I am sure our members will also be here to support you and share their experience
    Best Wishes
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, isn't your mum lucky to have you? Having arthritis of any kind is far from fun, it affects many aspects of our lives and forces us to make changes we may well resent. I have psoriatic and osteoarthritisz with around forty affected joints, so know a bit about coping with it.

    Any form of arthritis is progressive and degenerative but at what rate is as individual as us. To be honest there is not much the GP can offer apart from pain relief, maybe an anti-inflammatory medication and possibly a referral to physio. The exercises developed by the latter have to be done regularly, even daily, to help keep the muscles surrounding the affected joints as strong and flexible as possible.

    I have psoriatic arthritis in my fingers and OA in my wrists. I spend around ten minutes on first waking stretching and clenching my fingers to wake them up. Over the years I have made many changes to the house to make my running of it easier including buying cordless vacuums, replacing saucepans for lighter versions, using lighter cutlery, using handle-less mugs etc. It is hard to admit that you can no longer do with ease (or at all) stuff that used ti be so easy but that comes to us all as we age, arthritis just accelerates it.

    I'm tired and have lost my train of thought. I'll return when I find it. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,719
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Alex and welcome from me too.

    It's lovely that your Mum has such a caring daughter. I'm very busy right now (isn't everyone :roll: ) so I'll have to be brief but I've had arthritis since I was 15 (I'm now 73) so I know a bit about it.

    1. She should get the doc to check out her back. We should never assume (though we have all been guilty at some point) that every pain is related to the arthritis.

    2. One thing it's wise to learn is the difference between moaning on about pain versus being open about it. Stoicism is good up to a point but, if we try to shoulder the entire burden ourselves, then those we love can feel very shut out and can even wonder why we have created a distance between us..

    3. Becoming aware of when we are overdoing things – or, better still, when we are about to overdo things – is a skill learnt, painfully, over time. Knowing when to rest up is good. Knowing when – and how – to ask for help is very good but Mums can be notoriously difficult in that area – or so my sons tell me :wink:
    Unobtrusive helping is the best. Not “Shall I help prepare the meal?” but, instead, “I thought it'd be nice if we all shared a takeaway tonight. My shout.”

    4. There are lots of pain-saving gadgets in any disability store, real or online. She's probably not yet ready to admit she needs them but bear them in mind for later. Like DD, I find my cordless vac absolutely essential, my steamer not only cooks veg more healthily but the containers are so much lighter to handle than pans, and, as for kettles, for me it has to be a cheap, lightweight one with a side handle to make pouring easier on the hands and wrists.

    Got to go now but please get back if you have questions.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright