The Arthritis NewsletterFall 2017
Tips and Tricks for Managing Expectations
Living with arthritis presents a slew of challenges, and it can be easy to view new diagnoses, treatments, changes in medication, and/or surgery as a reason to immediately feel that those challenges may be reduced or eliminated. However, as we all know, we can sometimes be disappointed with the outcome. Here are some tips and tricks from our Arthritis Patient Advisory Board members on how to manage these expectations in order to feel your best mentally and physically.
- Get an accurate diagnosis. This will help you know what to expect and minimize surprises along the way.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or physiotherapist honestly about what you can expect from a course of treatment. Ask questions, and be prepared to put in time and/or work when starting a new course of medication or a new physiotherapy program. Often, being patient can be very rewarding.
- If you’re having surgery, ask your surgeon what the rate of recovery for that specific surgery actually is. This can help you to keep your expectations realistic. For example, if it actually takes a year for a full recovery, then you are not unhappy at six months when you still can’t run.
- Just because you’re progressing positively with physiotherapy exercises and medication changes doesn’t mean you can suddenly do something 10 times harder than you were doing a week ago. Don’t push too hard or your disease will push you back further.
- If your energy is low and you feel like you need to rest, don’t feel guilty about it. Your body is telling you rest is what you need at that point in time, in order to recover and move forward.
- Remember that your “new normal” may have a different baseline than you’re used to. A good day may not mean what it used to: no pain. You have to be prepared to adjust your expectations so you can deal with not just the pain, but also the exhaustion and disappointment that may come with it. That being said, not all days will be filled with downs, and you can always be grateful for the days to come.
- Don’t be afraid to take charge of managing your own medical condition. Keep track of your own medical records and run a sort of medical diary on yourself. Nobody else is doing this for you over the long term and you need to know this type of information for many different reasons. It will also give you a good baseline and referral tool for what you can expect after another similar flare up or diagnosis.
- Don’t expect a singular magic cure, no matter what anyone tells you. Your path to managing arthritis might be different from the next person, so don’t be afraid to be creative and find what works for you.