MAKING LIFE EASIER WHEN YOU SUFFER FROM ARTHRITIS…

Last Saturday, the 12th October was the 22nd World Arthritis Day.

It is a day designed to raise global awareness about all facets of the disease.

Arthritis affects approximately 350 million people worldwide.

Among the long list of diseases considered to be in the arthritic family are ankylosing spondylitis, gout, lupus, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is an inflammation of the joints and can affect one or multiple joints. The symptoms usually develop over time but the Arthritis Foundation say that early treatment is the best treatment. Finding things to make your life easier is important to any sufferer. It is not a condition just for the elderly, children as young as 3 can be diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

The theme for 2019 is Time2Work , which was part of the EULAR Campaign Don’t Delay, Connect Today to highlight the importance of early diagnosis and treatment for rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.

On the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society site they said that Professor Dane Carol Black wrote these words in her report to Tony Blair’s government “Working for a healthier tomorrow” in 2008. ”Work is central to human existence and the motive force for all economics. For individuals, it provides structure and meaning and is good for people’s health and well being as well as their financial health and prosperity. Moreover, work benefits families and is socially inclusive.”

Almost a decade later, the report which the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society published in collaboration with the University of Manchester at the end of 2017 entitled “Work Matters” is a very important survey of more than 1000 people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Despite a number of government initiatives, the survey suggests that many people with inflammatory arthritis are struggling to find the type of work that they want.

However, just being able to travel to work and get around the environment can be a real worry to some sufferers. Where do you begin in finding out about the different types of mobility aids and wheelchairs to help you get around? Well, one such company called Pro Rider Mobility is a great place to start. They have a vast choice of mobility scooters, wheelchairs and other mobility aids to choose from. A Pro Rider Mobility Motorised Wheelchair could turn your life around in an instant, allowing you to get from a to b easily.  

The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society also have a great video on this year’s ‘Time2Work’ event which focuses on how and why employers should provide better support for people with rheumatoid arthritis and other long term conditions in the workplace as this benefits not only the employee but the employers as well.

Although I was always under the impression that most of my spinal pain was mechanical, disc related and failed back surgery an MRI I had a done eighteen months ago showed my spine also had some arthritis in it. I’ve still not had a discussion about this nor been given any different type of medication for it but after reading more on this disease I think it is something I will bring up in the future.

There are a number of sites you can find on the internet with all the information on the different types of arthritis but leading on from the recent Awareness Day and campaign some have more details about the Time2Work which I will list here for you.

The Arthritis Foundation

The National Rheumatoid Arthritic Society

The Global Rheumatoid Arthritis Network

Arthritis Care UK –

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THE SALI STUDY (SIGNIFICANT ANKLE LIGAMENT INJURY)& DAY FOUR AFTER INJURY…

It’s four days since I went over on my foot and sprained my ankle. Even with crutches the effort of getting up and downstairs on my back side was playing havoc with my low back but today I think I’ve turned the corner.

I’ve managed on one crutch for most of today and could walk down one step at a time on the stairs and got a fairly good nights sleep last night. I knew the crutches would bother my arm and neck but I forgot about the crawling I had done after I went over on my foot and what trouble the stairs could cause me.

I’ve been religiously doing exercises I found online for a sprained ankle as it soon goes stiff but it’s no where near as swollen as I have been using one of my five a day vegetables to freeze the ankle and reduce the swelling 🙂

Over the past 48 hours I’ve kept myself busy by making some new handmade cards. I’ve created some new styles to my usual ones using needlecraft and painting some of them. Do let me know what you think of them?

After I’d seen the nurse at A&E she asked me if I would mind joining a study which is researching the recovery from significant ankle ligament injury’s. The purpose of the study called SALI, is all about Osteoarthritis. I will be sent a questionnaires to fill in shortly after my injury, 3 months, 1 Year, 3 Years, 5 Years, 10 Years and 15 years. The study will help them understand why some people who have an ankle injury go on to develop osteoarthritis, and why others don’t.

Of course I said I was happy to take part as this study will mean I am part of and contributing to a large body of research being conducted within The Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis. They said I will be sent updates on the SALI study with a newsletter, and kept up to date with any developments regarding the study, ankle injury prevention and recovery from it, and other news of interest which I can then post on here for others to benefit from.

I really hope I don’t end up developing Osteoarthritis due to this ankle injury and I am now keeping my fingers crossed that my appointment with a spinal consultant on Tuesday will mean that I will soon be booked in for an injection.

