As we all know over the past few years there have been substantial changes to the benefits and support available to disabled people in the UK and their carers. Keeping up with what is rightfully yours can be a bit of a minefield and if you don’t make a claim you won’t get the benefit.

Which benefit to claim for is also difficult especially as there are so many to choose from. In fact, according to the Money Magpie website, there are at least 15 disability benefits available.

Another great website for all benefits details is Scope which also has support and information and an online community which they say ‘is a place where disabled people, parents, carers and those who work with disabled children and adults can come to discuss all topics relating to disability. You can ask questions, share your experiences and get much needed support with any issues you currently face.’

One particular inspiring article which was shared in the community section was from Janet Richards the President of Wheels and Wheelchairs, a charity which takes wheelchair users rollerskating. Their support and information section is ideal for anyone whether you, your child or those you work with have a physical impairment, learning disability or any other condition, information is there for you on the website.


The Money Saving Expert has an excellent calculator which will only take 10 mins to calculate what you are entitled to. Another website The Money Advice Service has a great article on Benefit Changes in the UK.

A recent article in the Independent Newspaper states that 70,000 disabled people are owed thousands in benefits due to government error, and some they say will never be paid back. They say ‘the DWP will pay £340m back in underpayments, but estimates there may be up to £150m more which cannot be paid back because arrears will only be accounted for as far back as 21 October 2014, the date of a legal tribunal ruling.’





Research has shown that if you suffer from fibromyalgia or osteoarthritis pain in the knee or hip, then aerobic and stretching exercises in warm water can help to relieve it.

There are three categories of exercises called hydrotherapy: hot water, cold water, and alternating hot and cold water. Hot water is known for stimulating the immune system and is also good for increasing your circulation. Cold water constricts blood vessels and is effective in reducing inflammation.

Using both hot and cold has been found to improve circulation. It was found that water heated to between 32 degrees C to 36 degrees C slightly reduces osteoarthritis pain over three months. They say that hydrotherapy changes lives and has been proven to be a highlyeffective form of natural therapy which works by stimulating the endorphins, which in turn helps you to control pain and alleviate tension.

The hydro bath works by releasing millions of large bubbles, which relax your muscular tension and helps reduce swollen joints, giving you increased mobility and more importantly lessens your pain.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms says that Hydrotherapy is actually one of the oldest types of health treatments in existence today. It still occupies a major place in medicinal treatment throughout China, Japan, and Europe. Believed to have healing properties, water has long been used to treat various illnesses, ranging from gout to depression. The use of thermal spas and baths was introduced by the Romans in the fourth century BC and since then has risen in popularity. Various forms of hydrotherapy are now used in countries all over the world.

Hydrotherapy appears to be particularly effective for those suffering from fibromyalgia. In particular, hydrotherapy techniques help to:

  • reduce muscle pain
  • improve sleep disorders
  • increase mobility
  • reduce stiffness

A variety of studies involving fibromyalgia patients and hydrotherapy have been performed. In one study, fibromyalgia patients were given therapeutic whirlpool baths twice a week for six weeks. Upon conclusion of the study, the patients involved had better muscle and joint function, reduced pain symptoms, and improved sleep quality.

Hydroptherapy UK says the only side effects are as with any water-based activity, caution should be exercised to remain safe from drowning. Almost all hydrotherapy is carried out in pools more shallow than the height of the person using it.

Patients should drink sufficient amounts of water to avoid becoming dehydrated.

The buoyancy of the water can make some activity seem easier, while it is actually working muscles very hard. Patients should get used to how their body feels after a session in order to gauge appropriate levels of activity (i.e. not “overdoing” it).

The warmth of the water may make a person feel dizzy.

If the hydrotherapy is taking place in a chlorinated pool, the patient should shower immediately after to avoid irritation to their skin.

Arthritis Research has an article on how you can access hydrotherapy through the NHS. They say that hydrotherapy sessions are available on the NHS, and most hospitals have access to hydrotherapy pools. Any member of the healthcare team should be able to refer you to an NHS physiotherapist if they think you might benefit from hydrotherapy. In some parts of the UK you can also refer yourself to a physiotherapist, who’ll assess whether hydrotherapy would be suitable for you. Check with your GP or call your local rheumatology department to find out if an NHS physiotherapist in your area will accept self-referrals.

