Arthritis can strike at any age but with the right support, this painful and debilitating condition doesn’t have to control your life
There won’t be many sufferers who think that arthritis is something we should just put up with as we grow older, although that is often what we are told. For many it is a painful, debilitating condition that limits several aspects of their lives and its enjoyment.
But it doesn’t have to be. The founder of The Arthritic Association, Charles de Coti- Marsh, spent the 1950s and 1960s developing a regime that manages the pain of arthritis in a completely natural, drug-free way.
There are more than 100 different recognised types of arthritis and between nine and ten million people suffer from it here in the UK – 10,000 of them children, although it is most prevalent in older age groups. The most common forms are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), while psoriatic arthritis and gout are also quite widely experienced.
OA is often described as the “wear and tear” arthritis, whereas RA is one of the inflammatory forms. Even the description “wear and tear” implies that there is inevitability about arthritis, but in fact OA is often triggered by an injury early in life, or as the result of carrying too much weight. Indeed, de Coti-Marsh was so convinced of the link between injury and arthritis that he was in danger of saying that everyone who had a spinal injury would inevitably experience arthritis later in life.
Today we understand that a spinal injury may adversely affect a person’s posture and movement so that they hold their body out of alignment, sometimes to minimise pain but in the process putting incorrect stresses and strains on muscles and tendons and so on to joints. Arthritis is often the result.
That is why Charles advocated regular physical therapy treatments based on deep massage – something that the association makes available to members today through qualified and insured practitioners licensed by its own qualified and insured practitioner.
De Coti-Marsh also discovered that certain foods aggravated the condition of those with inflammatory arthritis. He identified the main culprits as red and processed meat, white sugar, salt and high-fat dairy products, and promoted a lacto-vegetarian type eating regime.
Today the association advises that members following its eating plan obtain a well-balanced and healthy diet. A qualified nutritionist monitors the eating habits of every participating member and advises him or her on changes that could ease their symptoms.
De Coti-Marsh developed his own preparations to help arthritics. Interestingly, many of these use seaweed as a base – something that scientists have only recently agreed can prove helpful.
The association hears regularly from members who say that following the de Coti-Marsh Programme has helped them recover their “get up and go”. Indeed, one member used a wheelchair before starting the programme, and is now able to walk in comfort on the South Downs.
For just £6 annual membership and with non-means-tested grants available for physical therapy and preparations for those following the programme, joining the association may be the key for many to reduce their symptoms and lead a more active and pain-free life.
Lynda Scott-Williams is chief executive of The Arthritic Association
Call 0800 652 3188 for an information pack, or visit www.arthriticassociation.org.uk