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Is this you? You recently turned 50. You are at the pinnacle of your career and personal accomplishments. But all of a sudden, you start waking up with stiff joints. Maybe you have pain in your shoulder when you work-out. Or your lower back hurts after a walk when it didn’t used to. Your knee starts to want to buckle when you go up the stairs. Your hip hurts after you’ve been sitting for not that long, and you don’t have the flexibility you used to.


You stretch it out. You see your chiropractor or massage therapist. Maybe an acupuncturist. You might even take it further and see a physio. It helps in the moment but it doesn’t seem to solve it.


You’ve seen your doctor. He or she says it’s just part of aging, and you can just take pain killers and maybe some anti-depressants.


You know there’s more to it than that. Maybe you’ve done a deeper investigation with blood work, and your hormones and inflammatory markers seem “normal”. Your doctor dismisses your concerns, not because they don’t care, but they just don’t see anything they can help you with. 


Maybe you’ve asked for X-rays or an MRI. And maybe you’ve received one, and your doctor says the results are clean.


But you want to get to the bottom of it and you feel like your doctor hasn’t exhausted all the options. After all, they are busy. But it’s your life, and damn it, you want to feel like you’ve done everything you can to get better and solve your pain and feel good again. If your grandma lived pain-free until she was 90, why can’t you? It should be possible to age well.


So you ask for your MRI or X-ray images, and lo and behold, your sports medicine physiotherapist sees some joint degeneration. So you take this back to your doctor (of course he/she doesn’t apologize for “missing” it), and you get an arthritis diagnosis, and a referral to joint replacement surgery (in about 2 years time, that is, unless another public health emergency gets in the way again) and get sent for cortisone shots in the meantime.


But you wonder if there is another way. After all, you’ll have to wait a long time for surgery (it is “elective” after all, as if you “opted” to be in pain), and the recovery is long and painful. Not to mention the risk of blood clots and other nerve damage, etc. So you might as well do something in the meantime and maybe, just maybe, you might be able to avoid it altogether and actually restore functionality in your joints.


Welcome to this Self-advocacy Toolkit. This toolkit will help you understand what is going on in your body at the cellular level if you have hit menopause and are starting to get musculoskeletal pain, and will outline some different possibilities to help you address the root cause of your pain that your doctor may not have told you about. Lastly, and most importantly, what you’ll get out of this toolkit is practical tips to get you started on your path to take charge of your own health by taking empowered and informed decisions. This will include:

  • Self-care, i.e., low-risk, low-cost and easily accessible options that you can do yourself without the need for a healthcare provider;
  • Getting help to support lifestyle measures/interventions including which ones and who are the right qualified providers;
  • Advocating for what you need with your doctor/healthcare provider for diagnostic tests, referrals, and treatments, or simply getting their input to flag any potential safety issues (e.g. contraindications);
  • Where/how to access regenerative therapies and other alternatives to surgery, or to speed up your recovery after surgery.


Your doctor is basically your gateway to the healthcare system. But the reality is that the system is not equipped to proactively care for your health. It is patronizing and limited in scope to acute care, or once you’re already sick (your disease is already diagnosed). Moreover, although your doctor claims to be evidence-based, there are particular interests at play that bias what evidence is generated, and that is deemed worthy of consideration – thus, it is incomplete[1].


If you want to reclaim your health and live a full pain-free life until you are 90 or older, and in particular if you want to avoid a diagnosis, you have to take charge of your own health. In order to do so, you have to stop relying on your doctor alone and on the healthcare system. You will need to create your own multi-disciplinary team of health and wellness practitioners to advise you, but ultimately, your health rests in your own hands. Your body alone holds the key to healing. The more informed you are about evidence-based options for your health, the better you will be able to make decisions about your own health proactively and avoid having to rely on the healthcare system which will likely fail you.


My aim is to inform you using my expertise at reading and interpreting the science (having worked in the pharmaceutical and healthcare field for nearly 20 years as well as having studied and practiced exercise science as a personal trainer), combined with my own personal experience, research, and intuition. Although I am not a healthcare practitioner and am not providing medical advice, I am laying out new possibilities rooted in scientific medical research that you can then use your critical judgment to evaluate and ask healthcare experts about, and guiding you to which healthcare experts are appropriately qualified and/or educated to advise you regarding, and help you access, these treatment possibilities.


This e-book is separated in 3 parts. First I will explain what processes in your body have led you to this point of having musculoskeletal pain and the likely root cause. Then I will summarize what treatment options exist to deal with and potentially reverse the underlying processes. And lastly I will outline the toolkit that you can use to inform your next healthcare conversations and decisions.


Let’s do this.


[1] Consider that pharmaceutical and medical device company sales executives can pay visits to doctors, but probiotics manufacturers cannot, nor can weight loss product companies, or digital health app developers, and especially manufacturers of super cheap medical-grade ingredient solutions that are used in regenerative therapies. Of course there are regulatory reasons for this – however, it makes it evident which evidence dominates the education provided to doctors.

Your Self-Advocacy Toolkit for Menopause-related Osteoarthritis

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