Adult woman exercising at the gym with a personal trainer

Osteoarthritis occurs when there is damage in and around the joints which the body cannot repair, and can have a debilitating impact on a person’s life.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are treatments available to manage symptoms. And if you have private health insurance, there are lots of ways you might be able to use your cover to help.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis, here are some tips for managing your condition–and how Medibank might be able to help.

Visit your GP

If you are concerned you might have osteoarthritis, your first step should be to visit your GP, as they can assess and discuss your symptoms. Sometimes, they may refer you to a specialist if necessary.

See a physio

You can see a physiotherapist to help with pain associated with your condition. If you have extras cover, your private health insurance might be able to help with costs associated with your treatment. By choosing a Members’ Choice provider you can also be assured of getting a fixed percentage back on the total bill for included services, up to your annual limit and subject to any waiting periods – this could be 55%, 60%, 70%, 85% or even 100% depending on your cover. You can find your nearest Members’ Choice provider here.

Build up your strength and fitness

Osteoarthritis can significantly affect the weight bearing joints of the legs, so doing regular exercise to keep the large muscles of the legs strong and flexible is essential. Increasing general physical activity levels is important too. But remember to check with a health professional that the type of exercise you’re doing isn’t aggravating your symptoms.

Clinical Pilates–a type of exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility, and breathing–can be ideal for people with osteoarthritis. These sessions are led by fully qualified physiotherapists who often provide individual treatment programs. If you have extras cover, your private health insurance might help cover the cost of these classes. Check your cover summary or give us a call if you’re unsure.

You can also check out Medibank’s Free + Active, for fun social events to get your body moving. And if you are a Medibank member, visit our Member Offers for great deals such as discounted gym entry and discounts on fitness and sports products.

Eat well

Good nutrition can be an important way to manage osteoarthritis symptoms. A great way to control what you’re eating is to plan your own meals and cook for yourself, and Medibank’s Live Better has plenty of delicious healthy recipe ideas for you to try.

You might also choose to see a dietitian, who can prescribe you with tailored nutrition advice. If you have extras cover with Medibank, you may be able to claim benefits towards consultations with a dietitian, up to annual limits and subject to any waiting periods.

Get expert health advice

All Medibank members with hospital cover can call the 24/7 Health Advice Line on 1800 644 325 to speak to a Medibank nurse. Our experienced nurses can answer any questions you have about your condition and managing your health in general. OSHC members can contact the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.

If you need to go to hospital

If you end up going to hospital, make sure you’re fully informed before you go. Before you commit to a specialist or procedure, ask your doctor any questions you might have. And if you’re a Medibank member, it’s always a good idea to call us on 132 331. We can help you understand what out-of-pocket costs you are likely to encounter, and what you can expect from your hospital stay.

Medibank’s LiveBetter is also a valuable resource to prepare you for your hospital admission. You can look up what you might pay out-of-pocket and how health insurance could help manage the costs using our interactive tool.

For more information, or to check that you have the best cover for your condition, talk to our team on 134 190 or chat to our friendly staff online 24/7 for advice and help with your health cover.