‘I’ve been pain free since finding the cure to my osteoarthritis’

Dec 29, 2019
Brian's knee gave out while he was riding his bike. Source: Getty Images
The last 12 months have been great for raising the voice of the over-60s community at Starts at 60, something we feel strongly about doing. During the next few weeks we are celebrating the blogs that resonated with readers the most throughout the year. This blog is one of our Top 30 blogs for 2019.

Have you ever used the excuse ‘I’m so busy. I don’t have time to exercise’? I have. While that is probably okay when you’re in your early 20s or 30-something, what happens after that is a bit of a worry.

As a kid I used to run everywhere. I got my Bronze Medallion for swimming. I was a pretty good surfboard rider. I enjoyed long bike rides. I did Boy Scouts and Sea Cadets. I’m sure there are a few of you who can relate. Yet, having started work aged 15 as a radio panel operator — basically a button pusher — my ‘active life’ quickly subsided. I soon became very sedentary.

I loved my job and it led to other sedentary roles in media such as a recording engineer in the United States, United Kingdom and Spain (hours and hours spent resting on my bum) then an audio/video editor for television in Australia, and now I’m a ‘social media’ guy. I spend countless hours sitting down in front of a computer every single day, hardly moving at all. Okay, my fingers get a bit of exercise but until recently that’s about it.

A few years ago when I realised my knees were a bit sore, I did one of those volunteer test programs for arthritis with St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. The X-rays proved I had osteoarthritis in both knees.

Along with other ‘trial patients’ we were testing whether a certain well known brand of tablets would help alleviate various symptoms, such as pain. I got the placebo so no change there!

As the years passed I just dealt with the mild discomfort and thought nothing more about it. Yep, I tried, turmeric/golden paste, glucosamine/chondroitin. I even tried red wine! However, there was no real change overall. I still take the red wine ‘just in case’.

It all came crashing down recently while on a caravanning holiday in Victoria. I told my wife we should go for a bike ride … Yee haa! Freedom again! However, five minutes into the ride I stopped and had to say,”Sorry darling, could you please go and get the car and come back to get me. I can’t move my right leg!”

I was in so much pain I literally could not walk. In fact I could hardly get out of a chair. I was hobbling around like some classic ‘old bloke’ — and while in my head I’m still 20-something, I must admit I’m an early 1950s baby, so the message my legs were sending me was a real wake-up call! Brian, move it or lose it!

I have to say I’m one of those guys that has seen a doctor maybe three times in my entire life. The first time I was being born, then I had early childhood asthma and in my teens I broke my leg. Otherwise I’ve been fortunate to have never really been sick (touch wood)!

Back home after our holiday I did some research and realised that instead of perhaps a knee replacement maybe I need to see an osteopath or similar. This I did and four visits later I am now walking, squatting, bending over to pick up keys off the floor, walking without a limp, walking down stairs left, right left, right rather than right, limp, right, limp.

The biggest change has been the fact I have now set my phone alarm to alert me every 30 minutes to get up off my butt and walk around the house (I still work from home) and I have a small exercise bicycle that I do several minutes on as well as a few stretches.

The difference? I’m pain free! I can walk without limping. As I get older (much older) I might need a knee replacement but right now, knee pain? What’s that?

Apparently it’s all about movement. Who’d have thought.

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What aches and pains do you have now that you didn't have when you were younger? Do they require medical treatment?

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