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Who can help me?

We are all unique, as are our experiences of osteoarthritis and the journey we undertake.

Likewise your journey will vary depending on whether you go private (either through a healthcare provider or by buying treatment directly from a provider i.e. bracing) or via the NHS.

What we wanted to do in this section was to highlight the various touchpoints available in your journey, who they are and what their role is in helping you to regain your mobility following diagnosis.

Some sufferers may have spoken to all of the following parties whereas others may not. What is important is to know who you can turn to and where you are able to seek out advice, either from medical professionals, government bodies or charitable causes.

Who Can Help Me - National Health Service - NHS - OA Knee Pain

NHS

The NHS was established in 1948 and provides free healthcare to residents in England at the point of use. Responsibility for healthcare in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government respectively and operates in a similar manner. You will be able to access NHS treatment for your OA Knee pain via your GP, essentially, the ‘gatekeeper’ to secondary care treatment.

Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff and is the most common type of arthritis in the UK. OA of the knee is a common complaint and is a long-term condition and can't be cured, but it doesn't necessarily get any worse over time and it can sometimes gradually improve. There are a range of treatments for OA of the knee, including medication, physiotherapy, knee bracing and surgery. The NHS advises that you should see your GP if you have persistent symptoms of osteoarthritis so they can confirm the diagnosis and prescribe any necessary treatment.

For further information visit www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Osteoarthritis/Pages/Introdu...

GP's

When you start experiencing OA knee pain, your first step should be to visit your local GP who will be able to start your referral process. GPs are the entry point for primary care in the UK and will be the first step of your journey towards pain free living.

You can find your local GP here.

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Clinics

There are a large number musculoskeletal services across the UK that could help support you with your condition and are becoming more widely available as more people suffer with arthritis and joint pain, and also due to an ageing population. You may well be referred to a MSK clinic or unit by your GP.

MSK disorders are a range of around 200 conditions that can affect muscles, joints and bones with the clinics providing an opportunity for you to meet with professionals who can help treat your condition, and will be experts in treating musculoskeletal conditions. Experts at MSK clinics include rheumatologists and physiotherapists, who will carry out an initial assessment to find out more about your condition and to identify further steps, which could include referral for physiotherapy or medication.

Finding your local MSK clinic is not particularly easy as there is no definitive list however a quick Google search for MSK Clinic in 'Town Name' will give you an idea of where to look.

Specialist Surgeons / Consultant

There are surgeons / consultants across the UK that specialise in treating OA knee pain via surgical procedures. Trauma and orthopaedic surgeons treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system and you would need to be referred to a specialist surgeon either via the NHS or through your private healthcare company. Your surgeon or consultant would be able to treat your condition with surgery. Some people may chose not to go down this route in order to avoid surgical intervention.

The role of a Trauma and Orthopaedic (T&O) surgeon or orthopaedic specialist is to identify and treat conditions of the musculoskeletal system. You would be seen by a T&O surgeon / consultant to treat your knee pain via surgical intervention. If you choose to treat your condition via a surgical menthod, you would meet your surgeon / consultant for an initial assessment to discuss surgical intervention.

Private Healthcare

Private health treatment is available at a cost in the UK for a wide range of medical conditions. Before being treated via private healthcare, you will need to sign up via a specialist private healthcare provider, you will also need to have a referral from your GP. A referral will enable access to treatment in a private hospitals or by specialists. Some people chose to access private healthcare as there is generally less waiting time compared to NHS services. There are a wide range of private healthcare providers, we have listed those that are nationally available below. Costs differ between service providers, so you would need to contact these providers to find out more.

Please find below a list of private healthcare providers:


APRIL UK

0800 028 0849

www.april-uk.com

AXA PPP Healthcare

0800 783 1279

www.axappphealthcare.co.uk

BCWA Healthcare

0800 294 6796

www.simplyhealth.co.uk

BUPA

0800 600 500

www.bupa.co.uk/members

CIGNA

01475 492 222

www.cigna.co.uk

Exeter Family Friendly

0300 123 3250

www.exeterfamily.co.uk

General & Medical

0800 970 9442

www.generalandmedical.com

GROUPAMA

0333 633 9002

www.groupamahealthcare.co.uk

HEALIX

0844 209 0136

www.healix.com

HSA

0800 085 0203

www.simplyhealth.co.uk

Medisure

0870 908 3393

www.medisure.co.uk

Aviva (formerly Norwich Union)

0800 056 7654

www.aviva.co.uk/health

PruHealth

0800 012 1328

www.pruhealth.co.uk

Remedi

0800 294 6796

www.simplyhealth.co.uk

Standard Life Healthcare

0800 333 350

www.welcometopruhealth.co.uk

WPA

0800 298 9588

www.wpa.org.uk

Saga

0800 015 0226

www.saga.co.uk/health-insurance

Registered charities and specialist organisations

There are a range of organisations offering easy access to information about your condition. Such as:

Who Can Help Me - Arthritis Research UK - OA Knee Pain

Arthritis Research UK

Arthritis Research UK invests in breakthrough treatments, provides information and vital support for everyone affected by arthritis. Its work has already uncovered breakthrough treatments, and it is dedicated to uncovering new ideas to help people push back the ways arthritis limits their lives.

