Time to fight back against arthritis

Nancy Toner. INNT 41-500con
Nancy Toner. INNT 41-500con
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PEOPLE living with arthritis are being invited to go along to a special six-week course in Monkstown to learn how to better manage their condition.

The self-management course, run by Arthritis Care Northern Ireland, will commence on Tuesday, October 25 from 2pm to 4.30pm in Monkstown Village Centre.

Funded by the Northern Health and Social Care Board, Challenging Arthritis is a free course for anyone over 18 years living with the pain of arthritis.

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

Nancy Toner, a Challenging Arthritis course leader explained: “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 patients 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 for 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.”

Six years on and Nancy Toner is still a very proactive Training Volunteer and an integral member of the Arthritis Care training team.

More arthritis sufferers are being urged to follow Nancy’s example and take advantage of the chance to learn the skills and techniques they need to effectively manage their condition.

During the two-and-a-half-hour weekly sessions at Monkstown Village Centre, topics will include pain management, relaxation techniques, action planning, diet and exercise. The free course will also help to build people’s confidence in dealing with health professionals, and give participants the opportunity to meet other people with arthritis.

Places on the course, which are limited, can be secured by telephoning Yvonne on Tel: 028 9078 2940 or by emailing Yvonnek@arthritiscare.org.uk

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.

Further information about training and other services provided by Arthritis Care can be found online at www.arthritiscare.org.uk