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Arthritis vs. You: Who’s Winning?
Both the Massachusetts Arthritis Foundation and Boston University’s Center for Enhancing Activity and Participation (ENACT) are committed to providing arthritis support to underserved groups in their own communities. On Saturday, April 30, both groups co-sponsored a consumer forum titled “Arthritis vs. You: Who’s Winning?” The forum was held at Roxbury’s People’s Baptist Church (PBC) and was attended by 40 people. The forum emphasized the importance of staying active with arthritis.
Alveta Haynes, a project manager from Boston University’s School of Public Health and a member of People’s Baptist Church, kicked off the forum and described her own experiences with arthritis. Following the kickoff, the audience engaged in a group song.
Dr. Michael S. Thompson, Senior Orthopedic Surgeon with a specialty in joint replacement surgery at Lahey Clinic, spoke first. His talk, “Treatments of Arthritis of the Hip and Knee,” included both an overview of arthritis and a discussion of joint replacement surgery. Additionally, audience members saw actual components used in joint replacement surgery. PBC’s Reverend Jean-Luc Charles let the group in prayer before lunch.
Then, Dr. Maura Iversen gave a talk titled “Winning Strategies for Managing Osteoarthritis.” Dr. Iversen is both a professor and chairperson from Northeastern University’s Department of Physical Therapy. Her talk emphasized the importance staying active and suggestions for doing so, such as using adaptive equipment to protect joints. She then noted research studies that demonstrated that exercise can be as effective as some medications for pain reduction and symptom treatment!
The forum ended with a panel discussion titled “It Worked for Me! Real Life Stories about Thriving with Osteoarthritis.” Julie Keysor, Director of ENACT, led the discussion with Alveta Haynes. Both Keysor and Haynes shared stories about learning to live with arthritis and staying active.
All participants received pedometers to measure how many steps they take each day. The pedometer could help people increase their daily steps.
The emphasis on physical activity and setting manageable goals encouraged participants to take more control of their arthritis. One participant noted, “I learned that I have to do more to manage my arthritis. I will try to exercise more and manage my pain so that I can stay active.” Another participant stated, “I’m going to start an exercise program. I’ll use the stairs instead of the elevator. I’m going to start slowly and just keep working on doing a little more every day.”
Judith Levine, Vice President of Public Health, Arthritis Foundation New England Region, Massachusetts Office, considered the forum a “great way to start” ENACT’s mission of enhancing physical activity in persons with arthritis, particularly those from minority and underserved communities.
Stay tuned for more forums and community activities from ENACT and the Massachusetts Arthritis Foundation!