I came across a wonderful article by arthritis journalist Carol Eustice in which she wrote of arthritis sufferers finding words of inspiration to help them meet the challenge of living a “normal” life.

Eustice explains that people with arthritis are challenged to stay motivated while dealing with chronic pain, fatigue, physical limitations, functional limitation,  and all of the other consequences of chronic disease.

“Each of us must find our own personal motivation- something or someone that inspires us to fight for a better quality of life,” says Eustice.

“But, on those days when we feel the burden of pain intensely,” Eustice continues, “sometimes just a few words – the right words –  are enough to jump start our spirit, rekindle our positivity, or simply allow us to realize that we are not alone.”

Below are five quotes that Eustice compiled, in hopes that one or more will resonate with you

  1. Permanence, perseverance and persistence – in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities – It is these that distinguish the strong soul from the weak.  Thomas Carlyle
  2. Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.  Helen Keller
  3. Strength does not come from physical capacity.  It comes from  an indomitable will.  Mahatma Gandhi
  4. Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.  Winston Churchill
  5. It does not matter how slow you go.  What matters is that you do not stop.  Confucius


Source: Carol Eustice – Very Well

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Posted by: ugleepen | August 9, 2016

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Ergonomics

smartfish_engage_ergonomic_keyboard_newsCarpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS, is a painful condition of the hand and fingers caused by compression of a major nerve where it passes over the carpal bones through a passage at the front of the wrist.

The  most common cause of CTS is repetitive use/overuse of the fingers, hands, wrists and upper extremities.

CTS can be prevented, especially by utilizing proper ergonomics in the workplace.

Most people who work at a desk utilize a computer with its associated monitor and keyboard. The proper placement, height, type and design of each these is very important.

There are specialized types of “split” keyboards that can help prevent poor mechanics, such as the wrists being too flexed. Typing in a “wrist-neutral position” means working with the wrist “straight” and not too “bent up or down.”

Similarly, there is such a thing as an “ergonomically correct” computer mouse, which is, again, designed to put your hand in a more neutral position.

Other things you can do to help lessen the risk of CTS include:

  • Frequent breaks.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises for the hand, fingers, and arms.
  • Yoga and flexibility exercises.
  • Relaxing your grip on the mouse, and lightening your touch on the keyboard.

If you work for yourself, try to get ergonomically correct equipment, and utilize the suggestions above.

If you are employed, ask your employer if they could consider hiring an ergonomic specialist. Prevention of workplace injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome is less costly in the long run.


Source: Dr. Marc P. Pietropaoli 

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Posted by: ugleepen | July 22, 2016

Business Owners – Ergonomics Can Save You Money

BusinessOwner1_dt_18259345Are you a business owner concerned about the high cost to your company of lost work days, high employee turnover, and the ever increasing cost of health care benefits?

Fully one-third of all workplace injuries and illnesses are preventable with proper workplace ergonomics.

Ergonomics is defined as; “designing the job, equipment and tools to fit the worker, and fitting the worker to the job.”

Etgonomics expert Dr. Ken Kaufman states that the vast majority of ergonomic related injuries are completely preventable, saving your company significant money and lost work time

The most common work related ergonomic injuries such as, carpal tunnel syndrome, back injuries and tendinitis are injuries of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and/or spinal discs.

“Fortunately, many of these cases can be prevented with the proper strategy and for a relatively small investment,” says Kaufman. Creating a prevention-conscious culture will go a long way in building strong participation in your injury prevention program.

The idea behind ergonomics is to simply reduce the stressors that contribute to the musculoskeletal and repetitive use injuries.

Most people recognize that setting up a workstation ergonomically is important in addition to proper lifting techniques.

However, its common to still see secretaries habitually holding the phone against their ear with their shoulder creating neck problems, or assembly workers performing the same movements over and over creating imbalanced muscle patterns that set the stage for injury.

In order to prevent this scenario, it is necessary to create a strategy that encourages and supports employees to look for ways to diminish the stressors in their home and work environment

For example: implementing a policy where individuals that perform phone work must utilize a headset, computer users have wrist supports, and cross-training assembly workers to rotate to different stations if possible to reduce the day-to-day repetitive motions they are exposed to.

For business leaders that are concerned about the high costs of health care and the recent health care reform legislation, the time is now to develop a comprehensive prevention strategy for the ergonomic injuries that are draining the profitability out of your business.

Source: Dr. Ken Kaufman

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Posted by: ugleepen | July 8, 2016

Fulbright Award for Studying Arthritis in Sweden

IversonNortheastern University in Boston has announced that Maura Iversen, pro­fessor and chair of the Depart­ment of Phys­ical Therapy, Move­ment and Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Sci­ences, has received a Ful­bright award to work in Sweden during the 2016–17 aca­d­emic year.

