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Reducing pain, increasing prevention

Media Release

For immediate release

29 August 2014

Reducing pain, increasing prevention

Arthritis New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Sandra Kirby, welcomed Hon. Tony Ryall’s ‘promise’ yesterday that a re-elected National government will invest $36m over the next three years in a plan to help New Zealanders live free from bone, muscle and joint pain.

“This recognition of the 530,000 New Zealanders living with arthritis is timely and welcomed” said Ms Kirby.

“There seems to be little understanding in New Zealand that untreated arthritis is a cost – not only to the health system but also to the whole economy. The funds promised yesterday particularly focus on people with osteoarthritis. Two thirds of the people diagnosed with osteoarthritis are of working age - being able to continue working because your osteoarthritis is being treated early will help not only the individuals but also our economy” she said.

While surgery is an important last step the greatest need is for prevention and early intervention. There are clear predictions that the numbers of people with osteoarthritis will grow – due to our increasing weight, number of sports injuries and ageing.

To avoid the need for even more joint replacements we need to act now!

All the evidence for osteoarthritis treatment indicates that if we can help people lose weight, exercise and self manage their condition, then we can reduce the need for surgery.

Arthritis New Zealand and its educators are well placed to provide these services.

Ends


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