DIARY – COPING WITH COVID-19 WHILE IN CHRONIC PAIN…

For many of us in chronic pain just trying to keep in control of it can be an uphill daily battle but with the COVID-19 here it makes it twice as hard.

We have been in self-isolation for two weeks now after our children felt we were in the high risk category. For me, they felt I was high risk due to the amount of drugs I take and chest infections I’ve had in the past and for my husband because he is in his late 70’s.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 the government stressed over 70’s in particular were high risk so we felt sure we had done the right thing but it has been quite a struggle. Although “I” would probably have been ok popping into our local shop with gloves and mask on, I don’t think my husband should do this so then we have a problem. I never go into the supermarket without someone as I can’t bend to get certain things, shouldn’t stretch for anything and couldn’t pack or lift the shopping bags so it means we need the home deliveries.

Our first delivery which we had booked ages ago came last Thursday and we had a local green grocers who dropped of fresh fruit and vegetables but since then it’s been my daily task to try and get another slot with a supermarket.

During the week I get up first and make us a cuppa then take it back upstairs to start our day so my morning started with me going straight onto the websites to see if there are any delivery slots or even click and collect slots but so far no joy.

I also decided last week that I was determined to “get fit, not fat” and told my husband I wanted to lose a pound a week which if all goes to plan would mean a 12 pound weight loss over the 12 week isolation.

In my diary most of my days in the first week were spent catching up on washing and ironing as I have to pace myself for this and I definitely spent a lot of time online reading and watching videos about COVID-19. You can’t help it really, it’s so new to us all. I also decided I was going to re write my Complimentary Therapies book as I have so much more information and contacts I want to put in it but I have to admit that at the time of writing this all I have done so far is to download the old pdf to decide where to start.

We also go on a daily walk as we are lucky enough to have access to several South Downs walks from the back of our house. My new Joya Shoes have certainly taken a battering over the last two weeks but I feel so much more confident and secure walking in them. One day we did walk just over 5000 steps and although I thought I was fine I was in a lot of pain when I got home so we have planned our routes much better now.

Every day I fill in my C-19 health questionnaire from the symptom checker app which I wrote about on a post last week. Check the post out as you really should do this and it’s very easy to fill in and download. I am sure like me that some of the symptoms for COVID-19 we endure ever day so we just have to understand the important symptoms.

I had one day where I spent the morning looking for low fat biscuit and cake recipes and had an afternoon before and after my rest making sugar free cookies, apple and blueberry crumble made with oats and a fat free and sugar free fruit cake for my husband.

After my rest every afternoon I would try and get a slot from a supermarket but I still haven’t managed it and with the governments new criteria for vulnerable and elderly my husband just didn’t seem to fit in their list so this morning I decided to phone our GP to see if they had sent the letter they keep saying you will receive. The GP said they have nothing to do with that it’s the government bodies that deal with it (which seemed a bit strange to me) but which means we cannot get any ‘special case’ slots.

It’s now beginning to become quite a chore doing the same thing twice a day to find a slot but I won’t give up. Our local vegetable shop has now become so busy they won’t deliver for another week but I found a butcher in another village who would deliver where we are so I managed to get a few bits from him. I also had a card through the door from someone living near us offering help with shopping or picking scripts up etc so I asked her if she could pick up our scripts from the chemist today and pop in the local shop for some bread, milk and eggs. She had kindly dropped the food bits before we were even dressed this morning and is dropping the scripts off later for us.

I am on the waiting list to join the chemist delivery service and I had to wait a little longer for my paracetamol as they had sold out but if I can sort home delivery it will be another one off my list to stop worrying about. I kept wondering where the hours disappear to in a day but I can see after writing this just how much time is spent online. The mixed up weather over the last couple of weeks has caused a few flares but as long as I get my afternoon rest I am usually fine. I did wonder if I should try and manage without the paracetamol in case I caught the virus and needed it then but having only recently got myself down to 50mg Tramadol and paracetamol I don’t want to need to start taking it again.

I’m sure once I have a supermarket slot booked in my diary I will be able to concentrate on sorting my book out but at the moment that just seems to preoccupy my mind 24/7. How are you coping in isolation with your chronic pain? However you are managing the main thing is to stay safe. Ending on a good note, I’ve lost one pound on week one of my 12 week weight loss plan so I am very happy with that.

The beautiful view 5 mins across the fields from our front door.

5 WAYS TO LEARN WHILE WALKING IN THE FRESH AIR…

Getting out into the fresh air at the moment is very important to us all but if your nearest walk is not very exciting then you could learn while you walk.