She will launch a study to assess the phys­ical activity levels of chil­dren with juve­nile idio­pathic arthritis—the most common form of arthritis in chil­dren under 17.

Her study will include a cohort of Swedish chil­dren, assessing the level of mod­erate phys­ical activity they engaged in over the course of a week.

Iverson has created four different ques­tion­naires, being translated from English to Swedish, to learn about the impact of arthritis on func­tion, including phys­ical activity pat­terns.

“Juve­nile idio­pathic arthritis is the most chronic ill­ness in chil­dren, more so than dia­betes, and we know that phys­ical activity is an impor­tant com­po­nent of reg­u­lating the immune response and man­aging the dis­ease,” Iversen said.

Iversen will spend three months in spring 2017 at the Karolinska Insti­tute in Stock­holm for her Ful­bright, and she’ll be sur­veying chil­dren at Astrid Lindgren’s Children’s Hos­pital, which is affil­i­ated with the institute.

Why Sweden?

Sweden has estab­lished a system of national reg­istries that col­lect health­care data, allowing Iversen to poten­tially survey thou­sands of chil­dren with juve­nile idio­pathic arthritis.

Her hope is to be able to merge the ques­tion­naires into this reg­istry, thereby helping doc­tors in Sweden better track and assess children’s phys­ical activity over the long term.

“The goal is to ascer­tain how much phys­ical activity chil­dren are engaging in and to deter­mine if they are meeting, or exceeding, their tar­gets, and finally to assess the impact that has on the pro­gres­sion of the dis­ease and children’s health outcomes,” Iverson explained.



Source: Northeastern University

Posted by: ugleepen | June 24, 2016

Ever Heard of Infectious Arthritis?

joint painInfectious arthritis, also known as septic arthritis, occurs when the fluid and tissues surrounding a joint become infected. It can cause pain, swelling, and fever.

Infectious arthritis can spread through the bloodstream or from an infected joint because of bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

Acute infectious arthritis can damage cartilage in the joint within hours or days.

Symptoms of acute infectious arthritis include swelling and stiffening when fluid collects in the infected joint.

The joint becomes painful, especially when moving or touching something. Reddening and a warm feeling may occur in the joint. Fever and chills are known to occur.

Chronic infectious arthritis occurs in the knee, hip, elbow, wrist, shoulder, and fingers from bacterial, fungal and mycobacterial infection. Usually only one joint is affected, but it can sometimes be several.

Gradual swelling, mild warmth, and an aching pain may accompany chronic infectious arthritis. Some redness may occur.


Infectious arthritis can develop from certain health conditions such as a weakened immune system, or engaging in risky behaviors like intravenous drug use.

If you have diabetes or HIV-related diseases you have a weakened immune system. Consult your doctor early to see if antibiotics are necessary, and examine your joints for signs of infection on a regular basis.

Rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk of developing infectious arthritis because of joint damage and steroid injections sometimes used for treatment.

People who have undergone joint replacement are advised to tell doctors and dentists about the replacement before medical procedures. Antibiotics may be prescribed before the procedures.

Sexually transmitted diseases can cause infectious arthritis, so practicing safe sex helps to prevent the disorder.

What to Do

A healthy diet boosts the immune system to lower the risks of infectious arthritis.

If you notice pain or swelling of joints or other arthritic symptoms you should contact your physician immediately to avoid the effects of possible infectious arthritis.




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Posted by: ugleepen | June 10, 2016

Ergonomic Solutions to Chronic Pain in the Workplace

deskHuffington Post journalist Larry Alton began an article about workplace ergonomics by saying:

“Among employees who spend hours each day in cubicles and offices, pecking away at keyboards, slouching in cheap desk chairs, and squinting at bright screens, chronic pain is incredibly prevalent. “

The good news is that once you have identified some of the ergonomic problems with your “cubicle” job, you can also identify some of the ergonomic solutions.

Did you know that chronic pain in the workplace costs businesses between $297.4 billion and $333.5 billion in lost productivity?  Not to mention the suffering of you, the employee.

Causes of Chronic Pain in the Workplace

The most commonly reported issues — headaches, back and neck pain, and arthritis — can be directly related to one or more of the following basic problems, says Alton.

Poor Posture

Likely the number one cause of chronic pain in the workplace, poor posture leads to back and neck issues, headaches, and other musculoskeletal problems. In fact, learning how to correct bad desk posture can alleviate existing pain almost immediately.

