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Louise Cook

2016-07-07 16:17

Celia's story

I have had pain and arthritic damage to my knees since I was about 50. I believe the damage was done after doing squat jumps when at PE College, they are now banned! This condition was exacerbated later when riding horses on a daily basis from about 1974 to 1986; riding with the knees flexed and in lightweight jodhpurs with no protection from the elements caused the condition to deteriorate. During my 70s, and increasingly over the last five years, other joints than my knees have become affected, including my left hip and right shoulder.

I try not to let pain interfere with my daily activities, but as age increases the pain inevitably gets harder to control. I had arthroscopieson both knees in the 1990s which helped in the short-term, and in 2012 I had a hip replacement which has been very successful. The new hip is standing up to fairly strenuous use pretty well but I still experience groin pain from time to time (I think this is of spinal origin as I had several spinal-injections in the lumbar area before they got fed up and did the hip replacement instead). About two years ago I was on the brink of surgery for a rotator cuffproblem with my right shoulder but withdrew at the last minute; I currently have pain across the entire shoulder area.

Other than the above I have not been offered any other specific treatments. Clinicians seem to have the attitude 'Oh well it is due to wear and tear, what do you expect at your age?', and so grin and bear it seems to be the order of the day.

Of late, perhaps over the last few months, I have resorted to taking paracetamol tablets on a fairly regular basis (about three tablets over the day) as I have definitely found myself struggling more with pain than I did a year ago. I also take three betahistine tablets a day to control dizziness which may be due to inner ear problems or the blood pressure tablets I take. The dizziness totally disappears when I am outdoors.

For the last two years I have been Nordic Walkingabout 4/5 times a week for a distance on average of 1.2k per session, which has been enormously beneficial. Previously, between the ages of 70 and 80, I was doing tai chion a regular basis which I believe caused my hip to break down. Tai chi is a notably one-sided exercise and it seemed to throw a lot of stress on my left side, spine as well as hip. I ended up on crutches for about a year before the hip replacement.

All my life I have been interested in movement and fitness and trained as a P.E and dance specialist. I decided to sign up to the Cloudy study as I wanted to contribute to this field, especially by using my own body as an “ongoing experiment" as it were. I also want to help to promote more knowledge about how exercise can help older people to remain active and healthy. Until about two years ago there was very little information of this kind for over 70s. Recently there has been increased interest in our age-group resulting in more information and research being available.

In addition to the arthritis I also have hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathywhich is asymptomatic and was not discovered until I was 70. This makes it even more important to monitor my health readings (blood pressure, heart rate etc.), which I do on a regular basis, and is yet another reason I am so interested in research into health with particular reference to the elderly. We all need to maximise our chances of staying as fit and active as possible for as long as possible.