You could listen to endless Podcasts. Good Housekeeping has 30 Best Podcasts for 2020 to listen to now.

You could learn a language. Lingualift has a list of the top 10 best language learning apps.

You could learn all about the birds and bees flying around at the moment. Dr. Hilary said this morning how you can here lots more bird song in the capital now the roads are so quiet. Hobby Help has listed the top 5 best Bird Watching Apps for 2020.

You could learn all about the flowers, trees and the leaves you pass on the road. The Telegraph has a list of the 10 best apps to identify unknown plants and flowers and Techigem has the 10 Best Plant Identification Apps for 2020.

If you just simply want to walk for health and some fresh air and don’t own a Fitbit then why not download an app and keep your phone in your pocket so it can register how many steps you have taken. I get a real buzz from knowing how many steps I’ve done as I know it’s so important for your health. Good Housekeeping have a list of the 10 best Step Counter Apps.

Nature is all around us, even if you live on busy streets or in cities. If you stuck in an apartment you could still take up bird watching, just zoom in your camera and take a picture of the bird then find out what it is from one of the apps. Being outside is very important and no matter how small your garden if you cannot get out into the streets then you could enjoy any off this list just walking around your garden.

We all want to get through this terrible ordeal we are now in ‘fit not fat.‘ There is also a brilliant book called Every Day Nature by Andy Beer (National Trust Book) which encourages you to find beauty in the everyday and forge a powerful connection with the nature than can be found on your doorstep.

GLASGOW TRAVEL RETAILER DONATES 5,000 (£125K) COMPRESSION SOCKS TO HELP FRONTLINE SCOTS NURSES…

A positive news story to share in the midst of everything that is going on.

Press pics taken by Peter Devlin available from dave@zudepr.co.uk

In order to help in any way that they can and to boost morale, a Glasgow online travel retailer whose sales have dropped 95 per cent in the past two weeks has donated 5,000 pairs of compression socks to help Scots nurses combat Covid-19.

Worth £125,000, the colourful knee-length socks will help 5,000 acute nurses in six hospitals across Scotland fight fatigue in the coming weeks.

And the firm has pledged to give away 5,000 more in the next seven days to nurses in London, bringing the total to 10,000 (£250,000).


Trtl (pronounced ‘turtle’) has donated the compression socks to acute nurses at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Royal Alexandra Hospital (Paisley) and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Govan. Each hospital has received 1,000.


In addition, nurses at The Royal Edinburgh Hospital will take 1,000 while Trtl has given 500 to nurses at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital and 500 to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

The award-winning company, which employs 30 people in Glasgow, had stockpiled thousands of the socks in advance of its peak summer season. But with sales stalling due to the Covid-19 pandemic and little prospect of travel bans being rescinded any time soon, CEO Michael Corrigan decided to use them to support frontline nurses in his home city, across Scotland and in worst-hit London instead.


He explained: “Although the compression socks have been most popular with airline travellers, at the start of this year we ran a small campaign with nurses around the world and they were really happy with them. “Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about how we can contribute in what is the biggest crisis many of us will face in our lifetimes. “When something like this happens it very rapidly puts things into perspective. “Nurses across the UK will be tested as never before in the coming weeks and if we can do something to help make the time they spend on their feet more comfortable, we must.”

“I couldn’t just see these socks sitting in a warehouse when they could be helping people saving lives. That’s what’s important, and nurses need all the help they can get just now.” John Stuart is the chief nurse at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. He said: “We are under no illusions about what we are going to face in the weeks to come. “Our nurses work incredibly hard and can spend hours and hours on the move during every shift. “With these compression socks we can help our staff alleviate some of the discomfort and aches associated with being on your feet for long periods of time and help them better face the challenges that are coming our way with Covid-19. “Any gesture like this can help boost morale and hopefully the colourful designs will help brighten the days of our nursing staff.”

A 2015 study found that the average NHS worker walks 3.6 miles a day with some recording up to 11 miles. Nurses regularly work 12-hour shifts and wearing compression socks reduces leg soreness, swollen ankles and varicose veins.


Established in 2013, Trtl is majority-owned-and-run by founder Michael Corrigan (32), who was born on Glasgow’s south side. He added: “This may be the biggest challenge we will ever face as a generation and how we react as individuals and collectively could define us in the years to come.” Best known for its Trtl Travel Pillow, which has sold 1.6M worldwide, Trtl sells a range of travel items from compression socks to packing pods. Most of its products are bought online through trtltravel.com and retailers such as Amazon.


The company, which won Small Exporter of the Year at the Scottish Export Awards in 2018, is expert at using social media and messaging apps to drive sales.

