Osteoarthritis and mental health

Sigi Member Posts: 2
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:11 in Living with arthritis


I am waiting for an 'urgent' total hip replacement but, as for many I'm sure, this has been a long wait with no imminent prospect of an operation. The knock on effects on my ability to work and look after my family have been considerable. I am currently feeling extremely depressed and finding it difficult to cope. I suppose I am wondering whether other people might have struggled with similar feelings at times.


  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,486

    Hello @Sigi welcome to the online community.

    It's really tough having to wait for surgery when it's already been acknowledged as being 'urgent'. Pain and loss of mobility has a huge impact on us physically as well as mentally. Other people here have absolutely felt similarly to you in fact I read this post this very morning by @Newyear who is also waiting for surgery:

    I am going to just attach a couple of links which might be of interest while you wait for someone to come along to share their experience.


    Best wishes


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  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Hi @Sigi,

    Coping with Arthirtis is hard, it's not only the pain but the inability to do the everyday things you used to take for granted. No surprise there's a knock-on effect on mental health and so hard to keep going.

    One thing I've done is to reward myself for the exercise I do to help strengthen my knees. Instead of just going for a walk because it's part of my regime, I'll walk for a cuppa or a glass of wine at the end. It's a simple pleasure but something that helps me - I get the benefit of the treat as well as the exercise and if I walk briskly enough I'll release endorphins and they're the body's feel-good hormones.

    If you really can't face any of that it helps to talk - I've called the helpline here and at one point I was on anti-depressants from the GP.

    Really hope you find a way to feel better whilst you're waiting for your operation.


  • TLee
    TLee Member Posts: 81

    I agree 100% that how we feel physically affects mental health. I had a beautiful stretch of time when I felt far less pain and had better mobility. I was feeling happy and at peace, and coming after a pretty bleak period of depression it was amazing. I felt so good that I scheduled a girls' weekend with my grown daughters. We had a wonderful time, but did a lot of sightseeing (walking) and shopping (walking). Being overly confident, I did not bother to bring a cane--BIG mistake! In the end I was nearly crippled and almost in tears. It has been a week now, and I am still experiencing some after-effects. Everything feels like a chore, even things that I'd normally enjoy. I am easily tired, short-tempered and liable to cry for the tiniest reason. The last time I felt really down, it was so debilitating that I became determined to do everything I could to feel better. I got serious about the exercises I'd learned in PT but had written off as useless, and as I felt stronger I could do even more. I paid attention to what I was eating and lost some weight, meaning less stress on my bad hip. I felt better, and lo and behold, the depression lifted. Now, because of the work I've already put in, it seems like I have a little head start in overcoming the pain and the depression.

    So much for my experience. As far as advice, I'd say not to look at what you can't do, but work on what you can do right now. For example, one of the exercises I learned was to strengthen abdominal muscles for added stability and support. It involves simply sucking in the tummy as far as you can and holding for a count of 5 or 10 (remembering to breathe as you do so!). I started doing that whenever I was maybe lying down to read or watch TV. Just being able to do that a number of times made me feel like I was progressing. Sitting in a chair, say, at the computer, I could do simple leg exercises. It really does seem that "every little bit helps", and as I began to be able to move without as much pain my mental state improved. As I described above, I still go through rough patches. I would recommend recognizing them for what they are and giving yourself a bit of a break. No one is really going to care if you don't get the house spotless or don't feel like cooking a big meal. It's easy to feel guilty, but now I just tell my husband: I didn't feel like doing much today, so I didn't!