Limited NHS support for OA.
I summarise my situation as diagnosed with widespread OA in my mid-40s after I was seen by an excellent Professor of Rheumatology who gave detailed explanations then prescribed NSAIDs and left me to get on with it under GP supervision.
I changed my PE teaching job to a classroom subject but was soon exhausted by its demands. After a very painful year (physically and emotionally) I took early retirement at 50, became a part-time wheelchair user, was granted DLA (at second attempt) and found an absorbing voluntary role that doesn't depend on mobility. I've had great family times, covered many miles in swimming pools and on a bike, even realised a long-time aim in achieving an MA degree at age 73. So life has been fulfilling and fun in spite of the 'less good' patches.
When I read repeated laments, in this forum, of lack of NHS support for OA I know exactly where you are coming from and recall my days of feeling completely abandoned and worthless. I empathise but feel powerless to offer solutions. It's very much a journey that has to be navigated individually.
Other than pain meds, whose benefits are debateable, there is little NHS help available until we reach the point at which a joint is damaged beyond usefulness. The promised research continues but, as a non life-threatening condition, OA is not a high priority for funders and my generation won't see much progress although can be excited for the future as VA's fund-raising makes a major impact.
Thanks to keeping as fit as possible my goalposts have moved only slowly although the frustrations have continued and I've been told repeatedly to live with my chronic back pain unless more worrying symptoms occur. By now (aged 76) my mobility has become seriously compromised, prompting an approach to my new GP following our house move. To my astonishment I was referred for an urgent MRI scan and today a GP's phone call resulted in promise of immediate referral to a spinal surgeon.
Long waiting lists may come into play so I'm staying cautious but this is a huge step forward. OA is a series of very long tunnels but it seems there are lights at the end and I am grateful for this glimmer of hope in dark times. It would be amazing to walk round a shop without crutches and to hold a conversation without eyeing up the nearest seat! Dare I dream............?
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