Can I Get a Prescription for Osteoarthritis to Just... Spend Time Outside?

Date Posted : July 8, 2022

As of 2020, registered Canadian health-care professionals are now able to prescribe outdoor activities to their patients as a treatment for physical or mental health. This evidence-based nature prescription program is known as PaRx. Helping my Arthritis is a registered PaRx provider!

Going outside in nature may seem like an obvious cure for cabin fever - but it may not be such an obvious treatment for challenging conditions like Osteoarthritis; however, as of 2020, health-care professionals across Canada are now able to prescribe outdoor activities to their patients as a treatment for either physical or mental health, including arthritis!

Nature prescriptions are one of the fastest growing health trends today, and Canada is at the forefront of this movement. Canada is the second country (right behind the USA) in the world to be home to a prescriptions program known as PaRx. PaRx is Canada's first national, evidence-based nature prescription program. If a patient qualifies for PaRx from a registered PaRX provider, they receive a structured prescription to spend time outside and could even receive a free year-long Canada parks pass.

But why prescribe nature? Well, beside the benefits of nature that we’ve already talked about in our post on How Nature can Help You Manage your Osteoarthritis, research shows that a more formalized approach to encouraging people to head outside, rather than just verbal suggestions, make it more likely that they will actually go outside. In turn, these prescriptions also help patients become more involved in their physical well-being and mental health as it gives them something easy to work towards for their well-being.

The PaRx prescription is more than just a piece of paper telling you to get outside though, which is another reason it’s so effective. Through PaRx, health care providers, like physicians, physiotherapists, and psychologists, can register to receive a unique provider code which will give them instructions on how to prescribe and track their nature prescriptions; And patients? Through PaRx they can access information about how time in nature can support their unique ailments.

In short, the act of writing a prescription for nature demonstrates how important outdoor time can be for our health - even as important as some medications. If you’re looking to get a head start on the benefits of nature without a prescription, PaRx recommends 20 minutes outside each day, a total of two hours a week. And when it comes to what you’re doing outside, well the best health benefits are experienced when you feel like you’ve had meaningful contact with nature, which means the process of choosing when and where to get your green time will need to be up to you - another way PaRx gives patients more power in their wellness journey.

If you’re looking for more information on how going outside can help manage your Osteoarthritis, check out some of the stats at PaRx, or contact Helping my Arthritis. Nadine Plotnikoff, the physiotherapist behind Helping my Arthritis is a registered PaRx provider! Helping my Arthritis offers current education and treatment options around first and second-line physiotherapy for hip and knee osteoarthritis patients around Surrey, Delta, and Vancouver BC.

With the recent growth in telehealth options, we are able to now offer osteoarthritis management programs to patients living anywhere in BC! Reach out today to learn more about how to help your arthritis, call 604-306-0127 or email to consult with Nadine.