TEN HOBBIES FOR WOMEN YOU CAN ENJOY FROM HOME…

I just love this list (except gardening) which I’d swap and put jigsaws, as I think they are all manageable for people who suffer from chronic pain.

Can you think of any more you could add to the list?

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IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LETS TALK ABOUT SLEEP AND MEDITATION THERAPY…

Many people are turning to meditation as an effective way to relax and bring inner peace. It can also help with stress, improve your general health and help you to think clearly. It’s something you can do wherever you are, by focusing on something else around you instead of your thoughts, worries and obsessions.

You can meditate just by focusing on something; anything will do if you are out. But most people still meditate on breathing, a single repeated word, a flower or a mental image. Meditation is much more than just a way of relaxing, it also clears our minds and makes us more alert. If you meditate for a few minutes each day, the results can be deep and long-lasting.

There are many places you can learn to meditate; it could be a candle-lit room, with incense and dreamy music, lying on the floor after a yoga class or at an evening’s class at your local school or leisure centre. In your first meditation, people may feel sleepy as they let themselves relax and their adrenalin levels drop. They will go to classes after a hard day’s work, and need to rest.

Meditation is not about going to sleep. It’s about learning to relax and focus your mind. The benefits of meditation ripple through everything we do – being relaxed and aware is the mental equivalent of being fit and healthy. Some of the main reasons people meditate are for relaxation, health, inner peace and harmony, concentration to improve sporting and theatrical performance, inspiration and creativity, quality of life, self-understanding and therapy and spiritual awakening – the list goes on. ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ is a very simple way to meditate.

All you do is focus on your breathing, observe your thoughts and bring your attention into the present moment. Headspace explains ‘What is meditation for sleep’, you can try and listen to their way of meditating to go to sleep. Another great site is Sleep.Org who also explains how to meditate before you go to bed.

Meditation is thought to date back to the fifth and sixth century BC. Stories were written in ancient Hindu about it, and are featured in most religions. Ed Halliwell, author of ‘The Mindful Manifesto,’ says that ‘it can help you experience the moment and not be drawn into habitual emotional responses’. Halliwell goes on to say that ‘research on human brains during a meditation state has revealed a shift in activity from the right side of the pre-frontal cortex, which is linked with depression, over to the left, which is connected with emotional reassurance and happiness’. Research has actually shown meditation can ease depression, lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, boost immunity and healing, and lower blood pressure. Mindfulness meditation is now an NHS approved treatment.

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 –

THERAPEUTIC KNITTING THERAPY FOR CHRONIC PAIN, FIBROMYALGIA, DEPRESSION AND MUCH MORE…

Knitom wrote in an article that ‘Knitting is an effective, easily accessible tool that everyone can use to manage daily stresses. But it is also a valuable self-help tool for those dealing with more serious mental health issues and/or medical conditions.  The main conditions that therapeutic knitting is used for are:

  • Stress
  • Low mood
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Addiction
  • Eating Disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia

Research at Cardiff University found that the more frequently people knitted, the happier and calmer they said they felt.

Eighty one percent of respondents said they felt happier during and after knitting, and 54% of the respondents who were clinically depressed said knitting made them feel happy or very happy.

Similar to a yoga flow, the rhythm of working the same stitch over and over again calms the heart rate and breathing, creating a feeling of stability and inner quiet.

The Independent wrote ‘ Knitting won’t just result in a new sweater – research has found the hobby can also reduce depression and anxiety, slow the onset of dementia, and distract from chronic pain.

Published by Knit for Peace, the findings are the result of extensive research into previous studies analysing the benefits of knitting, as well as the initiative’s own research.

According to Knit for Peace, a network of over 15,000 knitters in the UK who knit for people in need, there is substantial evidence that suggests knitting is beneficial to a healthy mind and body.

Knitting, has proved a perfect way to switch off and relax, even better than meditation which some people find hard to practice.

Knitting groups are also popping up all over the country where you can meet up with fellow knitters and catch up on all the gossip.

