SEEING YOUR GP DURING COVID-19 & HELPING WITH RESEARCH…

Dr. Sarah Jarvis MBE, and Clinical Director at Patient recently wrote how we must NOT ignore any concerns about our own health or a loved ones health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Whatever you are worried about, be it a lump, pain or an ongoing health condition, you should seek help through your GP. GP surgeries across the UK are open via phone or video calls so check your GP’s surgery to see how they are making appointments.

You can also arrange a remote GP & Pharmacy appointment through Patient Access in many locations. The Patient also has details on how to get the most out of your GP appointment.

Also on Patient is a link to contribute to COVD-19 research by telling the NHS about your current experience of COVID-19. There is also the app which I previously wrote about and I check in on it daily.

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 LondonBBC NEWS, The Guardian, and The INDEPENDENT

Available from the App Store or Google Play.

A LOVELY INTERVIEW WITH NICHOLA ADAMS AND A NOD TO MY BLOGGING FRIENDS…

Health Ergonomist Nichola Adams, from Inspired Ergonomics very kindly asked me to share my Back Pain and blogging journey on her Blogs and Back Chat Video Series. They specialise in reducing and preventing Back Pain in the Workplace. I have copied you interview below and thank Nichola once again for this opportunity.

My 38-year journey with back pain

(… and how the ‘therapeutic’ writing of blogs, like this one, should be recommended by the NHS for chronic-pain management)

By Barbara McLullich, multi-award-winning UK back-pain blogger

Back in 1983, when I was in my late 20s, I ended up in hospital on traction for a disc bulge. I left hospital no better and with permanent nerve damage to one of my legs. Over the following five years I visited osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists who all tried their best to correct my significant trunk shift.

Eventually I was seen by a neurosurgeon who found I had Spina bifida occulta, disc herniation and canal stenosis and I was advised to have surgery sooner rather than later. The timing could not have been worse as I had just relocated from Cheshire, where all my family lived, to Nottingham for a job move for my husband.

My children were aged four and seven and the recovery was slow and at times extremely difficult, but somehow I got through it. Two years later I started to develop problems with neck pain and, after a myleogram showed serious cord compression and another prolapsed disc, I was rushed in for emergency surgery. I had a two-level fusion in my neck and the pain relief was instant and recovery very quick, but I was never completely without pain.

The following nine years were a haze of good and bad days seeing various people from complimentary therapies to pain consultants. I also ran a couple of my own businesses, but I had to close them both due to my health. I told myself that my businesses had not failed, but that it was my own health that had failed me. It was far from life-threatening, just life-changing.

By the late 90s I was prepared to try anything to help with my pain and I underwent two further spinal surgeries to my neck and lumber spine in a bid to get pain-free. Unfortunately this didn’t do the trick, so I made a conscious decision that I would never have any further surgery.

Pain relief from then on was initially injections until one went badly wrong and nearly killed me. It was quite a while after that incident before I could even put my foot through any hospital door, but eventually I went to see an amazing pain consultant who seemed to take me under his wing and cared for me, treating me with different types of injections, medications and therapies available to me on the NHS.

I kept many a diary over the years and it was reading through them one day that gave me the idea to start writing a blog on my back problem. I think initially it was an escape route where I could go and chat to other people with similar problems. I decided to learn all I could about pain management and I took a home study course and started blogging more regularly. My blog was growing from strength to strength and I started winning awards for it, which for someone who only left school with two GCSEs was quite an achievement.

I started to write a few other blogs and they became part of my everyday life. Being able to write anywhere and at any time fitted in with my pain perfectly. I have made so many friends from all over the world through my blogging. I’ve met people like myself in chronic pain, I’ve tried different products that have helped with pain relief and been introduced to many supportive individuals, like health ergonomist Nichola Adams, to whom I am grateful for this opportunity to share my story.

To me, blogging is like travelling the world without leaving your house. I think it should be included in the NHS list of how to cope with chronic pain. I have found writing my blogs very therapeutic. If anyone reading this would like to follow me, or join in any conversations on my posts, then please head over to my main site https://backpainbloguk.com or my personal website https://barbaramclullich.co.uk as this site also has all my other blog posts on it and they both have links to all my media sites.

Thank you and, whatever journey you are on, whether you’re managing your own back-pain issues or just learning how best to avoid the risk of back injury, at work or at home, I wish you well.

Barbara

SAY A BIG “THANK YOU” TODAY ON INTERNATIONAL #NURSE & MIDWIFE DAY…

There could not be a more fitting tribute to all the #Nurses in the world today on International #Nurse & Midwife Day. A big “Thank You” is what they have asked for and I am sure from the bottom of all our hearts we cannot “Thank You” enough especially during this COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Royal College of Nursing has put this message out for International Nurses and Midwife Day

“Today, we’re saying thank you to nursing staff everywhere for the remarkable contribution they make to the lives of millions of people.

International Nurses’ Day is celebrated around the world each year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year in particular it’s an extra special occasion because not only does it fall during International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, it also marks the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth.

Ordinarily this would be a time for mass celebration, but as nursing staff across the world stand united in responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we must use today to shine a light on the remarkable work all health and care staff are doing for the entire nation.

That’s why we’re asking the public and patients to say thank you to #nursing staff everywhere to show our members and their colleagues how their professionalism is truly appreciated.

You can read Florence Nightingale’s amazing story and legacy on The Royal College of Nursing Website.

They have asked us to share this video https://youtu.be/WJSiIhphvLwo to say thank you to nursing staff using #Nurses Day.

PROZAC, NORTRIPTYLINE & TRAMADOL – POPULAR DRUGS USED FOR CHRONIC PAIN…

One of my previous posts was about my new pain team suggesting that I came of all my pain relieving drugs except paracetamol as I have been on them for many years.

