Managing Your Arthritis

Diagnosis

The first step in managing your arthritis is to obtain a diagnosis. For that, you’ll need to see your doctor.

Your healthcare team

Your doctor may send you to a specialist, or may suggest that you see an allied health professional (for example, a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or dietitian).

Your healthcare team is made up of a number of individuals – you, your health care professionals, and your family, friends and other supportive community groups.

You are at the centre of your healthcare team, because you make the final decisions about your health care.

Your doctors and health professionals have the knowledge and experience to help you to make informed decisions.

Your family and friends may be able to support you by talking to you about the decisions that you make.

To get the most out of any visit with a doctor of a health professional, it helps to:

  • Be prepared, with your x-rays, scans, and other records you’ve kept, such as a pain diary, discussed here.
  • Consider taking a support person with you, so that you have someone else to remind you of the information you are given
  • Take notes of any important information
  • Ask questions if you don’t understand something, or need more information.
  • Ask your doctor or health professional about where you can get more information. They will often know of organisations, support groups and places where you can learn more about your condition.
  • Download an information sheet on working with your healthcare team

Learning about your condition

Your doctor and health professionals will be a great start to learning about your arthritis. They might also tell you how you can learn more.

Ring the Arthritis Queensland Infoline.

Experienced and knowledgeable health educators can answer questions, send you information sheets and booklets, and tell you about support groups and other services in your area.

Your treatment plan

By learning as much as you can about your arthritis, and working with your healthcare team to determine the best treatment options for you, you can come up with a treatment plan. A treatment plan is a combination of treatments that help you to manage your arthritis.

Your treatment plan may include:
  • Medicines
  • Physical therapies, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and podiatry
  • Exercise
  • Healthy eating
  • Pain management techniques
  • Emotional and social support
  • Finding the balance between activity and rest that works for you

As life changes, your treatment plan may need to be altered from time-to-time.

Many people find that having a treatment plan is reassuring, and keeps them ‘on track’ during the ups and downs of living with arthritis.

For more information on managing your arthritis, read Arthritis Australia’s booklet,
10 Steps to Living Well With Arthritis, which can be accessed through our booklets page.