Jennie Garth on her arthritis: ‘We’re all going to age, we can talk about it’

Last year, Jennie Garth announced she had been diagnosed with early onset osteoarthritis. After she came to terms with the diagnosis, she positioned herself as a spokesperson for the condition. Jennie admits she was pretty freaked out by the idea of a future with arthritis, especially since her parents struggled with arthritis pain. But since she took such proactive steps to deal with hers, she’s found it’s not as bad as she feared. Working with her doctor and a trainer, she stays quite active. And she hopes her example inspires others in her shoes.

In the five years since she was diagnosed with arthritis, Jennie Garth has found a way to work with her joint pain so she can stay active.

“Going to a doctor or a specialist and getting that diagnosis is key, because from that knowledge, we can do our work,” Garth, 50, tells PEOPLE. Once she was diagnosed, she says “it spurred me into being more physically active and working with a trainer.”

Her exercise routine consists of weight training up to three times a week, to “keep my muscles and my bones adhered and working well together.”

She’s also taken up golf, a new sport and hobby for her, though she says her wrist can occasionally cause problems.

“There’s some wrist stuff that I feel that annoys me when I feel it because I’m like, ‘Oh no, this is going to mess with my golf swing.’ ”

“Because I have little feelings in my hands, my wrists, my knuckles, those areas, so opening jars [is difficult]. I just hand it to somebody else now and don’t even worry about it. ‘Can you open this for me? Great. Thanks.'”

“You think of arthritis as an older people’s situation and I wanted no part of that, that really scared me,” Garth says. “But for me it was more of a catalyst for improving my health and my general wellbeing.”

“I’m moving into it with grace and dignity and a sense of pride of all the years of experience and knowledge and things I’ve gained from this lifetime,” she says. “There’s many facets of aging and how it affects you physically, how it affects you mentally is a huge component. And you really just have to come to terms with — this is life.”

“We’re all going to age, we can talk about it with one another, we can help each other, which is what I’m trying to spread information to people about osteoarthritis and what they can do for relief.”

She says that she hopes to be able to inspire people to take care of themselves when it comes to their own joint pain.

“Sometimes when we get a diagnosis with something that’s discouraging or worrisome, our tendency is to hole up and not leave the house or to not do things anymore because, ‘Oh, I have this ailment, this issue.’ But for me, and what I hope for other people, is that it’s a catalyst for you to push forward and take better care of yourself.”

[From People]

Jennie also talks about using Voltaren arthritis pain gel when her arthritis flares up. She’s probably getting paid by Voltaren but since we are talking about arthritis and how to manage it, I thought I should give you the full discussion. What Jennie said about opening jars made me laugh because while I don’t have arthritis, opening my own jars used to be such a point of pride or me. Now I’ll hand them to anyone nearby, I’ve nothing to prove.

I agree with Jennie’s comment about we are all going to get older so why not share what’s going on. I am fortunate enough to have found a trainer I can work with like Jennie. She’s amazing about making the workouts relevant to my age and period of life. It’s important. I didn’t go back to the gym to walk a runway, I went back to enjoy my latter years. So I want my balance and scar tissue focused on. And like Jennie, I find talking about it makes it less scary. Especially because there is so much information out there and if you bring something up, you have so many more opportunities to learn and share.

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19 Responses to “Jennie Garth on her arthritis: ‘We’re all going to age, we can talk about it’”

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  1. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’ve been handing jars to the boys for years now. If I’m alone, I did buy those jar opening handle thingies. I have to constantly move, like she says. If I’m still for too long on the tablet or laptop, my hands whack out. And I think my husband’s going to have hip problems. Yay getting older!

  2. TIFFANY says:

    I’m going through arthritis right now. It sucks. My right knee is killing me and the cream can only do so much.

  3. Bread says:

    Filing this one under toxic positivity. Having and accepting a diagnosis, working with a trainer, etc., doesn’t mean that I hurt any less, that the opportunities I once had have not been decimated, that it is not just ABSOLUTE SH-T.

    We should be allowed to feel and say that too.