 Repetitive Motion

When looking at the common causes of wrist pain, muscle strains, or chronic joint issues, long-term, repetitive motion is almost always one of the culprits. According to The Hand and Wrist Institute, “Carpal tunnel syndrome is most often seen in people whose occupations require … the constant use of computer keyboards and the computer mouse. “

Visual Straining

For people with already-poor eyesight, straining to see a computer screen only exacerbates existing symptoms and can lead to chronic headaches and tension.

Tips for Eliminating and Reducing Pain

Alton offers the following tips on how to put ergonomics to good use in your workplace, to eliminate  pain and reclaim your productivity:

 Standing Desk

Standing desks have come a long way and are no longer considered taboo or strange. In fact, you’d be surprised to learn how many of your peers are already using them. Depending on the model you choose, most standing desks are actually devices you place on top of an existing desk. You can then raise or lower them to your desired height — allowing you to sit, stand, or alternate between the two.

Related to the dangers of sitting for long periods of time, a standing desk may help people fight cardiovascular disease, obesity, and pain related to poor posture.

Ergonomic Keyboard

An investment in an ergonomic keyboard may help by allowing you to keep your chest open, with shoulders drawn back, and the wrists in a more neutral position.

 Regular Exercise

Even if it means coming into work earlier or leaving a little later, it’s worth taking 30 minutes to break up your sedentary routine during the day. A little bit of cardio can increase circulation, loosen stiff joints, and release powerful pain-killing endorphins.

Be Proactive — Not Reactive

The idea is to be proactive when it comes to workplace pain, rather than reactive. By implementing these tips now — whether or not you’re already experiencing symptoms or issues — you can ensure you’ll be happier, healthier, and exponentially more productive for years to come.


Source: Larry Alton, Huffington Post

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Posted by: ugleepen | May 23, 2016

National AgrAbility Project and Arthritis

5682cc7f98e65.imageThe Arthritis Foundation’s National AgrAbility Project works to enable a lifestyle of high quality for farmers and ranchers with disabilities such as arthritis.

Arthritis is the most common disability in America, with one in five Americans having doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

It is even more prevalent in agriculture, with one-third of farmers and ranchers suffering the symptoms of arthritis.

AgrAbility is known for its efforts to enhance the quality of life for farmers with arthritis.

The AgrAbility program helps connect people with assistive devices so they can perform the tasks they need on the farm.

Farmers also come up with their own contraptions that sometimes work well. For example, adapted garden tools with PVC pipes to make longer handles or a wheelbarrow with a straight handle instead of one that requires you to turn your palms up.

Second and third generations of farmers with arthritis can prevent the disease from being as disruptive to them. There are resources available through the National Arthritis Foundation, and 4-H and FFA are bringing awareness of arthritis to a younger crowd.

Those with arthritis can improve and manage their symptoms by being active, eating well and getting enough sleep.

Reducing coffee intake, increasing stretching and exercise and learning simple habits such as leading with their good knee when going up the stairs, also help.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important. Being just 10 pounds over your ideal weight puts more pressure on your weight-bearing joints and is like carrying a 40 pound feed bag.

Stress also aggravates arthritis.

The Project encourages farmers, who often are reluctant to see a doctor, to make an appointment, and if they are diagnosed with arthritis to take the proper actions to maintain a good quality of life.

With the help of the Arthritis Foundation and the AbrAbility Project, farmers and ranchers can continue doing the work they love for years to come.

Source: Phyllis Coulter,  Iowa Farmer Today

Posted by: ugleepen | May 7, 2016

6 Diet Tips for Arthritis Relief – Part 2

Woman checking food labelling

As research in managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA) continues, more and more focus is being put on nutrition.

The key may be anti-inflammatory foods.  Inflammation is common in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and may also play a role in osteoarthritis (OA).

Adopting one or all of the following six diet strategies, recommended by Dr. Rebecca Manno,  a Johns-Hopkins rheumatologist with nutrition expertise, may help.

In Part 1 we looked at (1) Eat Heart-Healthy Foods, (2) Adopt a Mediterranean Mindset, and (3) Consider Fish Oil.

Now in Part 2 we have three more tips from Dr. Manno to consider:

 (4) If a Food Affects Your Symptoms, Avoid It

Many people with arthritis have found that certain foods trigger symptoms.

Patients say they feel better if they avoid artificial sweeteners and preservatives, for instance.

Some people report that they feel better if they avoid gluten, opt for a vegan diet,  or use certain spices for arthritis relief.

Dr. Manno assures her patients that this is not “just in their head,” and that a bit of trial and error can help you find what works for you.

(5) Skip Refined Sugars

Research shows that the more refined sugar you eat (think sweets and junk food) the more inflammation you might have.

Cutting back on sugar has made a difference in symptoms for Abigail Auer, 42, of Atlanta, who was diagnosed with RA in 2013.

