Monday, November 10, 2014

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis

Approximately 50 million Americans are affected by chronic pain and disability related to one form of arthritis or another. As a physical therapist I see many patients suffering from arthritis and see how misunderstood arthritis is. People often lump all types of arthritis together but the treatment, prevalence, and outcomes are very different. The two most common types are osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.

 The most common type is osteoarthritis(OA) is a degenerative joint disease where the cartilage starts to wear away and can cause inflammation and pain. Left untreated long enough and it can result in the need for total joint replacements. Note: Despite anectodal evidence to the contrary, there has been no evidence that running increasing your risk of developing osteoarthritis. In fact, a mainstay for treatment of osteoarthritis is moderate exercise. This is challenging if you're in pain since the last thing they want to do is more activity that might hurt. However, studies have shown that people who can perform even gentle exercise reduce their pain and increase their quality of life. Therefore a big part of treatment for OA getting patients to get moving beyond their perceived physical limitations.

A very different type of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis(RA) which is a systemic chronic autoimmune disorder. Less prevalent, it is arguably significantly more disabling as people with RA have higher incidence of cardiovascular and internal organ impairments as well. Life expectancy with people with RA is reduced by 3-12 years. Because it is systemic, joint replacements are less effective because there are so many more joints involved. And currently there is no cure. The best management involves medication which has improved markedly over the years but still is far from perfect.

What many people don't know is that rheumatoid arthritis can start almost from birth and is current juvenile idiopathic arthritis and can be devastating for children if not recognized and treated from an early age.

So the Arthritis Foundation's goal is two-fold to promote physical activity and lifestyle modifications with people with osteoarthritis and to raise awareness for rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis for research funding and advocacy.

Still with me? Okay now is the time to help! On November 30th, the Arthritis Foundation is organizing a 5k run/walk to raise money for research as well as promote physical activity and wellness. They are looking for both participants and volunteers so if you are free and can help out, I know it will be greatly appreciated.

Here's the Details:

Looking to Participate?
Location: Rundlett Middle School, Concord, NH
Start Time: 10am
Register here.

Looking to Volunteer?
Contact  Gayle Murphy

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