01 Jun 2014

Arthritis programs available


Arthritis programs available in Stillwater County to help adults

Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) officials say that more than 1 in 4 adult Montanans report having arthritis. Fortunately, there are programs in Montana to help address this issue.

“The goals of the Montana Arthritis Program are to help reduce pain, decrease activity limitations, improve physical abilities, and add confidence to help people manage their arthritis,” said DPHHS Director Richard Opper. “This program has helped thousands of Montanans with their arthritis, but our goal is to boost participation even more.”

Arthritis affects an estimated 50 million U.S. adults, and is the most common cause of disability in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the annual cost for all Montanans seeking care for arthritis is $413 million, and the cost of missed work days is around $53 million.

Arthritis is a complex family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that can affect people of all ages, races and genders. Arthritis can take many forms, but three of the most common diseases that make up arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile arthritis (JA).

“Scientific studies have shown that physical activity can reduce pain, improve function, mood, and quality of life for adults with arthritis,” Katie Levine, Program Coordinator for the Montana branch of the Arthritis Foundation, said. “Physical activity can also help manage other chronic conditions that are common among adults with arthritis, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. The general recommendation for all adults, including those with arthritis, is to participate in 150 minutes per week or more of at least moderate intensity physical activity.”

The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP) is a community-based recreational exercise program developed by the Arthritis Foundation. Trained AFEP instructors cover a variety of range-of-motion and endurance-building activities, relaxation techniques, and health education topics. All of the exercises can be modified to meet participant needs. The program’s demonstrated benefits include improved functional ability, decreased depression, and increased confidence in one’s ability to exercise.

Montana: Living Life Well (Stanford’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program) is an effective self-management education program for people with chronic health problems. These workshops empower participants to take an active role in managing their health. Workshops meet once a week for six weeks; each session lasts 2 ½ hours. During the sessions, participants learn skills needed in the day-to-day management of long-term health conditions such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, heart and lung disease. This in turn allows them to maintain and/or improve their ability to carry out activities of daily living. Workshops are facilitated by two trained leaders.

The Montana Arthritis Program collaborates with sites across the state to implement the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, the Walk with Ease Program and StanfordUniversity’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.  Anyone is eligible to participate in these classes, which are held year round.  Here in Stillwater County, the Stillwater Billings Clinic offers for free the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program classes at the Columbus Senior Center 11am-12 Tuesdays and Fridays and in conjunction with the Beartooth Healthcare Community in their large parlor 11am-12 Mondays and Thursdays.  Come fall, the Stillwater County Extension office plans on resuming their exercise classes in Fishtail.  Several times a year the Stillwater Billings Clinic also offers the Montana: Living Life Well: Chronic Disease Self Management class.

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To find a class near you or more information about the Montana Arthritis Program please visit their website at http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/arthritis/, or call Stillwater Billings Clinic Community Health Services Department, at 406-322-1070

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