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Readers Respond: What Do You Wish People Would Understand About Arthritis?

Responses: 24

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Updated July 09, 2012

People with arthritis often get discouraged and say, "My family doesn't understand", or "My friend doesn't get what it's like for me". Family and friends aren't trying to be difficult or lack compassion. They truly don't understand.

If someone doesn't live with arthritis, it's hard to understand exactly what it's like. Remember the famous Elvis Presley lyric? Walk a mile in my shoes, just walk a mile in my shoes."

What do you wish people would understand about arthritis that you think most don't understand? Here's your chance. Tell people what they need to understand about arthritis that you think they don't get.

Tell Us What You Think

So sad

My daughter in law has RA. After reading all of these comments, I feel so sad for her. I do know what pain she is in because I have other issues that cause pain. Nothing like hers, this article has helped me very much.
—Guest BE

Miss Tully

Last year it was in the cold weather. I suffer most this year doesn't matter what weather it is and it affects my sleep.
—Guest paula

Arthritis is not a symptom of old age!

Arthritis is not a symptom of old age. My arthritis is not easier to manage because I'm 22. I was playing international level sport at U18s, I still play now but mainly I'm just left with lack of fitness, huge fatigue after playing and endless frustrations.
—Guest Hayley

I didn't ask for this either

I've had issues since I was 12, and diagnosed with RA at 28. I had a family friend who was crippled with RA. Most recently remembering her using a drafting chair while cooking, has helped me get over standing too much myself. I also have a preschooler. He sits still for maybe 2 sec, max. Yet he comes up, kisses my arm, strokes me and asks "Mommie all better". I have days where he does get to watch tv all day, and we have days that are playdates, trip to the zoo etc. Some of the meds makes me very sick, am back on mtx and so not having fun. My kitchen is full of things that makes me able and hubby is well aware of how limitations fluctuate from one hour to the next. I hate being stuck in this body that's bailed on me. I hate the meds, the injections I have to do, and how many have good "advice" that worked for them. If I could, I'd use your cure and stop giving myself shots costing a fortune every month! I have the RA, my husband and boy help me love my life. Sick or not.
—Guest Raisa

If only...

My RA is also very painful daily and most days as others I push myself to keep going, it's the tiredness and constant pain either awake or asleep it doesn't seem to matter. If only I could feel better....
—Guest gail

Shaking Hands!

When being introduced to new people and they put out their hand to shake, ( I shudder inside) . I wish I knew a witty line to not spoil the moment by having to say,"oh, please don't squeeze my hand, as I have RA" . Being only 39 years young, most people don't expect a young person to have arthritis in their hands. I have even had elderly people 'hurt' my hand in a squeeze or firm shake. Any advice? If anything, I like to treat my RA with humor. Life is too short for being down about it ALL the time. Cheers, Shelley
—Guest Shelley

Insanity

The insanity of RA is that you just keep going through the same cycle over and over again. People not understanding your pain, fatigue and swelling. So many opinions from those on the outside with no medical degrees. If only you tried this....or you should be positive.....the responses themselves are tiring.....I usually just tell those with advice that there is NO CURE....What those people don't realize is that I have tried all their advice and more....didn't work for me, so I wish they would not try to tell me what will work for me....Sorry, each day is a so hard to get through, and I am so tired of hearing "bad day huh".....I don't explain anymore, its not worth my breath....
—Guest eliz

It's a balancing act

I would like people to know it is a balancing act. For us to get ourselves going and functioning each day is a feat in and of itself. It is if we are carrying a stack of books and our view is blocked. To ask us to do one more thing (come to the party, work overtime, etc) is tempting us drop the whole stack of books. We are doing the best we can even though we are bumping into walls (side effects of the medications) and we can't see what is ahead (flare ups). We've extended ourselves beyond our limits, but we keep pushing forward because that's the only thing we know.
—texaskajun