For further information visit www.arthritisresearchuk.org

Who Can Help Me - Arthritis Care - OA Knee Pain

Arthritis Care

Arthritis Care is a UK registered charity that offers a range of support and services to help people manage arthritis and connect with other people who share a similar experience. The charity can offer support in person, online or on the phone and can connect those with arthritis with other people with sufferers. The charity has volunteers who deliver face to face services, moderate their online community and run branches and groups.

For further information visit www.arthritiscare.org.uk

Who Can Help Me - Osteoarthritis Research Society International - OA Knee Pain

The Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI)

The Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) is the leading medical society for advancing the understanding, early detection, treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis (OA) through its exclusive dedication to research. OARSI’s passion and area of focus is on OA, a debilitating disease affecting more than 600 million people around the world. With more than 30 years of experience serving the OA community, OARSI provides the necessary framework, expert resources and support for its international constituents to address the challenges of OA so that the knowledge gained can ultimately be used to help improve patient care and patient outcomes.

For further information please visit www.oarsi.org

Who Can Help Me - National Institute For Health And Care Excellence - OA Knee Pain

NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health in the United Kingdom. It serves both the English NHS and the Welsh NHS. In a recent NICE guideline, NICE recommended the use of knee bracing for the treatment of OA Kneepain. Bracing can provide an excellent means of non-surgical intervention and has much clinical evidence to support its usage.

For further information visit www.nice.org.uk

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​5 most important questions to ask your doctor about OA


We all experience aches and pains from time to time. Normally this isn’t a problem. However, when pains become regular they become a cause of concern. Recurring pain or discomfort in the joints may be indications of the onset of osteoarthritis – a condition which, as we age, gradually damages the surfaces of the joints so the joint doesn’t move as smoothly.

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We all require vitamin C to maintain good health, and luckily, it's one of the easier vitamins for us to take in through our diets. Vitamin C is found in a huge variety of fruits and vegetables, meaning even the fussiest eaters should be able to find something to their taste. Vitamin C is beneficial to us in all kinds of ways, including helping to maintain our cartilage and blood vessels. It also helps our bodies create dopamine, ATP, tyrosine and peptide hormones. One of the things vitamin C is perhaps best known for is its antioxidant properties. It actually helps reduce oxidative stress to your body, and is even thought to help lower your risk of cancer. This is a pretty impressive list of benefits for a vitamin often given less attention than many others, in the media and health articles.

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​What to expect following knee replacement surgery


There are broadly two different types of knee replacement surgery. These are known as partial (sometimes called unilateral) knee replacement, and total or full knee replacement. You may also hear knee replacement being referred to as arthroplasty. Your surgeon will decide which option is best for you depending upon the state of your knee. Partial knee replacement is less invasive and involves less downtime, so if this is a possibility for you, your surgeon will always prefer to choose this option. However, partial knee replacements run a greater risk of the need for revision surgery, so your surgeon will carefully weigh this risk against the short-term benefits.

Treatments for Osteoarthtitis


It has been estimated that the number of people in the UK with osteoarthritis is around 8.75 million with almost half that figure suffering from knee OA. This means that a third of the population aged 45 and older have sought treatment for their condition.

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What are the long term effects of pharmaceuticals in managing osteoarthritis?


​Osteoarthritis is a condition that affects your joints. It is caused by everyday wear and tear rather than any specific immune condition, but it is still painful and can be debilitating. It is caused when the cartilage that covers and protects the ends of your bones, where they join, becomes roughened and thickened. The bone underneath the cartilage also thickens, as do the ligaments, the synovium (the inner layer of the joint capsule) and the capsule itself. Sometimes extra synovial fluid is produced, which causes the joint to swell.

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What are the long term effects of having knee replacement surgery?


Knee replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, involves replacing a damaged, diseased or worn knee joint with an artificial joint. It is an increasingly common surgery, with the majority of patients aged between 60 and 80. There are an increasing number of younger patients undergoing this surgical procedure, however, meaning that more and more people are dealing with the long-term effects.

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What are the top super foods to look out for in 2018?


Superfoods should be incorporated into your daily meals and snacks for optimum results, and should be treated as a regular part of your diet rather than just eaten occasionally when you're on a health kick. All the superfoods in this article are readily available, easy to cook, and complement a number of popular everyday dishes. There's no reason to change your eating habits in order to incorporate superfoods into your diet - most meals can benefit from the addition of one or two of the superfoods from our list.

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​What are the most popular treatment options for hip osteoarthritis?


Hip osteoarthritis is a condition that results in the degeneration of cartilage in the hip joint area. When cartilage is lost, friction increases and leads to pain and stiffness. The condition is fairly common and affects around 11% or the population over the age of 45. There is a range of treatment options available to sufferers. However, every treatment has its strengths and weaknesses, and these should be considered carefully.

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​Is surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee becoming less popular?


The pain of osteoarthritis of the knee can be almost unbearable, and as one of the most common forms of joint problems, it affects a huge number of patients every year. Eventually, when the knee joint becomes severely damaged, the only real solution is surgery, but there are plenty of options available to sufferers before reaching that point.