Living your best life with arthritis.

Survival tips for the holidays

Picture of an ornament hanging from a treeJoy and love are bountiful throughout the holidays. For people living with arthritis, so is physical and mental stress and pain. Here are some survival tips for the holidays:

  1. Make a list. A list will help keep you on budget and alleviate the stress of not knowing what to buy for presents or food.
  2. Shop online. Shopping online helps you avoid the crowds. It is convenient and you can do it day or night, in comfortable clothes, without the need to find parking.
  3. If you must shop at a mall, shop during non-peak hours (during the day or early morning). Continue reading

Concerned citizens speak out about Vancouver’s 10th Avenue Corridor Project

A picture of Vancouver's 10th AvenueNew bike lane could impact people living with arthritis and other disabilities

An online petition for people who are concerned about the City of Vancouver’s proposed 10th Avenue Corridor Project is open for signatures until December 12, 2016. The petition has been started by a group on behalf of clients, staff and patient advocates of the various medical centres along the Health Precinct area (from Cambie Street to Oak Street).

The group argues that there is an increased risk to the safety of patients and public coming into and leaving the Health Precinct area, including the Mary Pack Arthritis and Eye Care Centres. Easy and safe access for elderly, mentally, physically, sight and hearing challenged patients is critical to providing the kind and quality of care they need.

“Fundamentally, bike lanes are an important part of Vancouver’s desire to be a world class ‘green’ city, which we fully support,” says Cheryl Koehn, person with rheumatoid arthritis and Founder and President of Arthritis Consumer Experts. “But increasing congestion of both bikes and cars through several city blocks where patients are struggling to get from point A to point B is simply poorly thought out.”

To read more about the 10th Avenue Corridor Project, please click here.

Kids on the Block puppets talk juvenile arthritis in Vernon

A picture of puppets Leslie, a puppet with juvenile arthritis, and JenniferJuvenile 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.

Continue reading

Indigenous children expresses pain through art

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.

One of the paintings from the children

“My painting is about pain and the black represents how she feels inside. But she has like this white kind of atmosphere and it separates it from her pain.” – Artist, 16-year-old
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/aboriginal-youth-art-pain-hurt-healing-1.3852646?cmp=rss

Continue reading

ACR News: Exercise for Arthritis

Today at the ACR annual meeting, attendees at a symposium on the benefits of exercise heard presenters encourage arthritis patients to include physical activity into their treatment, something that was unheard of at a meeting like this 20 years ago.

A picture of people's legs walking on a cross walkDr. Vilet Vlieland, Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics, Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy at Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, said it’s important for an experienced therapist to implement tailor-made exercise programs for arthritis patients, consisting of routine and planned activities, monitored by regular assessments.
Continue reading

Survival tools for a cold and damp winter for people living with arthritis

Arthritis can affect people all year round; however, the winter and wet weather months can make it harder to manage arthritis symptoms. Climate change can increase pain to joints.

According to Robert Jamison, Professor at the Harvard Medical School and chief psychologist at the Pain Management Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Chestnut Hill, the increased pain is caused by a change in barometric pressure. Jamison explains the impact of barometric pressure on the body by comparing it to a balloon: “When a balloon is inflated, it has the maximum inside and outside pressure. High barometric pressure that pushes against the body from the outside keeps tissues from expanding. As the barometric pressure fails, tissues in the body may expand. As the tissues expand, they put more pressure on nerves that control pain signals.”

There are several ways to survive the cold. Firstly, take care of your own health by getting a flu vaccine. Health Canada states the following:

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine, also known as a flu shot. Flu vaccine is safe and effective. You cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. Most people do not have reactions to the flu vaccine. Severe reactions are rare.

Getting a flu vaccine is a simple action that can save lives by:

  • protecting you if you are exposed to the virus
  • preventing you from getting very sick
  • helping protect other people because you are less likely to spread the virus to others

Health Canada Flu Poster Continue reading