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It’s a Young Person’s Problem, Too
Susan Rivers
Susan Rivers was just 10 when she experienced “growing pains.” It turned out to be a form of arthritis, which she’s learned how to manage over time.

Most people don’t realize arthritis affects thousands of teenagers and young adults. Here’s why that matters and what Krembil Research Institute scientists are doing about it

The back and leg pain started when Susan Rivers was just 10 years old. Her family doctor – followed by a succession of other physicians – told her parents the aches were a simple side effect of growing. But as other kids’ “growing pains” dissipated, Rivers’ back issues got progressively worse. Both she and her family believed it went beyond normal adolescent discomfort. Yet, it never occurred to Rivers’ physicians that she could be suffering from arthritis, a condition commonly associated with old age.

By the time Rivers graduated from high school in Parry Sound, Ont., she had spent nearly half her life in often debilitating pain. The sporadic stiffness and aching she’d experienced as a child had grown more frequent, and Rivers could no longer ignore it or shake it off. “I felt old, but I wasn’t old,” she says. “It was very frustrating.”