According to Arthritis Ireland almost 1 million people in Ireland are affected from it so it really is a big problem for us. Damaged joints, stiffness, severe pain, inflammation and deformity of joints are the most recognisable symptoms but there are plenty more.
LIVING WITH ARTHRITIS
EAT YOURSELF PAIN FREE
Well for arthritis this is especially true and a hugely important factor to living pain free. Greens, greens and more greens. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, celery, broccoli, bok choy and swiss chard for example. We need lots of antioxidants to mop up free radicals. Leafy greens are also high in calcium with is great for bone preservation.
Oil to lubricate joints, I eat an avocado a day. I try to eat oily fish too but I really am trying to be vegetarian/ vegan as much as is possible. Personally I stay away from farmed fish as much as possible, like battery chickens they don't have much goodness or taste. There are of course fish oils, glucosamine chondroitin and other joint health care supplements out there. Talk to your doctor or health food store for best advice.
Winter warming herbs and spices are essential and that's why they are in season for Autumn and Winter. Ever wondered why at Christmas time everything has cinnamon on it? Well mother nature knew we needed it. Try ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, cloves and garlic. I can't remember exactly where I got all this information to reference it for you, it's just an accumulation of knowledge from years of being in pain.
Google "BEST FOODS FOR ARTHRITIS" there is tonnes of information out there.
Needless to say there are also plenty of things to avoid, sugar being enemy number one along with processed foods and alcohol. Google "FOODS TO AVOID FOR ARTHRITIS."
There are also great chefs and nutritionists with oodles of knowledge and great recipes which you can follow via social media.
COPING WITH BAD DAYS
They will say things like: "the damp is in my bones."
"I can feel the bad weather in my bones"
Rheumatoid arthritis have often complained to me that the swelling is worse and the pain is unbearable in bad weather.
So preparing for Autumn and Winter is essential for us. Ensure you have hot water bottles to hand. They are great for heating up stiff joints while relaxing in the evening when movement for the day is over. I have my microwave teddy buddies who smell of lavender too!
You can apply hot patches before you go outdoors too. Hot creams such as tiger balm, deep heat etc are really convenient too. They do have a strong smell however and remember to wash your hands.
Warm clothes, hot shower, electric blankets, hot bath, saunas and jacuzzis can all help. Find what works for you. It's about keeping the area warm and mobile. If your sitting down for hours make sure you get up and move about. Turn on some music and have a dance.
GO AWAY! Ever wonder why I go away to the heat in December? Well firstly it's a great time for me to be away work wise but more importantly, I need the sun and heat. Winter in Ireland is just too long. It is too damp and dark for me. I am definitely a hot house flower! I appreciate that I am very privileged to be able to jet off to the winter sun. I hope you can too.
RESEARCH: There is so much help out there both online and via arthritis organisations. (Arthritis Ireland) Beware of diagnosing yourself with something much worse over the internet! Read all the helpful stuff, prevention, what works, exercises, stories from other sufferers. Leave out all the negative stuff. Stay positive and know there are people much worse off than you so be grateful for what you have.
I NEED A CHECK UP!
LOVE YOUR CREAKY BODY
Your body is the only one you have and that's the way it is. You have to accept all of it. You are more than just an arthritic. Nurturing and taking care of your most prized possession are essential to your total well being, physical and mental health.
"Listen to your body."
Whether you need a massage, help with specific movements or an exercise plan I am hear to help you.
About the Author:
Sinéad Kennedy is a Physical Therapist, Yoga Siromani and Pilates Instructor. She has recently qualified as a Personal Development Coach. Based in both Rathfarnham and Dundrum, South County Dublin. She treats and teaches people from all walks of life, including many athletes, especially cyclists, runners and golfers. Recently featured in the Irish Independent, FIT Magazine, her Yoga 4 Cyclists class has gained notoriety.
A keen cyclist and proud member of Orwell Wheelers she has completed numerous cycling events including Les Cingles du Mont Ventoux & La Marmotte Sportive. She is an accomplished audax-er having done numerous 200km and 300km routes. Sinéad has also completed three Dublin City Marathons, numerous Adventure Races and Half Marathons.