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WHAT IS PSOROATIC SPONDYLITIS OF THE SPINE…

Psoriatic spondylitis is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. While there are other types of spondylitis, psoriatic versions are related to both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

If you have an autoimmune disease such as psoriasis, and are experiencing frequent lower back or neck pain, talk with your doctor about possible tests for spondylitis.

Spondylitis (also called spondyloarthritis) refers to a group of inflammatory conditions that affect the spine. The most common type is ankylosing spondylitis, but there are other forms that have links to other inflammatory diseases, such as psoriasis.

According to the Spondylitis Association of America, 20 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) will develop psoriatic spondylitis. This means that you have PsA with spinal involvement.

If you currently have psoriasis or PsA, and are experiencing chronic back pain, see your doctor for a diagnosis. Detecting this spinal disease early can reduce the risk of potentially debilitating complications.

Symptoms of Psoriatic Spondylitis are –

Psoriatic spondylitis causes symptoms that are similar to other forms of arthritis that affect the spine and the sacroiliac joints in the pelvis, such as ankylosing spondylitis and reactive arthritis.

Symptoms of psoriatic spondylitis include:

  • back pain
  • stiffness in the back or neck that improves when moving around
  • stiffness made worse by periods of staying still, such as sleep
  • trouble bending or moving the back
  • fatigue

These symptoms can cause extreme pain and some people experience difficulty in their daily lives. Left untreated, the inflammation can cause long-term damage to the spine and joints.

Medical treatments aim to keep inflammation under control and prevent long-term joint problems and damage. Medication can also reduce a person’s risk of heart disease that can occur due to inflammation.

The symptoms of psoriatic spondylitis may seem to come and go. When symptoms get worse, this is known as a flare. The location of pain and swelling may also change over time.

Doctors are still unsure why some people develop psoriatic disease, but others do not.

Certain infections, such as strep throat, may trigger the overactive immune response that causes psoriatic spondylitis. However, psoriatic spondylitis is not contagious.

The condition tends to run in families.

Diagnosing Psoriatic Spondylitis :

At present there are no definitive guidelines for diagnosing psoriatic arthritis; a doctor will make a diagnosis based on symptoms and medical history, and by ruling out other conditions. Usually, a blood test will be carried out to test for rheumatoid factor (the antibody found in rheumatoid arthritis). This is usually negative in people with psoriatic arthritis, although a positive result can be due to causes other than rheumatoid arthritis. A doctor may also use X Rays, ultrasounds or other scans, such as an MRI to look at the patient’s joints. These scans often show inflammation or areas of new bone growth with poorly-defined edges in people with psoriatic arthritis.

Traditionally, the Moll and Wright (1973) criteria have been used to diagnose psoriatic arthritis. The criteria are: an inflammatory arthritis, the presence of psoriasis, and a blood test negative for rheumatoid factor. Although this criteria set is still used, it does have limitations, for example, psoriatic arthritis can occur without there being current psoriasis on the skin.

Source: Healthline , Medical News Today and Psoriasis Association UK

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CALMING SCENTS FOR YOUR GARDEN AND WELL BEING…

For hundreds of years, people have believed that scents have the power to boost your mood, health, and well being. Now, a scientific study has proved that this is the case.

Parts of our brain that process smell, memory, and emotions are closely related, and scents can affect our brainwaves in powerful and measurable ways according to a recent article.

Lavender for example helps with a cognitive performance for our mood and sleep and also as a muscle relaxant and migraine reliever. This happens due to the lavender’s pleasant smell leading to a positive emotional response. Evidence also suggests that physiological effects, including the scent interacting with brain receptors and neurotransmitters to promote relaxation.

Country Living wrote “Aromachology is the study of the influence of odours on human behaviour,” he told Mail Online. “Using memory association we can pair certain smells to different emotions.

“For example, if you have felt most relaxed whilst on holiday, the smells you have experienced at that very moment can be replicated at home and help trigger a similar sense of calm.”

Their top six scents to choose are Sea Breeze, This fragrance is linked to holiday time and relaxation. Because of this association it is great for soothing an overactive and worried mind.

Ylang, Ylang, Perfect for soothing an argument, ylang ylang is known for its relaxing properties. “The pure essential oil of these blossoms has been found to aid issues of palpitations, anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure.

Lavender, which I have already written about and is a very popular choice.

Lemon, Citrus scents work wonders at calming work stress. Lemon and other citrus fragrances improve concentration and have calming properties.

Grassy Notes, A lot of people love the smell of freshly cut grass as it reminds them of happy, summer days. This is why scents with grassy notes can have a positive impact on your mental state. A hectic shopping trip can be helped with this specific smell.

And finally, Rosemary, A stressful supermarket shop can be eased by rosemary. It can improve your memory and reduce feelings of mental and physical tiredness due to its stimulating properties.

When designing your own therapeutic garden, think about whether you want an area for relaxation, which might include planting some of the above or marjoram, or damask rose or an area to increase your concentration so you could then add peppermint or a trellis of jasmine.

I have just planted a row of lavender just under my dining room window which is near my front door as I thought a smell coming into the house of lavender would be lovely as well as smelling it while dining. As usual, here are a number of books available on this but my favourite which I bought recently is the RHS Your Wellbeing Garden by Professor Alistair Griffiths and award-winning garden designer Matt Keightley.

Learn how connecting with nature can reduce stress and improve wellbeing. You don’t even need a garden – even a balcony or houseplants can help to boost your mood. Every recommendation is backed by scientific research, drawn together by the team of RHS scientists and experts. Favourite garden designer at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show Matt Keightley then suggests how to translate the science into ideas for your green space.

With this groundbreaking book, find out how, in sometimes very simple ways, you can create an outdoor space that nourishes your mind and body, and is good for our planet too.