A physiotherapist (Betsan Corkhill) was so convinced of it that she set up a knitting group in the Chronic Pain Unit at the Royal United Hospital in Bath and founded Stitchlinks which aims to provide support and friendship through knitting and stitching worldwide.

Experts feel that there’s a neurochemical effect on the brain which undoubtedly changes brain chemistry for the better, possibly by decreasing stress hormones and increasing feel-good seontonin and dopanine, while knitting.

The UK’s Hand and Knitting Organisation who has a list of knitting groups throughout the UK explain why joining a group will make it even more beneficial.

  • They provide an opportunity to make new friends who already share an interest.
  • They can get you out of the house and give you some ‘me time’.
  • Knitting group members are always willing to help each other with advice when someone runs into difficulties with a project.
  • They give opportunities to share and swap patterns, and check out new yarns. Some even run yarn swap sessions.
  • Chance to work on group projects from yarnstorming to charity knitting.
  • Company at a yarn show. Yarn events can be more fun with others to share the joy of squishing a colourful skein and admire a new pattern.

Knitting groups come in all shapes and sizes and meet a variety of places – check their list to find one that’s right for you.

As most of my readers know I have recently moved from the East Midlands to West Sussex and so I decided I would definitely join a knitting group once I was settled in but I missed the monthly meeting so I decided to go to a crochet class instead.

I’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet but I soon found out it wasn’t right for me as I needed to look down at the stitches for to long which meant it was pulling on my neck fusions and causing me pain.

I don’t have the same problem with knitting as I’ve been knitting for so long that I hardly look at the needles. So although knitting is without doubt very therapeutic it may not be suitable for everyone depending on their circumstances.

They are extremely sociable though, so much so, I rang to ask if I could still come to the class, pay my fees but bring my knitting as it was the whole group that I enjoyed.

SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP…

It’s Sleep Sunday, so let’s talk about sleep, that’s if we are lucky enough to get some. Some facts about sleep deprivation and pain.

Many Fibromyalgia and chronic pain sufferers say they feel lucky if they get 5 hours’ sleep a night.

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle? Pain makes it difficult to sleep, but sleep deprivation means the body cannot repair itself – making the pain worse. Healthline points out that people with chronic pain don’t necessarily see improvements in sleep once their pain is resolved.

In fact, the pain often only continues to worsen until sleep is addressed. This may be related to the fact that some people with chronic pain may battle anxiety which in turn may cause stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol to flood their systems. Over time, anxiety creates overstimulation of the nervous system, which makes it difficult to sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation points out that sixty-five percent of those with no pain reported good or very good sleep quality, while only 45 percent of those with acute pain and 37 percent of those with chronic pain did the same. Additionally, 23 percent of those with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, compared with 7 percent of those without pain.

Those with acute or chronic pain are more likely to have sleep problems impact their daily lives. Among people who’ve had sleep difficulties in the past week, more than half of those with chronic pain say those difficulties interfered with their work. That drops to 23 percent of those without pain. People with pain are also far more apt than others to report that lack of sleep interferes with their mood, activities, relationships and enjoyment of life overall.

People with pain also feel less control over their sleep, worry more about lack of sleep affecting their health and exhibit greater sleep sensitivity. They’re more likely than others to say environmental factors make it more difficult for them to get a good night’s sleep. These factors include noise, light, temperature and their mattresses alike, suggesting that taking greater care of the bedroom environment may be particularly helpful to pain sufferers.

While both chronic and acute pain relate to lost sleep, the survey indicates that chronic pain is an especially powerful problem. Indeed, nearly one in four people with chronic pain, 23 percent, say they’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder by a doctor, compared with just 6 percent of all others.

Sleep station comment that It’s a never-ending battle and a vicious circle between sleep disturbance and pain. In some there may be an element of chicken and egg – is the pain causing the sleep problems or is the poor quality of your sleep making your pain feel worse? Pain can, for example, be the main reason that you wake in the night, and these interruptions during the night can lead you to get less sleep, and most important of all, less good quality restorative sleep. This sleep deprivation can lower your pain threshold and your tolerance for pain and thus can make your pain feel worse.