Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Is Osteoarthritis A Disability In Australia

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Can Osteoarthritis Be Prevented

Exercise and osteoarthritis

You can reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis by avoiding significant damage or overuse of a joint. Maintaining a healthy weight will make osteoarthritis easier to manage if it develops in a weight-bearing joint, such as the knees, hips or feet.

Be careful of any product or treatment that claims to prevent osteoarthritis completely check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication or supplement.

Exercise Programs For Osteoarthritis

Exercise is an important and effective part of any osteoarthritis management plan. It can help to reduce your pain and increase your level of mobility.

A health professional such as an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist can provide you with an individualised exercise program that is tailored to your needs.

Appropriate exercise for osteoarthritis includes strength training, stretching, aerobic and balance programs. Such programs can be undertaken at home or as part of a group, and depending upon your preference you can do them on land or in water.

If any exercises feel uncomfortable, talk to the healthcare professional who is managing your program to make sure you are doing them properly and that they are appropriate for you. The aim is to start with what is achievable for you, and build up your program slowly over time.

How To Cut The $23 Billion Bill For Osteoarthritis

Experts are calling on the government to reduce the $23 billion a year bill for the direct and indirect costs of osteoarthritis by implementing a new national strategy developed by University of Sydney researchers.

Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint disease in Australia and one of the leading causes of pain, disability and early retirement. It affects more than 2.2 million people in Australia, and the majority of people living with OA are 25-64 years old. Half of the $3.75 billion spent yearly on OA is from joint replacements alone.

With an ageing and increasingly obese population, the prevalence of osteoarthritis in Australia is projected to soar. The consequences for the economy, work productivity, health services and population health will be immense.

The National Osteoarthritis Strategy, prepared by the National Osteoarthritis Project Group, aims to provide a national response to OA and to deliver major benefits to people at risk of, or with, osteoarthritis by making more effective, cost-effective and accessible healthcare solutions available. The strategy will be presented this week at the 2018 Osteoarthritis Summit in Canberra.

Osteoarthritis has an immense impact on peoples physical and mental health, our health system and the productivity of Australian workers, said Professor Hunter, who is the Florance and Cope chair of Rheumatology at Royal North Shore Hospital and Musculoskeletal Stream Lead for Sydney Health Partners.

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What Treatments Are There For Osteoarthritis

Treatments for OA vary depending on which joints are affected and the severity of your condition. There is no way of predicting exactly which treatment will work best for you. Each treatment has its own benefits and risks. Your doctor may need to trial several different treatments before finding the one that is right for you.

In general terms, treatment usually includes:

  • a weight loss program, if you are overweight
  • an exercise program tailored to your condition and ability
  • pain management, using medicines such as paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , as well as learning to change the way you think about, and react to, pain
  • devices such as braces, walking sticks, and shoe insoles
  • joint replacement surgery, if your symptoms are no longer controlled with other therapies.

Your local Arthritis Office has information on physical activity, healthy eating, medicines and surgery.

How A Disability Advocate Can Help You Get Ssdi Benefits For Osteoarthritis

New trial changing treatment of osteoarthritis

Applying for disability benefits can be a confusing and daunting process. Because of all the possible complexities involved, it can be difficult to negotiate this process. The best way to ensure a successful outcome is to have the right legal representation.

A disability advocate can help you present your case in an appropriate manner to the SSA to ensure that it receives the consideration it deserves.

Based on SSA data, the disability claims approval rate is only 22% for initial claims. In other words SSA denies approximately 78% of initial claims. In most cases, the denials occur due to incorrect, missing, or insufficient information. The overall award rate is only 28.8%, which means your chances of winning an appeal are also marginal, at best.

You can hire a lawyer to assist you, and improve your chances of getting an approval. First, however, consider using the services of aSocial Security disability advocate from GAR Disability Advocates. Our fees are set by the SSA but we only get paid when we get your benefits approved. SSA deducts our fee in advance, so you never have to pay out-of-pocket for our assistance.

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Estimated Population With Osteoarthritis 201718

Policy context: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and typically found in the hands, spine and hip, knees and ankle joints. It is a chronic condition which involves the degeneration of cartilage that cushions the end of bones between joints and results in joint pain and loss of motion due to the rubbing of bones . Osteoarthritis also progressively worsens over time and the ongoing pain, loss of mobility and depression caused by osteoarthritis can significantly impact on a persons lifestyle and their ability to participate in social, community and economic activities .

According to the 2017-18 National Health Survey, an estimated 2.2 million or 9.3 percent of Australians have osteoarthritis and while this condition can affect people of all ages, the prevalence of osteoarthritis increases from the age of 45. One-fifth of Australians aged 45 and over and over one-third aged 75 over have osteoarthritis. Further, females have higher rates of osteoarthritis than males .


  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare . Osteoarthritis. Cat. no. PHE 232. 2019. Available from: last accessed 11 December 2019
  • Notes:

    Small area estimates:

    Data by Population Health Area, Local Government Area and Primary Health Network are available for the 2014-15 National Health Survey in the data archive.

