Elaine Searle
  • Location Sittingbourne
  • Type of Arthritis Osteoarthritis

I’ve always been a positive, glass half full type and very active. I qualified as an exercise instructor ten years ago.

About 17 years ago, I woke up one morning and I felt pain everywhere in my body – except my eyelids. I have osteoarthritis in my hips and shoulders. I’ve had one hip replaced and I was on crutches for three weeks after the operation. There is no denying that arthritis is a difficult condition and it is never going to get any better, but it doesn’t do to dwell on these things. I don’t take any painkillers despite all my joints often swelling.  I find the best way to manage it is through regular exercise and diet. If I didn’t keep moving I’d seize up. It does hurt sometimes, so it’s always best to take things gently.

I first called the helpline because I wanted nutritional and exercise advice. They were very helpful and sent me information which I’ve found very useful and refer to it all the time. I am very grateful for their help.

I teach three chair based exercise classes a week, a total of about 50 people with arthritis and other limiting health conditions. Some of my ladies are in their 90s – they have all sorts of conditions – including arthritis. I think it’s great to do exercise in a group as it’s just as much a social activity as health activity – it helps you to forget the pain. And it’s always good to exercise your ‘chuckle muscles’ too! I get as much out of it as they do I’m sure. It’s important to keep moving – even if it is only moving your fingers and wiggling your toes – things like playing the piano, knitting or sewing are gentle things to do.

I believe exercise and managing weight are key to managing pain from arthritis. People with arthritis are in constant pain and many people give up if they get a twinge. Persevere as movement can help.

If I had to give anyone advice if they’ve just been diagnosed with arthritis, I’d say, keep moving, manage your weight, keep warm, have your ‘five a day’ and call the Arthritis Care helpline for any further advice as they are very helpful! Speak to one of the helpline workers and they’ll be able to tell you how to help yourself to best manage your arthritis. The Arthritis Care Helpline gives you that security in knowing that you are getting the right information to manage your arthritis and get the best quality of life, living with arthritis. 

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