  4. Carey Hecktman says:

    Voltaren is a freaking miracle. It used to be prescription only, but last year became otc. I hope she screams that name to the Universe, because pain is so unnecessary, and so debilitating.

    • Alice says:

      It was hard to believe it was prescription only in North America and we had to bring bags from Europe. As former professional athletes and dancers family, we grew up on it, pretty much and it was crucial to being able to still perform at high level through injuries.

  5. Giddy says:

    Every morning when I wake up I feel like the Tin Man from Oz…rusted in the rain and my joints need oiling.

    • Dara says:

      I sound like a Rice Krispies commercial when I go up and down stairs…snap, crackle, pop.

  6. Carey says:

    Voltaren is a freaking miracle. It used to be prescription only, but last year became otc. I hope she screams that name to the Universe, because pain is so unnecessary, and so debilitating.

    • Renee' says:

      I wished it would have worked for me, but I had an allergic reaction to it. I broke out into a terrible rash with Voltaren.

      • fishface says:

        Have you tried bioavailable turmeric (curcumin)? Fantastic, natural way to deal with arthritic inflammation and pain – and it lowers your cholesterol too.

  7. QuiteContrary says:

    I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 20 years ago — RA is a systemic disease that can affect the organs as well as joints.

    I’m glad for Jennie that she has the time and resources to work with a trainer. I highly recommend it. But not everyone has the resources. For years, I swam every day at the local Y, which really helped. If you can join, a water fitness class — you might be the youngest one there, but it will be fun.

    If your joints hurt, see a doctor. Insist on blood tests to determine which kind of arthritis you might have. Buy some moist heating pads and gloves for bad days. Rest when you can. And if you are diagnosed with any form of arthritis, remember that the treatments today are so much better than in decades past, so cry when you need to, but have hope. All these years on, I’m still in pretty good shape. It hasn’t been easy, but it hasn’t been as scary as I feared when I was diagnosed.

    One more thing: Avoid quacks. Even well-meaning people will advise you to go on a macrobiotic diet, or wear a copper bracelet, or eat a certain spice. Stick to the science.

  8. Dierski says:

    Any discussion about aging and managing age-related diagnoses is so important! Especially since human life expectancy has increased so much since our grandparents/parents generations… being a healthy 50, 60, 70 year old today is vastly different than it was decades ago.

    I think this any time an older woman discusses menopause – we may not think we want to hear it as younger women, but it is so helpful. Anything to take the mystery out of aging helps!

    Jennie looks absolutely fantastic and I love that she’s discussing this!

  9. mellie says:

    I have arthritis only in my fingers right now, it’s particularly bad in my thumbs and I’m only 52….I tried Voltaren with zero results. The hand specialist told me that I might as well ‘rub water on my hands’. haha. I guess it just depends on your body.
    I just had to start being very mindful of my hands, I had to stop the boot camp type workouts (no more jerking of weights/kettlebells/ropes) and switch to hot Pilates and hot Yoga and running. And less of the gripping, grabbing, twisting…and holding/texting on a cell phone is probably one of the worst things one can do. Gettin’ old is for the birds!

  10. TheVolvesSeidr says:

    For anyone who has trouble taking NSAIDs orally, Diclofenic (AKA Voltaren Gel) is a godsend. Highly recommend.

  11. Sophie says:

    She’s beautiful. I hope I look like her when I’m 50.

    • Juniper says:

      She looks a lot better than she has. She had some plastic surgery a few years back right after her divorce that really messed with her face. I’m glad she’s backed off a bit.

  12. Aimee says:

    Arthritic here…I have had arthritis since my late twenties and I am in my mid thirties now. I ignored it for several years before seeking help, thinking it was just a case of ‘trowel hand’ from being an archaeologist. Turns out that it actually is important to seek help and not allow yourself to live with debilitating pain all the time. I honestly had more trouble accepting that I have arthritis than I did coming to terms with PCOS and endometriosis. I thought it was something that happened to an older crowd and thought I would be laughed away in office for bringing it up. I have no idea why it wrecked my self-esteem, but I was severely bothered watching my fingers contort and swell all the time. It took my husband awhile to realize that I couldn’t lift basic items anymore because my grip was terrible. I live in compression gloves.