Trtl’s aim is to make travel comfortable, enjoyable and stress-free, so that both business travellers and vacationers alike can arrive at their destination refreshed, rested and ready to explore.

The company has also been featured on Dragons’ Den (The UK equivalent of the US Shark Tank), Huffington Post, The Financial Times, The Telegraph, Inc, BuzzFeed, Men’s Health and GQ. Trtl has won a raft of prestigious gongs for its exporting and digital media expertise including the Summit, Scottish Export and Shell Livewire awards.

Press pics taken by Peter Devlin available from dave@zudepr.co.uk

HELP SLOW THE OUTBREAK OF COVID-19 WITH THE SYMPTOM CHECKER APP…

Download the C-19 COVID Symptom Tracker App and self report daily. Help slow the outbreak. Identify those at risk sooner.

Take 1-minute to self-report daily, even if you are well to help the scientists identify high risk areas in the U.K. who is most at risk, better understanding symptoms linked to underlying health conditions. See how fast the virus is spreading in your area.

By using this app you’re contributing to advance vital research on COVID-19. The app will be used to study the symptoms of the virus and track how it spreads.

This research is led by Dr Tim Spector, professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and director of TwinsUK a scientific study of 15,000 identical and non-identical twins, which has been running for nearly three decades.

The COVID Symptom Tracker was designed by doctors and scientists at King’s College London, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals working in partnership with ZOE Global Ltd – a HealthPost science company.

They say ‘We take data security very seriously and will handle your data with huge respect. Your data is protected by the European Union’s “General Data Protection Regulation” (GDPR). It will only be used for health research and will not be used for commercial purposes. You can read more about how your data will be used, your rights and the steps we take to ensure it’s protected in our privacy policy or in the FAQ.

You can read more at King’s College London, BBC NEWS, The Guardian, and The INDEPENDENT.

Available from the App Store or Google Play.

SELF DIAGNOSING BACK PAIN…

The most common type of back pain that people suffer from is often acute back pain. This is pain that’s severe and happens out of nowhere, or at least it seems that way. In reality, there’s often a trigger that caused the pain, and you’ll be able to remedy the problem once you figure out what it is.

Chronic back pain, however, is recurrent and can last for weeks or months, and sometimes even longer. It’s usually related to diseases such as osteoporosis, degenerative disc disease, etc. The severity of your back pain usually dictates whether you’ll see a doctor or not. Most people with mild back pain, tend to just wait things out and rest. While this is understandable, if the pain is nagging and doesn’t go away, you must see a doctor as soon as possible so that any possible problems can be treated in the early stages, before it turns into some chronic.

SUDDEN ONSET OF BACK PAIN…

If you have sudden onset back pain, this could be due to an injury or a fall, or a strain. In some cases, the pain may only show up a day after the event, so you may have forgotten about it.

For example, if you strained your back while moving the couch, your lower back may start to throb or hurt a day later. By then you may have forgotten about the couch and be wondering why your back hurts. So, you’ll need to think back.

This is just one example. Working out at the gym, braking suddenly while driving, or even bumps to the back can cause back pain. In these cases, some pain killers and rest will suffice.

Usually, lifting heavy objects or twisting your trunk may cause sudden onset back pain. The facet joints get temporarily out of alignment and this will cause the joint to get inflamed. The surrounding soft tissues and muscles will get swollen and hurt. You may need to see a doctor.

GRADUAL ONSET OF BACK PAIN…

Another type of back pain is one that starts gradually. Sciatica is one such issue. If you have pain that’s located between your lower back and glutes, you might be suffering from ankylosing spondylitis. Pregnant women whose backs are strained will also display similar symptoms.

Another serious gradual onset of back pain arises when there is inflammation in the sacroiliac joints. In cases like these, you must see a doctor. Numbness around your back and buttocks, loss of bladder control, pain during bowel movements, etc. are all signs of back issues that require professional medical attention.

CHRONIC BACK PAIN…

With these types of back pain, it may seem like there’s no cause. The pain may come and go away. It’s episodic, recurrent and not as severe as acute back pain.

Usually, chronic back pain arises due to poor posture that takes a toll on the joints and muscles over time. Correcting your posture will remedy the problem. It could also be due to ageing, where your joints suffer wear and tear.

If the pain is persistent or worsens, there may be inflammation. It’ll be best to see a doctor.

These are the 3 types of back pain that generally affect most people. What you really need to know is that when assessing your pain, you must be honest with yourself. If the pain is getting worse, do not bury your head in the sand and expect it to go away. Keep a diary so you can explain in detail about your pain should you need to see a GP.