    Differences from data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics :

    Indicator detail

    What Are The Symptoms Of Osteoarthritis

    The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are:

    • joint pain and stiffness
    • grating sensations when moving a joint
    • less joint flexibility than before

    You may only notice symptoms in your joints after doing an activity such as walking, climbing stairs or opening a jar. Some people have mild symptoms, while others may experience more severe, ongoing symptoms.

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    Centrelink Payments And Benefits

    The following payments and benefits are available through Centrelink. Each has specific requirements that affect your eligibility. These include your:

    Medical conditions and supporting evidence.


    Psychological reports.

    Compensation or rehabilitation reports.

    It is a good idea to contact Centrelink beforehand if you need help with the information you need to supply.

    Applicants may need to undergo a Job Capacity Assessment to determine their medical needs and employment capacity.

    You are allowed to have some casual or part-time work, but your pension amount may be affected.

    The Mobility Allowance is a Centrelink payment that can help you with travel costs if you have an illness, disability or injury.

    To be eligible for the Mobility Allowance, you must meet all of the following requirements. You:

    Are 16 years or over.

    Meet the appropriate Australian residency requirements.

    Have a disability that prevents you from using public transport without extra help.

    Have a medical report from your doctor stating you cant use public transport without help.

    Need to travel to and from your home as part of your work, self-employment, training or job-seeking for at least 32 hours every four weeks.

    You may also be eligible to receive the Mobility Allowance if you participate in regular volunteer work.

    If you receive the Mobility Allowance but not the Disability Support Pension, you will also receive a Health Care Card.

    Fully Diagnosed Treated And Stabilised

    Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis: Guideline for Non-surgical Management

    Your medical condition must be fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised to meet the Disability Support Pension general medical rules.

    Your condition must be fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised for us to assess you under the general medical rules. You wont get DSP if we assess that your condition is not fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised. Our team of appropriately qualified health professionals uses your medical evidence to assess this.

    We assess your medical evidence according to social security law.

    Your medical evidence will need to show the following:

    • details of any treatment
    • that a qualified health professional has diagnosed your condition.

    For example, an ophthalmologist must support a diagnosis of an eye condition affecting vision.

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    How Your Ability To Perform Specific Jobs Are Affected

    If your back or legs are impacted by osteoarthritis you wont be able to stand long periods so that will prevent you from working construction, manufacturing, and retail jobs. Pain medications can cause drowsiness and dizziness that will prevent you from working with heavy machinery, driving a commercial vehicle, or being a machine operator.

    Osteoarthritis in the knees, hips, or back can keep you from bending, squatting, or lifting items, which keeps you from working in a warehouse facility, maintain employment as a stock associate in a store, or working in a shipping and receiving department.

    When your wrists, hands, or elbows are impacted by arthritis, your fingering skills may be impacted and you may find yourself unable to write regularly, use a keyboard, or grasp small items which can keep you from working data entry, office management and recordkeeping, and from doing assembly work in factory settings. As other joints become affected, your limitations may be greatly impacted.

    Are There Complications Of Osteoarthritis

    For many people, living with osteoarthritis will not cause major problems. However, complications that may arise from severe osteoarthritis include:

    • deformity due to swelling of the joint
    • poor sleep due to pain
    • reduced ability to exercise
    • restrictions performing daily tasks

    As osteoarthritis is a long-term condition, you may feel anxious, frustrated or upset about how it is affecting your life. Talk with your doctor or a friend you trust if you need help and support.

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    Social Security Disability Benefits For Osteoarthritis

    If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and the pain and stiffness resulting from the disease make it impossible for you to work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. The gradual loss of cartilage from your joints causes osteoarthritis. Cartilage is a tough tissue located between that joints that provides much needed cushioning. Without cartilage, your bones will rub together causing painful bone spurs and cysts making the condition continue to worsen.

    Your load-bearing joints, such as your hips, feet, spine, hands, and knees are usually impacted with the disease starting in one joint then spreading to other joints. Osteoarthritis can be a primary or a secondary condition. If it is a secondary condition, you should include the primary condition and its symptoms in your claim to help support your case. Osteoarthritis is diagnosed by ongoing symptoms, x-rays, scans, and even blood tests that show an elevated inflammation rate.

    Special Devices And Footwear

    Osteoarthritis Treatment in Australia

    Walking sticks can help to reduce the load on your knees and reduce pain when moving about. Other ways to improve symptoms of osteoarthritis include taping the joint, wearing braces, or using shoe insoles that improve your body alignment when standing and walking. Check with your physiotherapist for advice about using aids or supports.

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    How Does The Ndis Planning Process Work

    If you are approved for support through the NDIS, you will have an appointment with your ECEI Coordinator, LAC or NDIA planner. This person will help you map out your relevant short-term and long-term goals and create a plan for reaching them. For example, your goals might include getting ramps or rails in your house, returning to work or attending regular community events.

