Letnick: Look after your aching joints

Arthritis causes pain, stiffness and swelling and over time, the joint can become severely damaged.

We expect a lot from our bodies, and sometimes the smallest parts are the unsung heroes of our day-to-day mobility.

Our joints are a good example. They are parts of the body that often don’t get enough attention—not only for their importance but also in terms of how we manage them.

As HealthLink B.C. explains, joints occur where at least two bones meet and they allow the bones to move with respect to one another.

The elbow, for instance, is the joint between the one upper and two lower bones of the arm.

It allows for safe, smooth and efficient repeated movement between the bones.

Joints are made up of several parts including cartilage, muscles, ligaments, joint fluid and bursa—and each one is needed to allow the joint to function properly.

The elbow, for instance, is the joint between the one upper and two lower bones of the arm.

It allows for safe, smooth and efficient repeated movement between the bones.

Joints are made up of several parts including cartilage, muscles, ligaments, joint fluid and bursa—and each one is needed to allow the joint to function properly.

Joints can be damaged by many types of injuries or diseases including arthritis, bursitis and dislocations.

Arthritis, an inflammation of a joint, is fairly common but not well-understood.

There are different types of arthritis with causes as varied as genetics, previous injury, excess weight, virus, and more.

Arthritis causes pain, stiffness, and swelling and over time, the joint can become severely damaged.

The Arthritis Society notes there are more than 650,000 men, women and children living with arthritis in the B.C. and Yukon region.

Given that statistic, I felt it was timely to hold a community health forum on joint health featuring three informative speakers.

That upcoming public forum will be Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 7 to 9 p.m., in room H115 of the Health Education Building at Okanagan College.

The forum will offer some insights from health professionals on how better to look after our joints. Admission is free, and no registration is required.

Among the guest speakers will be Norm Hanso, who  works in Kelowna General Hospital’s physiotherapy department, and has been the Professional Practice Lead for Physiotherapy since 2012. He will speak to health care for acute flair-ups and general joint wellness.

Heidi Howay has been the patient care coordinator of the Arthroplasty Surgical Optimization Clinic for Interior Health  since 2008. She will speak to promote health literacy, patient self-management and action planning, establishing continuity of care, and limiting post-operative complications.

Megan Smaha will speak from the heart about her experience with inflammatory arthritis, which forced to leave her job as a Registered Nurse with the B.C. Cancer Agency.

After a number of surgeries, she turned to the Arthritis Society’s Kelowna office to learn strategies to help control her chronic pain while adjusting to her new life as a patient rather than a nurse.

This volunteer speaker has been leading workshops since 2009 and enjoys being able to help others explore self-management techniques to support their medical care.

The B.C. and Yukon Division of the Arthritis Society has three regional learning centres located throughout the province, stocked with resources on arthritis and wellness-related topics which can be borrowed for up to three weeks at a time.

The local Interior regional office can be found at 260A-1855 Kirschner Rd. in Kelowna or by calling 250-868-8643.


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