Mud baths

Did you know that the humic acid in the moor is beneficial for arthritis. I listened to a video a few days ago and I was astounded by what I heard. We learn everyday!
—CelineRochat

from paula

I would like people to understand that to get help with rheumatoid arthritis is hard, it is so expensive, DRS that treat ra are very expensive and meds for ra are very expensive also. If you don;t have a very good insurance plan you r out of luck. because medicaid and medicare do not pay for the expensive care a person needs to get relief from ra. I know I have been there and back. I have tried to learn to live with it but my friend has the same thing and she is on the same meds i was so she shares with me when mine gets real bad. I know what people r going to say when they read this but i will tell you it is a whole lot harder for a poor person to get help in the U.S. then a lot of people know.
—Guest paula

carol

All the time one looks fine on the outside it will be ignored unlike a broken leg or arm ect.
—Guest carol

I AM TOO TIRED TO BE TIRED

i became ill with RA,FM,OA,SJOGRENS,CONNECTIVE TISSUE DISEASE,CHRONIC FATIGUE,. I COULD GO ON WITH WHAT I HAVE. EVEN WITH THE LATEST ARTERIAL HEART DISEASE. YOU WOULD THINK FAMILY ESPECIALLY WOULD HELP OUT AND EVEN REALLY CARE? O how WRONG YOU WOULD BE. PEOPLE ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN THEMSELVES. I HAVE PRINTED ARTICLES ABOUT WHAT I HAVE TO EDUCATE THEM. THEY ARE NOT INTERESTED. WHAT THEY HATE EVEN MORE IS MY TALKING ABOUT IT. BE POSITIVE WITHIN YOURSELF. WAKE UP EACH AND EVERY DAY AND BELIEVE. HAVE HOBBIES. FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO. I STILL KNIT, AND I FOUND OUT HOW WELL I CAN DRAW. YES IT IS HARD ON THE HANDS AND I HAVE THOSE DAYS OF CRYING BUT I WON'T LET THOSE PEOPLE BELITTLE ME AND MAKE ME FEEL LESS THAN WHOLE BECAUSE NONE OF US ARE. IF WE NEED ASSISTANCE SUCH AS A WHEELCHAIR USE IT. DON'T LET ANYONE MAKE YOU CRY WHEN THEY MIGHT TELL YOU [LIKE MY BROTHER AND OWN SON ARE EMBARRASSED TO PUSH ME IN IT OR BE NEAR ME]. DOES SOMETHING TO THEIR IMAGE. YOU HAVE US .
—Guest SHARON

That anyone can get it

I wish people understood that arthritis isn't just an "old person's disease". I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 17 and had started having problems at age 12. Arthritis comes in many different forms and can and does attack people of all ages. Aside from that I wish people understood just how much it hurts. There are days when I'm in so much pain and so exhausted that it's almost impossible for me to get out of bed.
—lovinLBT

RA or Menopause?

Could this be menopause? I can't imagine every other woman alive going through this and somehow none of those drugs work for me! I was full of life until about 3 years ago I started feeling like I was getting the flu. A year later I was diagnosed with RA. Most days I feel like I'm still fighting that flu. RA is relentless! I have a sister that insists it's just menopause. Funny...I don't hear alot of menopausal women complaining they can't wash their hair because their elbows hurt...or they can't hold onto the steering wheel of their car most days. Controlling RA??....forget it! It has a mind of it's own...nothing I can control. Now I try to appreciate the good moments and push through the bad...some days it just seems there are more bad. At 42 it's hard to accept the diagnosis that left my grandmother crippled. RA or menopause?
—Guest Abercrunchy

rykersnana

I didn't do anything to get this arthritis...I inherited it. It is terribly painful 80% of the time. I just related it to my daughter-in-law who had been squatting down all day painting. The next three days were awfully painful for her - she was groaning as she went up and down the steps - right along with me. She now understands how I feel all the time!!
—Guest Gerri Baughman

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What Do You Wish People Would Understand About Arthritis?

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