Helping you to fight back against arthritis

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ARTHRITIS is the single biggest cause of physical disability in Northern Ireland and is responsible for one in every five visits to the GP’s surgery.

It affects 250,000 people in Northern Ireland, which represents around one in seven of the population. Around 30,000 of all those affected are under 45, and approximately 400 are children under 16 years old.

If you are living with arthritis, we understand how difficult it can be to cope. Completing a self-management course could be your first step to learning how to better manage your condition and turn your life around.

Arthritis Care Northern Ireland is running a six week self-management course in West Bann Development, Coleraine, beginning on Monday, September 17 from 2.00pm to 4.30pm.

The Challenging Arthritis course has been funded by the Health and Social Care Board (North) and is free for anyone over 18 years living with the pain of arthritis.

All the sessions are run by volunteers who have arthritis themselves, they know first-hand how debilitating this condition can be.

Nancy Toner, a Challenging Arthritis course leader, said: “I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was sixteen.

“For many years I was completely in the dark and very frightened about what was happening to my body. Any information for a patient was often very difficult to come by. Years of hospital appointments, trial and error with various medications, culminated in my first joint replacement at the age of 39.”

“In 2003, I saw an advert for Challenging Arthritis. This was a turning point in my life. Going on the course enabled me to meet other people who had exactly the same pain and problems that I had been living with so many years.

After the course I was asked to become a Training Volunteer – I had got so much out of the course that I was very happy to spread the good news and started my training immediately.” Nine years on and Nancy Toner is still a very proactive training volunteer and integral member of our training team.

Like Nancy, you too can take advantage of the chance to attend a self-management course and learn the skills and techniques you need to effectively manage your condition.

Challenging Arthritis topics include pain management, relaxation techniques, action planning, diet and exercise. It also helps to build confidence in dealing with health professionals, and gives participants the opportunity to meet other people with arthritis.

To secure your place please contact Yvonne on 028 9078 2940 or Yvonnek@arthritiscare.org.uk This is an opportunity not to be missed, but act quickly as places are limited.