"Without the Versus Arthritis helpline, I don’t know how I would have got through it."

23 May 2019
Helpline advisors taking calls.

Karen Cockram’s 20 year old son has ankylosing spondylitis and osteoarthritis. Here she talks to us about finding the right treatment for her son and the support she’s received from our helpline.

It’s hard watching him in pain

“Growing up he always walked with a rolling gait. When he was around 11 years old we were told the pain he was experiencing was growing pains. He went back to the doctor at 16 in agony, unable to walk. That’s when we got a diagnosis.

“His hip flexor is what has caused the most pain and we’ve realised that straightforward physio isn’t going to work on the area mainly because the muscle hasn’t grown with his body.

“I’m paying for him to see a physiotherapist at Nuffield Health at the moment, until he can be seen by one on the NHS. It’s hard watching him in pain and I just want to do anything I can to take the pain away.”

Navigating treatment options is confusing

“We’ve been through lots of different treatment options and clinicians to identify the physio and medication that he needs. It can be confusing navigating hospital appointments and understanding what’s best for him.”

The helpline have been fantastic

“Recently I reached breaking point and I ended up calling the Versus Arthritis helpline who have been fantastic. My son didn’t want to go to the hospital anymore for treatment, and I didn’t know what to do. I was terrified about what that would mean for his condition.

"I wrote down a list of questions during my conversation with the helpline advisor which I took with me to a doctor’s appointment. I felt so empowered and confident with the knowledge I’d gained from the call. “Because of that list, the doctor gave me the answers I’d been looking for. Jordan has been put on better painkillers for his stomach, and because of the support I received over the phone I had the knowledge to change hospitals.

“He’s with a fantastic consultant now who has looked past the scans and concentrated on the person.”

I feel confident and empowered

“Because of his rolling gait, we can’t correct his walk until we’ve corrected his hip muscles so we’re awaiting hydrotherapy treatment. When he walks in a pool he walks completely differently and the pain eases for him to do exercises.

“It’s so important for parents of children with arthritis or joint pain to trust their instincts. Without somebody like the helpline being there to talk it through and give advice I don’t know how I’d have got through it.

“We’re due another appointment in a few months to discuss next steps in Jordan’s care, and I feel more confident in having those discussions now thanks to the advice the helpline has given me.”

Get support

Our helpline is free to call and open 9am – 8pm Monday to Friday. Get in touch and speak with one of our helpline advisors on 0800 5200 520 to discuss your arthritis.