    Once your plan is approved, funding will be allocated for the services needed to help you reach your goals. You can choose to manage your plan and funds yourself or have someone else manage them for you. Plans are reviewed every one to two years and can change over time.

    There are many NDIS support groups and advocacy groups online that you can turn to for general tips and support from others in similar situations. You can find such groups via a Google search or by searching for NDIS on social media platforms.

    National Disability Insurance Scheme

    The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a government system that provides extensive support for Australians with a disability, their families and carers. It is operated by the National Disability Insurance Agency .

    The NDIS is designed to help people get the help they need so their skills and independence improve over time. It provides funding for, and assistance with, accessing a range of community and employment services. The NDIS operates independently of both Centrelink and Medicare.

    Services and funds are accessed through a vast network of Early Childhood Early Intervention partners and Local Area Coordination partners. The services are carried out by approved NDIS government and private providers, such as physiotherapists and transport service providers.

    The NDIS is not income tested so it wont affect Centrelink income support payments such as the Disability Support Pension. However, it will eventually replace many other local, state and national disability benefit schemes and services.

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    How Common Is Osteoarthritis

    Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis than men. Australian studies show that about 1 in 10 women report having the condition, compared with about 1 in 16 men.

    Osteoarthritis can develop at any age, but it is more common in people aged over 40 years or in those who have previously injured a joint. One in 5 Australians over the age of 45, and one in 3 over 75 years have osteoarthritis.

    How Is It Diagnosed

    What is osteoarthritis?

    Your doctor will diagnose OA from your symptoms and a physical examination. An x-ray may show the narrowing and changes in the shape of your joint. However x-rays do not diagnose how much trouble you will have. An x-ray that shows joint damage does not always mean you will have a lot of pain or problems. On the other hand your joint may be very painful despite x-rays being normal. Blood tests are only helpful to rule out other types of arthritis.

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    Risk Factors For Pain In Oa

    In view of the complex, multidimensional nature of the pain experience in OA, it is perhaps not surprising that the underlying etiology of pain is multifactorial, most often considered in a biopsychosocial framework . A few such risk factors are discussed below.

    Schematic illustrating the multifactorial nature of pain in OA, with complex inter-relationships between various risk factors, and the potential wide-ranging effects of OA pain.

    Beyond measurement issues, there are additional reasons that contribute to an apparent discordance. As discussed above, pain is a subjective experience, influenced by a number of factors, including genetic predisposition,, prior experience,, expectations about analgesic treatment,, current mood, coping strategies and catastrophizing, and sociocultural environment, as some examples. Without taking into account such factors that can contribute to between-person differences, assessment of the relation of structure to symptoms will be confounded. Unfortunately most such factors that contribute to individual variation in pain cannot be feasibly measured or collected in most studies. By adequately controlling for between-person differences using a within-person knee-matched approach, a strong dose-response relationship can be demonstrated between radiographic severity and pain presence, severity, and incidence .,

    How Your Ability To Work Is Impacted

    Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease because the condition worsens over time. It can be a very painful condition that limits your functioning and impacts your mobility. Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that requires ongoing medical care. Because of the severity of some cases, joint replacement surgery is sometimes necessary and you may even have to be hospitalized because of your condition.

    Because your weight-bearing joints are affected, you may not be able to stand or sit for long periods without having to reposition. If your back, hips, or knees are involved, you may not be able to lift, bend, or squat repeatedly.

    Having your hands, wrists, or elbows involved can also limit your ability to grasp, lift, carry, or reach. As the condition advances and your joints worsen, your mobility can be impacted even more. You may require the assistance of a cane or walker for walking as your condition advances. Pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed to treat the condition. Pain medication can cause drowsiness or dizziness and the anti-inflammatory drugs can cause gastrointestinal issues.

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    What Can I Do

  • See your doctor for treatment and advice. Your doctor will help you get the right treatment to manage your symptoms.
  • Learn about OA and play an active role in your treatment. Not all information you read or hear about is trustworthy so always talk to your doctor or healthcare team about treatments you are thinking about trying. Reliable sources of further information are also listed in the section below. Self management courses aim to help you develop skills to be actively involved in your healthcare. Contact your local Arthritis Office for details of these courses.
  • Who Can Access The Ndis

    Rheumatoid Arthritis Disability Benefits Australia ...

    Children under 7 can receive ECEI support through local Early Childhood Partners across Australia.

    Other Australian citizens or permanent residents under 65 may be eligible for support through the NDIS via their Local Area Coordinator . If you turn 65 after being approved for NDIS support, you will continue to receive support for the remainder of your life subject to the same periodic reviews as other recipients.

    To be eligible, you must have a permanent condition that significantly affects how you take part in everyday activities. You must also meet at least one of the following requirements.

    You usually need support from a person because of a permanent and significant disability.

    You use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability.

    You need some supports now to reduce your future needs.

    Note that, while your condition must be permanent, it does not have to affect you every day. For example, if your condition is recurring or in remission, you may still receive some support.

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