They also say that scientific studies have shown that hydrotherapy can improve strength and general fitness in people with various types of arthritis. The exercises can be tailored to your individual needs, so you can start slowly and gradually build up your strength and flexibility.

The extra support that the water provides may make you feel like you can do more exercise than normal, so be careful not to overdo it. The exercise and the warmth of the water may make you feel tired after treatment, but this is quite normal. In general, hydrotherapy is one of the safest treatments for arthritis and back pain.


Making Your Garden AccessibleThe Definitive Guide is a guide written by Stairlift Reviews and a must-read for anyone who struggles to get around their garden during the summer months.

In this comprehensive guide, it starts off by telling us that if you have always enjoyed spending time in your garden it can be very frustrating if you can no longer do what you once did because of a disability, illness or advancing age. Whether gardening itself is your passion, or you simply take pleasure from being outside, reduced mobility can limit the tasks you can do in the garden and restrict the parts of your garden you can access.

Most gardens have hazards that make them unsafe for people with mobility issues, such as uneven ground, slippery surfaces, slopes and steps. According to the Accident Advice Helpline, slips, trips and falls are among the most common accidents to occur in the garden. Injuries range from relatively minor cuts or bruises, to serious fractures or broken bones.

Fortunately, there are several ways to adapt a garden to make it accessible to everyone. There is also a good range of adaptive tools and equipment to help you carry on gardening.

This guide then covers in great detail all about pathways, slopes, steps, raised beds and containers, low maintenance planting, seating, lawns and hedges, watering and tools and equipment and also helpful resources. Everything that you could possibly need or want to know is in this guide for making your garden accessible.


First thing in the morning is the worst time of day for me as I am always in a lot of pain and discomfort when I first get up. Suffering from an acute low back pain first thing in a morning is quite a common complaint and can be caused by a number of conditions.

  1. Myofascial pain syndrome and/or fibromyalgia: probably extremely common, but more mysterious and controversial. Pain Science explains that there’s likely lots of overlap between these conditions. While FM is more clearly a neurological dysfunction, and MPS is hypothetically a problem with muscle tissue, they seem to cause many of the same symptoms, and each condition probably aggravates the other. 
  2. The most common form of morning stiffness and pain is due to muscle imbalances and poor conditioning of the muscles themselves.  These problems may then lead to disc, vertebrae and joint issues which will hurt even more.  A lumbar muscle imbalance area will cause a disc problem which then may put pressure on a nerve. To prevent further injury in that area, the muscles of the lower back will stiffen, tighten or spasm. Low Back Program say this common reaction is known as “muscle guarding.”  Here, the muscle spasms and becomes painfully rigid to prevent any further motion.  This happens to protect either a nerve, disc or a possible muscle strain or sprain. 
  3. The NHS UK say it could be ankylosing spondylitis – this causes pain and stiffness that’s usually worse in the morning and improves with movement. Other symptoms are back pain and stiffness, pain and swelling in other parts of the body – caused by inflammation of the joints (arthritis) and inflammation where a tendon joins a bone (enthesitis) and extreme tiredness (fatigue).
  4. Degenerative Disc Disease is when normal changes that take place in the disks of your spine cause pain.The discs of the spine serve as “cushions” between each vertebral segment. The discs are designed somewhat like a jelly donut. Degeneration (deterioration) of the disc makes the disc more susceptible to herniation (rupture), which can lead to localized or radiating pain.  
  5. Vitamin D deficiency can cause subtle widespread pain that may be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome. Most notably for the purposes of this article, it can cause bone aching, particularly in the back, that is worse at night (for no clear reason). Naturally, any night pain that doesn’t actually wake you up is often noticed upon waking.

There are other conditions that could cause morning stiffness including trauma to the spine, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, sciatica, and pregnancy. The list above are the most common conditions related to morning stiffness but it is essential that you have a proper diagnosis with your GP of back specialist to find out which condition you are suffering from.