The idea was to see a couple of things (a) was my pain a lot worse without them? and (b) how did I feel mentally without the many side effects of the drugs listed above which I was taking.

My GP however suggested I go straight onto Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol which was a mixture of both Tramadol and Paracetamol but the dosage was much lower than my usual Tramadol.

I had a follow up phone call 6 weeks after the meeting with the pain team which was last week. The team also told me to take Turmeric and we’re convinced some of my symptoms were Vitamin D deficiency so also sent me for a blood test and bone scan to check for Osteoporosis.

The blood test showed I was extremely Vitamin D deficient so I was put onto a large dose of it and told to continue taking it but just a normal dose from the chemist after I had finished the strong course. My bone scan was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus.

So, for the last eight weeks I’ve taken Vitamin D, Turmeric and the Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol which I’ve not had before and tried to get myself off the rest of my medication except for the paracetamol.

I have managed to get myself completely off the pure Tramadol like my GP suggested and I am now only taking 50mg of the Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol which is a massive drop. I have reduced the Prozac to just three times a week but feel happy taking that small dose. I was unable to drop my NORTRIPTYLINE even by 10 mg as the pain in the night was just too severe and kept me awake. I still take up to 8 paracetamol a day for pain.

In conclusion the answer to question (a) my pain was much worse without my nortriptyline and (b) my head and mental state felt 80% more clearer and I hope to come off the 50mg of the Tramadol hydrochloride/Paracetamol soon. All in all I’m pleased the new pain team suggested this review on all my meds as you just take them without thinking when you are in constant pain and I feel so much better in myself without the side effects from the Tramadol.

FILLING YOUR TIME WITH SOMETHING THAT PUTS A SMILE ON YOUR FACE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC…

It’s essential that we all keep as active in mind and body during this also essential lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are not just the elderly and vulnerable that are mainly staying at home there are millions of chronic pain sufferers who spend most of their time at home anyway due to their circumstances. There is also lots and lots on the internet of things you can do at home to keep you busy but an awful lot of them require physical actions which again can be difficult for the people I have mentioned above.

However, I have a few suggestions of my own but they do involve using a laptop, iPad or computer. This does not mean you cannot process this as I am sure you will know someone who does have access to the internet. Hopefully, if a carer sees this post and is looking after an elderly person without access to the internet then they could help them with their phone.

It is something I am doing myself at the moment, I am making albums and or books from old photographs. I am absolutely sure that even the younger generation has lots and lots of photos but the older generation will definitely have that old suitcase somewhere collecting dust somewhere in the house. Now for goodness sake do not go and try and get it out of that closet or loft yourself as you might fall, wait until someone can come and get it for you

There are a number of ways you could enjoy putting your life/holidays etc together to remember after this ordeal is over.

Should you be someone without a mobile phone then hopefully you may know someone who has one or a good camera. Take your time going through your photos and cover your table with them. Only look through them in a comfortable position. I say that as I did the opposite and it really stirred my low back pain up. If you have lots with no dates on then just try to roughly guess the year and put all your piles in yearly order. Now check to see if there are any already on your laptop or phone and again go through them all and put them in monthly and yearly order ready to use. Delete any you don’t like as there is no point in keeping them. I can’t tell you how amazing you will feel just by going through all your photos and it will stir up so many memories. Take your time with this as we have plenty of it at the moment and it’s your life you are looking through. The images below are the two I wrote for my children.

Now decide what kind of book/album you want to write. I will give you my ideas so it might stir some ideas up for you. This is not my first attempt at something like this as when my two children reached 30 I wrote them both a book on their life story up to the age of 30. They had over 250 photos in each book ( I will explain how to do these later). I then did a very special surprise book for my daughter from the day she got engaged until the day she got married. Mum’s and daughters have such a special time together during the pre-wedding time that I wanted to have something for us both to remember. The front and back of the book is below with the date of wedding. Tears were aplenty when I handed it to her the night before the wedding.

https://backpainbloguk.com

If you are someone who does not have access to a laptop or computer for this you could still take pictures of the ones you want and then pop them in an envelope and write on the envelope what you want putting with those photos for someone who has a computer to download them and do it for you.

The new books I am now preparing are my Dads story who we lost in 2018. I started asking him more questions about the war days the older he got as their memories seem to change to remembering the older times rather than the new ones and then I promised my children that I would get all his photos and put a book together of their Grandads life.

The second book I am doing is for my new granddaughter who is 9 months old and I was just getting to know her well when all our worlds were turned upside down. I am making her my own nursery rhymes book using some old ones my Dad made for us, but with her name, in, and some old ones revamped and some I am making up myself. I am even going to have a go at sketching some fun pictures to put into it.

I actually recorded myself singing two nursery rhymes last week which my daughter keeps playing to her. She used to love me singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ to her bouncing her up and down so I just thought it would be lovely for my daughter to play to her.

Creating these books is getting me up in the morning with enthusiasm and thoughts on what I will do each day. I think of nursery rhymes in my sleep, I remember different holidays and antics with my Dad for the book. They both equally put a smile on my face. It initially started when I decided I needed to update my Complimentary Therapy Book but then I just thought my family come way above sorting that book out.

I have written my books through Blurb, Snapfish and Amazon and I will write another post on how easy it is to do this. I hope this post has inspired some people who are unable to get far during this tricky period we are all going through and I am happy to answer any questions about getting this process sorted. One of my posts this week will include all you need to know about putting your books together with links to all the websites you may need. The book below was my late mother-in-laws life story which she had written before she died and which I promised I would write and publish. This was the first copy I had published for all the family with a picture of my mother-in-law walking with a patient. When they told me to put it on Amazon for anyone to buy I had a different more commercial image made for it.