If you’re reading this, the health of your joints is likely something you are starting to take more seriously. Like many Canadians, you’re probably making an effort to eat better, to be more physically active, and to look for therapies that can help keep you moving and engaging fully in your life.

If that sounds like you, that’s good — because the impacts of joint health are more far reaching than you may realize.

Take arthritis: not only is it the most common chronic condition affecting our joints, it is the leading cause of disability in Canada. People living with arthritis face challenges trying to remain effective at work in the face of pain, fatigue, and periods of restricted mobility.

Too many people are forced to choose between their livelihood and their health. Not only does this have disastrous effects on individuals, their families, and communities, it threatens to overwhelm our health care system and drastically erode our country’s capacity for productivity, improvements, and inclusive growth. This is a serious problem that demands national attention.
The Arthritis Society is Canada’s principal health charity providing education, programs, and support to Canadians living with arthritis — two thirds of whom are of working age. From advocating with national and provincial governments to hosting employer roundtables, and delivering employee education sessions in communities across the country, we are committed to helping make it easier for people to work effectively despite their arthritis.

Our online self-management education program — Joint Matters at Work — has helped thousands of workers better communicate their needs and manage their conditions more effectively.

This September, in recognition of Arthritis Awareness Month, a number of progressive initiatives have been highlighted to address the challenges Canadians face living and working with the growing threat of arthritis. Among them:

  • The Arthritis Society partnered with the MS Society to commission a Public Policy Forum report on the subject of chronic conditions and work. The report, titled Condition Chronic, spells out in clear terms the impact of chronic conditions like arthritis and MS on the lives of Canada’s workers, and as a result on our economy as a whole.
  • The Arthritis Alliance of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada launched a toolkit that helps health care providers effectively diagnose and manage osteoarthritis (OA). OA is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of Canadians.
  • With support from the Arthritis Society and other partners, GLA:D Canada is rolling out an innovative new treatment program for people with OA. Based on a program pioneered in Denmark, GLA:D combines education with neuromuscular exercise to improve long-term health outcomes.

Through efforts like this, the Arthritis Society and our partners in the joint health community are helping Canadians with arthritis live better today, while we work to create a future free from arthritis.

So, while you’re making efforts to take better care of your joints, know that you’re not alone: there is help — and it’s closer than you think.