Oct 11, 2017

Live Well: How to Support your Partner after an Arthritis Diagnosis

The best medicine after receiving an arthritis diagnosis can be a strong and healthy relationship’s support. Studies show that arthritis patients in a contented relationship had less pain and psychological disability. So how can you support your companion and keep your partnership strong? Try these tips to help improve a struggling relationship, or further strengthen a thriving one.

Educate yourself

Whoever said knowledge is power is right, especially when it comes to dealing with a chronic illness. Understanding this condition as much as possible now will take some of the fear and uncertainty out of the equation. Plus, it will show your partner that he or she isn’t in this alone, and that the both of you are taking positive management steps.


Communication is key in any good relationship, but it is especially important when someone discovers they have arthritis. People will feel a lot of different emotions after a diagnosis; there will likely be anger, guilt and fear, as well as pain and struggle for both of you. Your lives are rapidly changing and it is extremely important that you discuss this. It can be difficult to talk about, but if feelings aren’t shared, they can build up and cause irreparable damage in the long run.

Be a team player

Things like educating yourself and initiating conversations are all ways to be a team player. However, plan to take it a step further. Research fun things you can do together and find ways to make common tasks simpler and more fun for your partner. When people work together as a team it makes them a more solid unit and strengthens their bond.

Keep life fun

Remember to have fun and laugh. Studies show that laughter can help battle stress and keep your outlook positive. Dedicate at least one day a week to just have fun and forget about your troubles. Whether it’s a trip to a flea market or binge watching a hilarious Netflix show, keep it light. Every few weeks maybe try and plan something a little bigger and more adventurous that will still be realistic for you both, yet something novel that you wouldn’t indulge in frequently.

Focus on the positive

It may seem cliché or difficult to stay upbeat now, but your partner needs you more than ever. Focus on the positive and lead by example. Think of at least one thing you are both grateful for and think of an activity that you love that you can still do together. Keeping life framed in a positive way will encourage a sense of well-being and keep you both doing the things you love.

Stay in touch

Don’t let time go without touching or kissing your partner. As humans we need to feel connected to others; touch is the best way to feel that connection and let your partner know he or she is loved and supported.

Do nice things

Work on keeping the romance alive, but also remain a steadfast friend and confidant. Leave a sweet note in his or her lunch or do a chore that he or she particularly dislikes. Even the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact on someone’s state of mind.

Find a support group

Ask your healthcare provider to recommend a local support group – for you and your partner. You both will need someone who can relate to what you are going through, and it never hurts to have someone else to whom you can talk and gain fresh perspective.

Many of these tips can be implemented into any relationship to keep it strong and healthy. However, people suffering from arthritis will find things a little more difficult; dealing with life’s daily issues can be overwhelming and exhausting so it can be easy for your relationship to take a back seat. However, if couples work together, stay balanced and flexible, communicate, and get support, then they can solve most issues that arthritis throws at them. Carolina Arthritis is here for you every step of the way for additional support. Contact us as soon as possible if you or your partner need advice or have any questions.