Jennie Garth on her arthritis diagnosis: ‘It’s just something that you’re aware of’

Jennie Garth turned 50 last April. By that time, she’d been living with early-onset osteoarthritis for three years. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. In laymen’s terms, it’s when the cartilage between your joints wears down enough to cause pain. As Jennie has discussed before, she was shocked to be diagnosed so young, especially as she considered arthritis as ‘an old person’s’ affliction. However, Jennie took the bull by the horns and made herself a spokesperson for it instead. Yes, she got a sponsorship out it with Voltaren Pain Gel (this post is not sponsored by Voltaren, I’m just relaying facts), but Jennie’s reasons for speaking out are good ones. Through topical ointments like the gel, diet and exercise, Jennie has managed her arthritis so it doesn’t interrupt her life. Jennie said it’s really “just something you’re aware of” and she “stoked” to be able to use her platform to tell others how to manage their arthritis as well.

Jennie Garth is opening up about what her lifestyle looks like while managing her arthritis.

“I started talking to my mom and other members of my family, finding out that they suffer from it as well. So many people do but they don’t want to talk about it,” she says. “So it was one of those situations and just sort of acknowledging it and being open and honest about it. Let’s talk about how to work with it, how to fix it, how to alleviate some of the pain.”

One of the ways Garth alleviates her pain is through her partnership with Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel — an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory gel intended to treat osteoarthritis — and their CareWalks initiative for September’s Pain Awareness Month.

The star says she’s “stoked” to use her platform to shine a light on those dealing with their own pain and suffering in silence.

“This is just an opportunity to kind of use my situation to open up conversations and help other people with that,” Garth says. “To find out how to use Voltaren Gel to help, it was a great thing for me. But also to be able to share that information with other people who are suffering from arthritis pain.”

Along with the topical remedy, Garth tries to use constant movement to treat her osteoarthritis, staying busy, mobile and flexible to keep her health intact. She also had made changes to her diet by eating anti-inflammatory foods like berries and whole grains.

The actress, who celebrated her 50th birthday in April, admitted that she’s “definitely” in a good place now with managing her arthritis.

“It’s something that you just start to sort of live with and learn how to manage and through different products and different exercise and diet regimes. It’s not like it’s debilitating in any way. It’s just something that you’re aware of,” Garth tells PEOPLE. “And as we get older, it’s really very important… It’s very important to be your own health advocate. You’re sort of the CEO of you. You really run your business. Because no one else is going to.”

[From People]

I’m a little surprised people won’t talk about arthritis. But I think it goes back to Jennie’s earlier point about society portraying it as an issue for the elderly. So if you admit to it, people will see you as old or something. I could see that being an issue in Hollywood. The family is different. My grandmother had arthritis and it felt like we talked about it all the time: how to avoid it, what aggravated it, how it sucked. I’ve been looking for signs since I was seven and my mom convinced cracking my knuckles would lead to it.

But what I actually wanted to focus on was the second part of the article, the managing it part. First of all, Jennie’s analogy of being “the CEO of you” speaks to my little Capricorn heart. I love that. But I can also attest to the fact that even at the very advanced age of 50+ (kidding!) your body will still work with you. I mentioned I was starting to have a lot more pain after menial tasks that never bothered me before. I went back to the gym after a very long time, started a light workout routine and guess what – major improvement y’all. I wouldn’t get in a boxing ring or anything, but if I exert myself, recovery time is greatly reduced. Like Jennie said, my joint issues are something I am aware of, but they no longer interfere with my day-to-day.

Photo credit: Avalon Red and Instagram

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11 Responses to “Jennie Garth on her arthritis diagnosis: ‘It’s just something that you’re aware of’”

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  1. Anony83 says:

    The whole “arthritis is an old person thing” is such a myth. I’ve had inflammatory arthritis since I was in high school (I have a chronic inflammatory condition it is secondary to so no need for diagnosis please) but it’s also incredibly common to develop some kind of chronic joint pain before 50. Especially in women.

    We don’t diagnose it though! But it’s why every 38-year-old you know thinks their body suddenly hates them. Lol.

  2. Mila says:

    I love you Kelly Taylor 😂😀 in all seriousness tho it rly isn’t just an “old person” condition. It can affect anyone. Unfortunately.

