Health Coaching for Arthritis
Health Coaching is about assisting clients with reaching their wellness and health goals. For arthritis sufferers, joint pain, reduced range-of-motion (ROM), reduced ambulation and mobility, and reduced quality of life are consequences. With inflammation and joint pain, people develop fatigue. They very often refrain from physical activity and exercising due to fatigue, pain and discomfort after exercise.
Reduced exercise and physical activity leads to deconditioning, weight gain, deterioration in sleep quality and lowered mood. Joint pain and difficulty in ambulation can lead progressively to weight gain, and lack of endorphins from exercising lead to lowered mood. More symptoms lead to further disengagement with exercising and a vicious cycle intensifies.
With the use of analgesic and antinflammatory medications, symptoms can temporarily abate, despite ongoing joint(s) deterioration. With physicians managing the symptoms with drugs and ultimately with a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon to have join(s) assessed for possible replacement, patients often wait for years in pain and lose several years of quality life.
An early attention to the joint and starting physiotherapy treatment focussed on improving ROM and ambulation is needed. The physiotherapist’s assessment and treatment of the affected joint, by exercising it, is the first step in a direction towards restoration joint function, prevention of weight gain and quality of life improvement.
Following a treatment plan prescribed by a Physiotherapist is not always easy, especially for those patients with advanced arthritis or with significant excessive weight, fatigue or other symptoms. This is when support from a Health Coach can come in handy.
A Health Coach is an allied health professional with expertise in lifestyle behavior modification. A Health Coach, a non-judgemental guide, engages in a collaborative process, and through a discussion, assists the client in creating health goals and reaching them.
Health coaches do not prescribe medications, give medical advice, or design meal plans. Health coaches partner with clients to co-create goals and action plans in the form of several action steps. Health coaches offer relevant dietary and nutrition information and assist clients in utilizing this information to their advantage. For arthritis, a health coach can inform the client as to the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet with foods rich in antioxidants, Omega 3-Fatty acids, and vitamin C.
A holistic health coach will support a client with arthritis by co-creating goals and working on developing new healthy habits needed to keep moving to facilitate improvement of joint function, weight loss, better sleep, feeling energized and happier with improved quality of life. Perhaps the most challenging, though the most needed, will be work of the coach on supporting the client in overcoming behavioral barriers to exercising and healthy eating. By coaching the client as to sensible and mindful eating and ways of preventing emotional eating, transition to healthy behaviors will be smoother, weight loss goals much more attainable and client motivation higher, and client successes sustainable! It feels good to be able to walk and enjoy the benefits of your own work and goals achieved through work with your health coach!
If you would like to check how you may benefit from partnering with a health coach to reach your health and wellness goals, please visit our website www.hhhwcoaching.com, review all our coaching programs and contact us for a Complementary Discovery session emailing to email@example.com.
Christina Benishin, PhD, IAWP Holistic Wellness Coach, ACE Health Coach
Paul Zakrzewski, MD, PhD CCFP
Family Physician [Ret.] ACE Health Coach