“Growing up, I thought it was normal to have pain. It wasn’t until I started going to school that I realised that not all children had to put ice packs on their knees to cope with the pain,” said Nicole.
When she was in high school, Nicole was unable to finish a six-day hike to the top of Mt Speculation due to her condition. She promised her teacher that one day she’d come back and finish it. And she did. With a group of friends Nicole made it to the top of Mt Speculation, at the same time raising $18,745 for Arthritis & Osteoporosis Victoria’s kids program.
Nicole is one of the 6.1 million Australians living with one of more than 100 musculoskeletal conditions. The most common of these are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout, which account for more than 95 per cent of cases in Australia.
According to Arthritis Australia as the population ages, the number of people living with arthritis will increase to around 7 million by the year 2050. While arthritis is commonly associated with ageing, it is not a natural part of the ageing process. In fact, 2.4 million of all people suffering from the disease are of working age.
Linda Martin, CEO of Arthritis & Osteoporosis Victoria says it’s a myth that only older people get arthritis.
“Our report, A Problem Worth Solving revealed that 58.4% of the 6.1 million Australian cases are in the prime working age bracket of 25 to 64 years. In Victoria alone there are around 54,000 cases of younger people who live with a painful musculoskeletal condition. Even babies have arthritis,” said Ms Martin.
“In addition to the debilitating pain, the economic pain to Australia is enormous. It affects more people than any other health priority area including heart disease, mental health, obesity and cancer.”
Nicole Yeomans has learnt how to self manage her pain and has recently started an exciting new career as a digital producer in Melbourne. Nicole wants others to know that while there is currently no cure, there is help available.
“If you’ve got a bad back, sore neck, tennis elbow, wobbly knees, agonizing hips, aching joints, fingers, toes, feet. Basically if you’ve got pain anywhere, Arthritis and Osteoporosis Victoria will help get you moving again.”
As an Ambassador for Arthritis & Osteoporosis Victoria, Nicole will be out and about during Arthritis Week participating in some of the many events and activities happening across the state. “If you happen upon a tai chi flash mob during the week, feel free to join in,” said Nicole.