MATTRESS AND BEDDING GUIDE FOR PEOPLE WITH FIBROMYALGIA…

 

This mattress and bedding guide for people with fibromyalgia from Tuck Advancing Better Sleep is a great help for people not knowing what type of mattress or bed to buy that is suitable for your problem. People with fibromyalgia may want to take the following factors into account when shopping for a new mattress and comparing different brands and models.

CONFORMING ABILITY AND PRESSURE RELIEF:

Some mattresses are designed to conform closely to the sleeper’s body and alleviate pain and pressure points throughout the body. These models can be very beneficial for people with fibromyalgia that experience widespread pain.

FIRMNESS:

Every sleeper has different firmness preferences, and these often come down to two factors: body weight and sleep position. For example, individuals who weigh less than 130 pounds and prefer to sleep on their side tend to feel most comfortable, while those who weigh more than 230 pounds and sleep on their back may prefer a firmer surface. There is no wrong firmness, per se, but sleeping on a mattress that is too soft or too firm can add to the pain symptoms of fibromyalgia.

SUPPORT:

In the mattress industry, ‘support’ refers to how effectively a mattress provides a flat, even sleep surface. Mattresses that are too soft or too firm may not be supportive enough for sleepers in certain weight groups. Another factor that affects support is wear and tear — namely sagging in the mattress, which can create an uneven sleep surface that causes sleepers to experience more pain and pressure. According to most mattress owners, sagging that measures one inch or deeper is much more likely to create added pain.

DURABILITY:

Durable mattresses will perform for at least six years without excessive sagging or indentations in the sleep surface. Mattresses with below-average durability may begin to deteriorate in as few as two to three years, and the saggy, uneven sleep surface can exacerbate the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia.

NOISE:

Noise sensitivity is a common symptom among fibromyalgia patients. Mattresses made of certain materials, such as foam or latex, produce little to no noise when bearing weight. These mattresses may be more suitable than other models, such as innersprings, hybrids, and airbeds, which are associated with above-average noise.

MOTION ISOLATION:

Motion isolation refers to a bed’s ability to absorb motion when someone gets up or shifts position, and isolate this motion to one side of the mattress. Motion isolation is important to people with fibromyalgia because they often experience noise sensitivity, and may awaken easily on a bed that does not minimize motion.

TEMPERATURE NEUTRALITY:

Heat and cold sensitivity is another common symptom of fibromyalgia, and people with this condition may sleep excessively hot or cold as a result. Mattresses with springs tend to have better airflow than those with solid base layers (such as foam and latex models), allowing sleepers to remain cooler throughout the night.

SLEEP TRIAL:

Many mattress brands and retailers offer sleep trials that last anywhere from 60 to 365 nights in length. In most cases, customers can test out the mattress for the entire duration and return or exchange their bed if they are not satisfied by the end of the sleep trial. People with fibromyalgia can take advantage of sleep trial offers to determine if the mattress they have chosen will work in the long-term.

WARRANTY:

Most mattress warranties include a ‘minimum sagging depth’ to determine whether or not the bed is defective. Some warranties will replace or repair mattresses that sag deeper than one inch, while others adhere to a higher benchmark. People with fibromyalgia may want to prioritize mattresses with warranties that include a minimum sagging depth of one inch or less. Otherwise, they may pay a significant amount to repair or replace their mattress for excessive sagging.

WHAT MATTRESS TYPES ARE BEST/WORST FOR PEOPLE WITH FIBROMYALGIA:

The five most common mattress types in terms of their suitability for people with fibromyalgia. The comparison table below evaluates each type for support, firmness, conforming, and other performance factors that matter to fibromyalgia patients.

