Juvenile arthritis strikes up to three in 1000 children in B.C. and is one of the most common chronic diseases among children. Cassie and Friends’ Kids on the Block, an educational puppet troupe, is spreading awareness about juvenile arthritis at elementary schools like the one Sarika Adriaanse attends in Vernon. The aim is to help children understand arthritis. With the aid of a $2,500 grant from Telus’ Community Board, the performance will visit several other interior school boards.
The Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative wanted to answer one simple question: What does pain look like? Not what it feels like, but what pain would look it if you had to express it on paper, or in this case, canvas.
In an interview with CBC News, John Sylliboy, community research co-ordinator with the Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing Initiative, said: “Aboriginal children feel and experience pain just like anyone else. It’s just that they express their pain very differently. They don’t necessarily verbalize their pain, or they don’t express it outwardly through crying or through pain grimaces. A lot of kids, they just suck it up. That’s what they say all the time. ‘We just suck it up.'”
The research study spawned in 2008 when Margot Latimer, a clinical scientist at the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, observed there was no First Nations youth being referred to their pain clinic at the IWK hospital.
Today’s weather: Cloudy with a Chance of Pain
In the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Flint Lockwood invented a machine to convert water into food and becomes a local hero in his economically unstable town when food fall from the sky like rain. Like Flint’s intention to solve the town’s crisis, British researchers are now hoping to solve the ancient theory that there is an association between pain and weather.
In 400 B.C., the Greek philosopher Hippocrates noted that changes in the weather can affect pain levels. Throughout history, popular culture adapted the belief and coined terms such as “feeling under the weather”. People claimed to be able to forecast storms and rain because they “can feel it in their bones”. In a study report titled “Pain complaint and the weather: weather sensitivity and symptom complaints in chronic pain patients“, author Shutty MS Jr. recalls a Journal of the American Medical Association publication in 1929 that said there was strong evidence that “warm weather is beneficial and barometric pressure changes are detrimental to patients with arthritis.” Continue reading
A recent study conducted to evaluate pain measures developed by the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) under the National Institutes of Health help captured the young patient’s perspective of living with chronic pain. The study addressed the different categories of pain experience and language used by children when they talk about chronic pain. In an interview with the Medical Xpress, researchers identified these as:
- Pain behaviour – The child initiates he or she becomes irritable or suffers a lack of appetite (or other behaviour) when in pain.
- Pain interference – The child describes slower movement, such as walking, or lack of energy due to pain interference.
- Pain quality – The child describes pain as sharp, cutting, dull or achy.
The research study was based on the results of individual and focus group interviews with 32 children and with parents of children with chronic pain, such as those affected by juvenile arthritis, sickle cell anemia, and cerebral palsy. Continue reading
A recent Canadian research published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders found that older adults with arthritis are less likely than young and middle-aged adults to report worse outcomes that include more pain, sleep disturbance, and impaired mental health. Regardless of age, the researchers stress the importance of timely diagnosis and treatment for all ages in order to prevent or minimize arthritis-related impairment.
The study examined and compared the physical and mental health effects of arthritis in older Canadian adults (75+ years) and younger adults (20-44, 45-64, and 65-74 years). Led by Siobhan O’Donnell, MSc, an epidemiology researcher at the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention in Ottawa, the study analyzed poll data on 4,565 respondents from the arthritis component of the 2009 Survey on Living with Chronic Diseases in Canada (a cross-sectional follow-up survey to the larger 2008 Canadian Community Health Survey). The survey looked at the following: Continue reading
Rheumatoid arthritis can increase the chances of depression; depression may worsen RA symptoms, leading to higher disease activity and disability, which in turn can lead to depression. Several studies have indicated that depression in those with rheumatoid arthritis is linked to greater joint pain and other symptoms of RA such as fatigue and sleep disturbances, decreased immune function, and a higher mortality rate. Untreated depression may cause you to be less likely to take care of yourself, less motivated to stick to a treatment plan, more likely to isolate yourself from friends and family and avoid activities you once enjoyed.
It is estimated that people living with RA are twice as likely to suffer from depression. Research shows that approximately 13 to 20 percent of the population currently living with RA are already depressed. A study published in the Rheumatology medical journal states that women living with RA are almost twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and commit suicide.
“Many people with suicidal thoughts brought on by chronic illness will not come out right and say what they are thinking,” said Thea Barrieau, a SeniorBridge Care Manager. If you are concerned that someone you know are having suicidal thoughts, look out for the following suicidal warning signs and seek help from a medical professional:
- Gathering friends and family “one last time” or “to say goodbye”.
- Verbal or physical signs that allude to an inability to “cope” with the chronic illness, giving up, or a lack of motivation to do everyday and new tasks.
- Skipping medication dosages or trying a new medication regimen.
It’s not your fault you are depressed