Instead of cookies or cake indulge in dark chocolate. Auer used to prefer milk chocolate but learned to like dark chocolate, which has antioxidants that may reduce inflammation. An ounce of dark chocolate a day should suffice for this effect, experts suggest.

Cutting back on sugar has also helped Chantelle Marcial, 36, of Boston, with her RA. “I know sugar is a trigger for a flare [for me],” she says. Although most of us crave sweets, she says, eating less of them is worth it.

Marcial didn’t realize how much sugar she was eating until she began to read food labels more carefully.

(6) Keep Diet in Perspective

“You read so much about diet for RA,” says Dr. Manno.

“Just don’t let diet become another hardship in your life. Focus on fresh, healthier foods and less sugar, and don’t feel pressured to follow a diet to the letter.”

You’ll probably have to stick to the diet for a few weeks before you see results.

And, as always, before you try any diet, be sure to talk to your doctor.


Source: Kathleen Doheny

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Posted by: ugleepen | April 24, 2016

6 Diet Tips for Arthritis Relief – Part 1

6-Diet-Tricks-From-People-Living-With-Arthritis-722x406For decades researchers have explored the link between diet and arthritis, learning how some nutrients trigger symptoms and how others may calm them.

The key may be anti-inflammatory foods.  Inflammation is common in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and may also play a role in osteoarthritis (OA), the “wear-and-tear “arthritis associated with aging.

Adopting one or all of the following six diet strategies, recommended by Dr. Rebecca Manno,  a Johns-Hopkins rheumatologist with nutrition expertise, may help, too.

As always, check with your own physician before starting any regime.

(1) Eat Heart-Healthy Foods

If you have arthritis, you may only be thinking about how your diet might ease pain and inflammation.

That’s understandable, but you should also be thinking about your heart, because people with RA are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

As Dr. Manno tells her RA patients, “It applies 20-fold to you.” What’s good for your heart, as it turns out, may also be helpful in relieving your arthritis symptoms.

 Looking to make some quick and easy swaps for a heart-healthy diet?  Trade chips for nuts such as walnuts, spread avocado on your sandwich instead of mayonnaise, select spices instead of salt when seasoning foods, and choose beans over fatty cuts of meat.

 (2)  Adopt a Mediterranean Mindset

Eating a Mediterranean style diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, and a little red meat may is a good way to maintain an anti-inflammatory eating plan.

When experts compared a group of people with RA who followed this diet to those who did not, the people on the Mediterranean plan reported less need for anti-inflammatory drugs as well as an increase in physical functioning. i

Cristina Montoya, 33, who has RA and is a member of the Creakyjoints online community, is a strong proponent of the Mediterranean diet. The resident of the Canadian province of Ontario said that eating less red meat in particular has lessened her fatigue and inflammation.

Only once or twice a month do I have red meat,” Montoya says. And cutting back was easier than she thought it would be. “I really don’t miss it,” she adds.

Dr. Manno says that it’s relatively painless to make some  Mediterranean diet swaps.  Try trading butter for olive oil, switch salmon for beef, and pick whole wheat breads over white versions

(3) Consider Fish Oil

Several studies have shown that fish oil’s omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in reducing RA inflammation in blood work.

Patience in important, however, as the studies also show that physical benefits aren’t seen until after at least 12 weeks of continuous use.

Rather than using  fish oil in supplement form, Dr. Manno suggests that you increase your intake of fish oil omega 3 with fatty fish such as salmon, herring, and mackerel.

Source: Kathleen Doheny


Posted by: ugleepen | April 8, 2016

The Wall Street Journal Supports Handwriting

laptopsIn a recent article “Can Handwriting Make You Smarter?” the Wall Street Journal makes its case for the benefits of handwriting versus typing.

The Wall Street Journal discussed several studies that show students who took handwritten notes outperformed those who typed their notes on their computers.

When a student takes notes on a laptop, the notes are taken by rote, almost word by word.

Students take more notes more quickly at the computer, but don’t put as much thinking into them as when writing by hand.

Compared with those who type their notes, people who write them out in longhand appear to learn better, retain information longer, and more readily grasp new ideas, according to experiments by researchers who compared note-taking techniques.

The brain is actually stimulated and engaged to a higher degree, the studies show, during the process of handwriting more so than typing.

Some people feel that proponents of handwriting are simply those who have used pen and paper most of their lives and thus are more comfortable with handwriting.

However, more and more scientific research is showing that the brain is actually excited in more compelling ways during handwriting, resulting in better long-term memory retention

Any  advantage of typing notes quickly are temporary.

After just 24 hours, the computer note takers typically forgot material they’d transcribed, several studies said.  These copious notes were also no help in refreshing their memory because they were so superficial.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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