MATTRESS TYPE INNERSPRING FOAM LATEX HYBRID AIRBED
Construction Foam comfort layers
Steel coils in the support core
Polyfoam and/or memory foam layers in the comfort layer
Polyfoam layer(s) in the support core
Latex layer(s) in the comfort layer
Latex or polyfoam layers in the support core
At least 2″ of memory foam or latex in the comfort layer, as well as other components (such as polyfoam or minicoils)
Pocketed coils in the support core
Foam comfort layers or no comfort layer
Individualized adjustable air chambers in the support core
Conforming Poor to Fair Good to Very Good Fair to Good Fair to Good Fair to Good
Firmness Options Fair to Good Good to Very Good Good to Very Good Good to Very Good Good to Very Good
Support Fair to Good Fair to Good Good to Very Good Good to Very Good Good to Very Good
Durability Poor to Fair Fair to Good Good to Very Good Fair to Good Poor to Fair
Light Sleeper Rating (Less than 130 lbs) Fair to Good Fair to Good Good to Very Good Poor to Fair Fair to Good
Heavy Sleeper Rating (More than 230 lbs) Poor to Fair Good to Very Good Good to Very Good Good to Very Good Poor to Fair
Noise Poor to Fair Good to Very Good Good to Very Good Fair to Good Poor to Fair
Motion Isolation Poor to Fair Good to Very Good Good to Very Good Fair to Good Fair to Good
Temperature Neutrality Good to Very Good Poor to Fair Fair to Good Good to Very Good Fair to Good
Rating for Sleepers with Fibromyalgia Poor to Fair Good to Very Good Good to Very Good Fair to Good Fair to Good
Explanation Most start to sag within two to three years
Minimal support in the neck, waist, and hips
Little to no conforming
Limited firmness options
Typically sleeps cool
Above-average conforming and pressure relief
Many firmness options
Good motion isolation and little to no noise
Average durability with sagging potential
Tends to sleep hot
Exceptional support and durability with little to no sagging
Above-average motion isolation and very little noise
Sleeps fairly cool
Many firmness options
Conform closer than innersprings, but minimal pain and pressure relief
Sleep fairly cool
Below-average motion isolation and strong noise potential
Many firmness options
Customizable firmness settings
May not be suitable for certain weight groups
Some are excessively firm
Average temperature neutrality
High noise potential

 

BEST MATTRESSES FOR PEOPLE WITH FIBROMYALGIA: MODELS AND BRANDS:

Now let’s look at five of the top-rated mattress models for people with fibromyalgia. The comparison table below lists specs, performance ratings, and other data for the five leading mattress models.

MATTRESS BRAND LEESA LOOM & LEAF SPINDLE TUFT & NEEDLE ZENHAVEN
Mattress Model Leesa Foam Mattress Loom & Leaf by Saatva Natural Latex Mattress Tuft & Needle Mattress Zenhaven Mattress
Mattress Type Mixed foam Memory Foam Latex Foam Reversible latex
Comfort Layer 2″ Avena foam
2″ Memory foam
2 1/2″ Gel memory foam
2″ Memory foam
3 3″ Latex layers
Layer firmness varies by selected firmness level
No traditional support core
3″ Polyfoam 1 1/2″ Latex
Mattress is flippable with two comfort layers of differing thickness
Support Core 6″ Polyfoam 7 1/2″ Polyfoam 7″ Polyfoam 6″ Latex
Both sides share one support core
Firmness Options Medium Firm Medium
Firm
Medium Soft
Medium
Medium Firm
Firm
Medium Firm Side 1: Medium Soft
Side 2: Medium Firm
Support Rating Very Good Good Good Very Good Good
Conforming Rating Very Good Very Good Very Good Good Good
Motion Isolation Rating Very Good Excellent Very Good Excellent Very Good
Noise Rating Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Sleep Trial 100 nights 120 nights 365-night comfort adjustment (replace one latex layer)
25-year comfort life (replace unlimited latex layers)
100 nights 120 nights
Warranty Indentation Depth 1″ 1″ 3/4″ 3/4″ 3/4″
Price (Queen) $940.00 $1,099.00 $1,349.99 $575.00 $1,899.00
Customer Satisfaction Rating 76% (74 customer reviews) 72% (113 customer reviews) 75% (98 customer reviews) 80% (84 customer reviews) 80% (924 customer reviews)

 

PILLOW SELECTION:

For people with fibromyalgia, the most important factor when choosing a pillow is ‘loft,’ or thickness. Using the correct loft can help alleviate pain and pressure in the neck, shoulders, and head, while the incorrect loft can make these issues worse. To determine the best pillow loft, sleepers should take their weight, sleep position, and mattress firmness into account.

Pillows that are popular among people with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions include buckwheat, latex, and memory foam models. Other pillows types, such as down alternative and polyfoam, may increase the amount of pain and pressure that these individuals feel. For more information about pillow soft and selection, please check out Best Pillows: Buying Guide and Information page.

MATTRESS TOPPER USAGE: 

The term ‘mattress topper’ refers to a cushioning layer that can be placed on top of a mattress for added softness, comfort, and support. Most toppers are designed to decrease the firmness of a sleep surface, although some toppers can increase the firmness.

A latex or memory foam topper will be most suitable for someone with fibromyalgia because these products conform closely to target pain and pressure points. Convoluted polyfoam toppers are considered the worst option since they are associated with increased pain and pressure. To learn more, please visit our Best Mattress Toppers guide.

HYDROTHERAPY AS A TREATMENT FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS, BACK PAIN AND FIBROMYALGIA…

 

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.