  3. Icy says:

    I am glad there is more being said about this. I remember when my hands started hurting all the time, especially my thumb joints which just felt like someone was hitting them with hammers all the time … 45. I thought it was carpal tunnel and started wearing braces all the time and taking so much ibuprofen. Finally went to the Dr and no, osteoarthritis. It’s acetaminophen that is better for bone pain (non inflammatory). My doc said mid forties is about when it starts showing up in hands for women. It’s been almost 10 years and it’s definitely progressive. You do kind of get used to the pain. Constant controlled movement also helps. But I miss being able to open jars and not be so aware of my hip bones in their sockets.

    • Noo says:

      Very sorry to hear about your pain @icy. Don’t know if this is useful to you but a friend with oa whose mom had horrible oa created a thc cream which provides him with a lot of relief on his hands. Galliano gold it’s called and it’s Canadian. I’m sure there are lots out there but his sounds extra good as he paired it with cobaiba I believe which helps to increase absorption of the thc.

  4. mellie says:

    I was just diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my hands, it’s changed my workout ways, I had to give up the aggressive type boot camp workout (where you have ropes to grasp, kettle bells to swing around) I was doing and switch to a hot pilates and hot yoga studio, which I LOVE! Plus I do a lot of trail and road running (well, not a lot, but maybe 15 miles/week and a couple half marathons a year, but that’s a lot for me). But, when I told my doctor I was taking Voltaren, he said, “you might as well have been putting water on your hands”….haha. He said it’s crap. And honestly, it didn’t work for me, but the cortisone shot sure did, and the splint at night and being more mindful of the way I do business – no more trying to muscle open jars etc… It’s a process.

    • North of Boston says:

      It may be down to whatever is going on with each person’s body. I used it for tendinitis and chronic pain in my wrist following a stupid awkward fall that ended with me putting my hand through the *bottom* of a chair, and it helped, along with a splint. That was the first line treatment recommended by the orthopedic doctor, along with a course of Naproxen (which I stopped after 3 days because every part of my body started retaining fluid) A steroid shot was the 2nd option if things didn’t improve within a couple of weeks.

    • SamC says:

      I had meniscus surgery and they found arthritis. I can’t take NSAIDS so my ortho said to use Voltaren as an alternate. He said it’s not going to be as fast/effective but does work, and I’ve found if I use before heavy exercise or being on my feet for hours it definitely helps.

      Also, if you have a Costco membership, the Kirkland version works just as well at 1/2 or less the price.

    • Chaine says:

      Voltaren IS crap. Did nothing at all for me and every time I go to a doctor about pain now they try to prescribe it to me. I feel as if there is some sort of pharma kickback that doctors are getting to plug this useless cream.

  5. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m applying a gel daily myself. You simply never realize, beforehand, that it’s happening, but my pain spoke up lol. I’m constantly moving my hands now. And exercising. I’m squatting at the kitchen sink. Lunging at the microwave. And basically using any motion or movement as a stretching exercise. I bet I look utterly ridiculous. ¯⁠\⁠_⁠༼⁠ᴼ⁠ل͜⁠ᴼ⁠༽⁠_⁠/⁠¯

  6. NorthernGirl_20 says:

    I’m 46 and I have arthritis in my left thumb that is extremely painful; I’ve had this for about 10 years maybe more. I attributed it to my hand deformities (I have 4 fingers on my right hand and my thumb on my left hand is basically useless). It’s not an old person’s disease.

  7. BeanieBean says:

    I started having pain in my hip, very slightly, over a year ago, and it worsened in the past year. I thought it was a combination of too much sitting (thanks, pandemic!), different couch, different job/life circumstances. It got to the point where it was excruciatingly painful to go for my daily walk, so I went to my doctor who ordered a hip X-ray & physical therapy. The X-ray showed a bit of arthritis, nothing major, and the physical therapy was two sessions a week for six weeks. That really helped! That PT was terrific & I told him I was so grateful for all he did for me because it was really wearing me down mentally. (It’s been a really crap year for so many reasons.). I continue to do the exercises they showed me & have bought a heating pad. While I’m not buying my own ultrasound machine or that machine that zaps you with tiny amounts of electrical impulses, I am going to buy one of those ‘mini-bikes’ for under my desk. Oh, and mid-60s here, was a long-distance runner for a couple of decades until a hereditary neuropathy put a stop to that + field-going archaeologist for the next couple of decades until that stupid neuropathy again put a stop to that. I’m just so happy I don’t need hip replacement surgery.