STAYING POSITIVE…

A lovely quote on Staying Positive today to any of my blog friends who are going through a hard time…

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SLEEP SUNDAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP…

Sleep SundayLet’s Talk About Sleep. Sleep dysfunction and chronic fatigue are common in many disorders including Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, Arthritis and mental illness.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, two out of three people with chronic pain have trouble sleeping and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, say over 40 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder and another 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.

Experts estimate 25-40% of patients with chronic pain have insomnia, many times the rate among those without. It’s estimated that 50-80% of chronic pain patients report sleep disturbances. The worst is when pain and sleep loss get into a downward spiral of awfulness, leading to low quality of life. Pain makes it hard to sleep, poor sleep makes the pain subjectively worse, and both lead to depression, which also affects sleep disorders and pain experience. Recognizing that pain and sleep disorders often go hand-in-hand can sometimes help to solve the problem.

Sleep they say has a naturally recuperative power. A greater emphasis on sleep may help patients improve their daytime functioning. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a possible solution for both living with pain and alleviating problem sleep, but maybe they should include some ‘sleep clinics’ in the ‘pain management’ programmes.

Does pain make the sleep worse or does poor quality sleep degrade make the pain feel worse? Both. Don’t discount the effect that a good night’s sleep can have on a person’s quality of life and ability to tolerate pain. The subjective intensity of pain decreases when a person is well-rested. Hyperalgesia – increased sensitivity to pain – is a result of loss of sleep, especially the loss of REM sleep. Which is ironic, because the opioid drugs used to treat severe pain suppress REM sleep and may make patients more sensitive to the pain they feel. Antidepressant drugs could also suppress REM sleep and make us complain about pain more (maybe this is partly the cause of the stereotype of the diva). Poor sleep quality is correlated with more severe pain and increased fatigue.

Some people do truly believe acupressure to help you sleep. Some tips are to place the tips of your index and middle fingers on the centre of your breastbone, at the acupressure point known as ‘Sea of Tranquility’. Now close your eyes and apply steady pressure, not too hard, for a minute or two. You will then soon feel tension, anxiety and stress start to slip away.

You could also use your first two fingers and tap them across the top of your head from temple to temple. Then work from front to back and side to side as this can get blood and oxygen moving to ease tension and restore focus.

To destress your shoulders make a gentle half-closed fist and with a loose wrist, tap your right hand gently but firmly up your left arm, along your shoulder and up the side and back of your neck. Repeat the same process on the other side to ease tension and release endorphins.

If any of these did work for you then please let us know.

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.

OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT : HOW FOOT CARE CAN HELP OTHER AREAS OF THE BODY…

Many of us will be on our feet each day, and yet they can be one part of our body that gets the least pampering and attention. We rely on our feet to get us from one place to the other, and to still look amazing in pretty little peep toe shoes. But, according to articles on reflexology, our health can have much to do with certain zones of our feet, which is why it may be worth spending some time and showing them a little love every now and again. Taking care of your feet to avoid any other health problems could help other parts of your body feel less strain. With that in mind, here are some of the things to consider.

ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF A FOOT SPA…

A foot spa is actually a very relaxing piece of equipment, and can not only help you relax but can be a tool to help you get your feet in better condition. The massage jets can stimulate circulation in your feet and also help to soften up hard skin on the soles of your feet. You don’t need to head to your local spa for this, although that can be a nice treat, but you can actually by home versions which are just as good. It means you can take advantage of it any time you like. 

BE AWARE OF HEALTH PROBLEMS WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR FEET…

As we are on our feet a lot, and take advantage of getting from one place to another, we can often not realise that you could have ongoing health problems with them. Pain in certain areas of the foot, pins and needles regularly, numbness or just aches. From things like Morton’s Neuroma to Plantar Facititas it is worth recognising when it is a normal ache and pain and when something is a little more serious. Pain in your feet can travel up your legs and spine, so it is definitely worth getting things treated before they end up worse than what they started as. Something I have suffered from in the past.

AVOID SITUATIONS WHERE YOU CAN GET INFECTIONS…

There is always a chance that you may get some sort of infection in your feet. One of the most common is athlete’s foot and this can be contracted by being around someone who is already infected, or simply having something damp on your feet like wet socks or shoes. It isn’t always pleasant, but it can be treated. There are some great tips and ideas online. 

TAKE SOME CARE WITH YOUR TOE NAILS…

While you need to take care of your feet you also need to consider the condition of your toe nails, they can also get infections if you are not careful. Not cleaning out toes nails or letting them grow imperfectly can cause huge damage in the long-term. This can lead on to toe nail fungus or ingrown toenails which left untreated can be extremely painful. Always ensure that you cut your nails down correctly and keep your nails in good condition. 

Let’s hope these tips help you to take better care of your feet.

BACK PAIN AWARENESS WEEK 7th-11th OCTOBER…

This year’s theme for BackCare Awareness is Golf.

Golf is a more dangerous sport than Rugby! ‘Low back injuries account for 15.2% to 34% of all golf injuries, followed by injuries to the elbow (7% to 27%), shoulder (4% to 19%) and wrist 10%’ – National Centre for Health Statistics
Golf is a repetitive strain sport – With an average of 300 swings per golf-playing-day, a golfer repeatedly experiences minor traumatic injuries to the spine
Back Pain In Golf – There is a distinct lack of awareness regarding the prevention of back related injuries among golfers which hinder their play and performance in the sport.

This year, BackCare focuses awareness week on back health among golfers whether they are junior/seasoned, men/women, amateur/professional and provide healthy tips to enjoy the sport.

BackCare was the brainchild of a local businessman, Stanley Grundy, who established the charity after suffering a back injury caused by a sailing accident. At the time, he was concerned about the lack of information and support for back pain sufferers at the time.
For nearly 50 years BackCare has been dedicated to educating the public throughout the UK and wider further afield in ways of preventing and alleviating back pain. The charity aims to significantly reduce the burden of back & neck pain by providing information, guidance and advice to all people and organisations those affected by such pain.