7 Reasons to Join an Arthritis Support Group – Flexiseq

7 Reasons to Join an Arthritis Support Group

Living with osteoarthritis can pose significant physical and emotional challenges which affect millions of people all over the world. However, the fact that so many people are impacted by arthritis means that no one is ever alone with the condition - and one valuable resource for managing the challenges is often overlooked: arthritis support groups.

Arthritis support groups provide a forum for individuals to come together to share experiences, insights and strategies for managing their condition, as well as providing a sense of community. Whether your group takes the form of face-to-face meetings or online chats and forums, you could find it proves an invaluable resource that significantly improves your experience of osteoarthritis.

Here are seven ways that you could stand to benefit from joining an arthritis support group:

1. Shared experiences and strategies

Joining an arthritis support group immediately connects you to the knowledge and insights of a large number of people who are going through similar experiences to yours - and they will all be eager to share the things they have learned which have made it easier for them to deal with arthritis. That means you’ll have access to new coping mechanisms, lifestyle adjustments and practical tips that may often not be included in traditional medical resources, and which could be a valuable addition to your personal arsenal for managing your osteoarthritis.

2. Access to the right resources

There is so much information out there about arthritis that it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to start - and when using the internet there can even be a risk of finding guidance that is actively unhelpful. Arthritis support groups can serve as a hub for valuable and verifiably correct information that can enhance your understanding of osteoarthritis; members might share articles, research findings or recommended tools and products that have proven benefits. On a smaller scale you could start by signing up to a newsletter like the monthly FlexiSEQ Newsletter which includes monthly tips pieces and healthy recipes all designed to better empower your knowledge of arthritis. The collective knowledge of an arthritis group can act as a clearing house to sort the good information from the bad, saving you time, effort and mental energy.

3. Emotional support from those who know

Your friends and family can sympathise with you about your osteoarthritis pain and challenges, but it’s hard for them to truly understand what you’re going through. An arthritis support group provides a place free of judgement where you can openly share your thoughts, fears and frustrations with people who are in a very similar position to you and can entirely empathise with what you’re experiencing. Sharing these feelings with likeminded people helps foster a sense of belonging and comfort, counteracting the emotional burden and loneliness that can often accompany chronic conditions like arthritis.

4. The physical benefits of improved mental health

Being able to discuss your mental health and share strategies for coping with the emotional toll of arthritis helps combat the sense of alienation you might feel without access to a support group. The positive mental wellbeing that results from this is a tremendous boon to your physical health and experience of pain too; studies show that good mental health and a positive outlook can actually help alleviate the pain that accompanies chronic conditions, and ensure you are better equipped to cope with the day-to-day challenges that accompany arthritis.

5. A sense of community

Being part of a community of people who share your experiences and struggles is not only beneficial in terms of providing you with insights and coping mechanisms - this is a two-way street. Being able to share your knowledge and strategies with others can be very fulfilling, providing a boost to your own mental wellbeing by making a positive impact in the lives of others. This is something we see regularly on our very own FlexiSEQ Facebook page, people sharing their tips and tricks with others to better help them manage their arthritis. Knowing that you always have someone to turn to - and that you are someone that others can turn to - fosters a sense of community that is a wonderful part of being in a support group.

6. Strength in numbers

Participating in an arthritis support group offers a platform for advocacy and empowerment. Many groups will organise or take part in awareness campaigns and fundraising events to promote better understanding, resources and support for those with arthritis. Together with your fellow group members, you can become a louder voice in the arthritis community and contribute to the broader conversation about the challenges faced by individuals with arthritis.

7. They’re easy to join

Why not find out for yourself how beneficial arthritis support groups can be? Arthritis Action and Versus Arthritis are just two groups helping those with arthritis find support and community in numbers, but you may find others in the course of doing your own research. So take a look, get involved and see how much speaking to others can help ease the burden of your arthritis.

Are you part of an arthritis support group or community? Tell us which ones and why you like them on Facebook.

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