Posted , 118 users are following.
If you're a proactive individual that's been diagnosed with incurable Osteoarthritis it's *possible* that you can in fact beat the diagnosis and get back to full fitness and functionality. It happened to me.
I should add that I was diagnosed at age 42 and was very fit and active at the time. I think it might be very different for older individuals, people who's condition is advanced, or people that don't enjoy exercise.
Here's my story. I can't make any promises that it'll be the same for you. But I will if people are interested share some of the resources that helped me to beat what I considered to be a life shattering diagnosis, for which I was assured there was no possibility of a cure. I don't know whether to believe I was misdiagnosed and never actually had Osteoarthritis, or whether they're wrong when they say Osteoarthritis is incurable. What I can say is that I was told my symptoms were 'classic' and that the diagnosis was certain - that my symptoms couldn't be explained by anything else. The whole area is so poorly defined and slap-dash that it's impossible to tell. Either way, it means there's at least hope of beating it if that's what you want to try and do.
I've spent 8 years battling against the people that were hell bent on brow beating me into believing I had Hip Osteoarthritis when I knew I didn't. My real problems were ignored - I was essentially left to rot. I was treated like an idiot. Told I researched too much. That I was in denial. Told that I was making my problems worse by training to keep myself fit, strong and active. Told I should swim and cycle and give up all other sports. I was asked repeatedly "You've had numerous experts try to help you - don't you think one of them would have succeeded if this really was curable?".
Finally I've been vindicated. I figured it out for myself. A simple, treatable muscle imbalance causing all of my problems. Obviously I wanted to let the people know that have tried to help over the years. I expected them to be amazed - a breakthrough that could help lots of people. These cases that we think are incurable can in fact be fixed!!
My excitement was met with apathy: [paraphrasing]. "The reality is that most people are inactive and unwilling to put in the work needed to address muscle imbalances like this. Even if the correct diagnosis was made, for most people the end result would be the same. People who are willing to put in the work necessary to reverse the condition are so few and far between that they aren't statistically significant to make it worth the cost of training and research. We were unable to solve your problem because we've not been adequately trained to do so. But well done for hanging in and figuring it out yourself."
Why wasn't I told this BEFORE I discovered the solution for myself? Why did they try to convince me I had incurable OA when they knew how determined I was to beat it?
Here's the reality as I now understand it (as it's been explained to me). This may not reflect every health professionals view, but it is a summary of what I've been told by various health professionals:
GP's are responsible for diagnosing OA. Yet they know very little about bio mechanics (unless they've got an interest and educate themselves).
They don't understand the condition in great detail, but they don't need to. They're working to a script. It seems not to be widely known who writes that script (so who to go to with questions or doubts)...which is a little bit of a worry.
Some know that often it's a misdiagnosis - more forward thinking GP's are aware that it's frequently a treatable soft tissue issue. But like the physios, think it doesn't matter too much as for most patients it makes no difference. They lead inactive lifestyles and any attempts to restore them to full functionality will fail. There is little point in wasting resources trying to give an accurate diagnosis when the end result will usually be the same regardless. So OA is the 'catch all' category you put them in. There is no cure - you manage with drugs and operate if and when necessary.
Even when someone is in great shape, keen to be proactive in their treatment and has an active lifestyle worth preserving there's nothing to be gained in finding the correct diagnosis as there is no one to refer them to to get it fixed. People worth bothering with (because they can be restored to a good, active life) aren't statistically significant enough to be worth the research and training needed to put systems in place to help them.
So, the GP's make the OA diagnosis despite not necessarily knowing much about OA. Who are the specialists then if you're determined to find the real cause of your joint stiffness or pain? Well, there's a bit of an oversight there. There is no one.
Orthopedic surgeons know about surgery. If your problem is an easily curable soft tissue issue they probably won't know enough to detect it. They may well put you under the knife unnecessarily. Or tell you that you have an incurable problem that will deteriorate over time - that your active life is over (that's what happened to me). But this is more a case of them forcing your problem into something that fits their specialist knowledge. Not a proper diagnosis.
Then there's physios. They aren't trained to detect and treat curable soft tissue problems that lead to joint wear and might otherwise be diagnosed as OA. However, some are better than others. Some might actually be very capable. It's pot luck. I think it's unlikely to find someone with these skills working for the NHS, but I may be wrong. I have been told (by a physio) that the failure rate in these cases is 99% within the NHS.
There are people out there that do know how to diagnose and treat these soft tissue problems. And there's plenty of info on this on the internet that you can use to help yourself. It's down to the individual to separate the wheat from the chaff. Contrary to what we are led to believe, OA isn't an incurable degenerative disease. Strictly speaking it doesn't exist. It's a 'catch all' diagnosis used to put people with joint problems in when there aren't resources and training to find out and fix what's really wrong with them. Contrary to what we're led to believe, there is no category of the medical profession with expertise in the multitude of conditions commonly labeled as OA. If you think you've seen an expert and had a reliable diagnosis of OA - think again.
There is no easy fix - that's true. There is no way of knowing if yours is a curable soft tissue problem without trying to fix it. I'm led to believe that official research into OA is centered around keeping this 99% of people that are deemed incurable (because they are perceived to be inactive and unwilling or unable to adhere to the required rehab plan), as pain free and independent as possible at minimum cost. It's simply not cost effective to put time and effort into finding the cause, the cure, or training people to make diagnosis and cure soft tissue problems in the cases where how to do so is already known by some.
But there are people out there that have figured out how to diagnose and cure at least some of these cases. Some speculate that all OA is initially a soft tissue dysfunction. However, this is mainly in the private sector - or perhaps in the NHS, but on an unofficial level. You're faced with the dilemma of separating the fakes from the real deal. Most will claim to be able to help - and many will diagnose incurable OA when they fail. That doesn't necessarily mean you can't be helped. Many tried and failed with me before I figured it out for myself.
But if you're willing to work at it yourself - or maybe even find the right person (which is very difficult) then it is quite possible that what you have is very curable.
31 likes, 607 replies