“I’m feeling good, better than I was, and it’s all through exercise.”
Ken has had osteoarthritis in his left knee for 20 years. Having always been active, it came as a shock when pain put his life on hold.
At the age of 70, he decided to join a gym, read how getting into exercise has changed his life.
“I went to the doctors and said, ‘I can’t stand it anymore’”
“I couldn’t sleep at night, I was then tired all day, and that made me not want to do anything. I was struggling to get out of my chair, put my shoes and socks on and it was making me depressed.
“I have always been active. I’ve never been out of work. So, when I was grounded, I can’t explain it. I have never been in prison, but it must be what solitary confinement feels like.”
The week he saw his doctor, Ken started an ESCAPE-pain course at his local gym.
This is a rehabilitation programme that helps people with osteoarthritis in their knees or hips improve their symptoms and overall health through exercise. It brings together educational self-management and coping strategies with a tailored exercise regime. Find out more about moving more with the ESCAPE-pain project.
First step to better health
At the age of 70, this was the first time Ken had set foot in a gym.
“The first time going to the gym, I was nervous. Once the instructor started talking and I started doing things, it was fine.
“There is like a little community at the gym, you get to meet people and they tell you their problems. Everyone supports one another.
“After a few weeks, I was getting out of the chair without any assistance, so I thought, ‘This is working, I’ll keep this going'.
“I enjoy it. During the day, I don’t have any pain at all. In an evening when I’m watching television, I might have a bit of pain, but it's so much better than it used to be.
“It’s not dominating and spoiling my life anymore. I can enjoy pottering around the garden and going out for the day to the seaside again.”
‘I’m feeling good and it’s all through exercise’
Having finished the ESCAPE-pain course, Ken now goes to his local gym three times a week and has benefitted from the support and advice of gym staff.
“There are always people there for support and if I need any questions answering.
“I’m feeling good, better than I was and it’s all through exercise. My diabetes is under control and I have lost some weight. I have improved the strength of the muscles in my leg.
“I’m very grateful to the girls who did the class at the gym, they persevered with me and it’s thanks to them that I have done it.”
Ken’s advice to others with arthritis thinking about exercise is: “Just do it, there is support and people willing to help you so accept it. It certainly helped me.”
Get the support you need
For more information and to find your nearest ESCAPE-pain class, visit escape-pain.org
If you’d like to talk someone about your arthritis and how it’s making feel, please don’t suffer in silence. Talking can really help. You can call our free helpline on 0800 5200 520. We also run local support groups and services for people of all ages. Find the nearest one to you.
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May Baxter-Thornton was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her knees at the age of 37. Now at 44, the condition affects her hips and lower spine and last year, May was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
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