Cynthia’s Story: Helping Women Who Live with Chronic Pain

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Cynthia Toussiant is a former ballerina and actress (FAME) who has suffered with chronic pain disorder for more than thirty years.

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The strong, graceful ballerina’s life changed when a minor ballet injury triggered chronic pain.

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The chronic pain left the strong and graceful ballerina mute and in a wheelchair for years.

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She visited countless physicians and was continually told it was all in her head.

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Her husband, John Garrett, who has been with her for 34 years helped her get to the bottom of it.

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Turns out, Cynthia had Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) for 32 years. She later developed Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

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I talk to Cynthia and John about it: https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUTGs2bEpLVldjZDhUQw

WHAT IS COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or a leg. Complex regional pain syndrome typically develops after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack, but the pain is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

The cause of complex regional pain syndrome isn’t clearly understood. Treatment for complex regional pain syndrome is most effective when started early. In such cases, improvement and even remission are possible.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Signs and symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome include:
•Continuous burning or throbbing pain, usually in your arm, leg, hand or foot
•Sensitivity to touch or cold
•Swelling of the painful area
•Changes in skin temperature — at times your skin may be sweaty; at other times it may be cold
•Changes in skin color, which can range from white and mottled to red or blue
•Changes in skin texture, which may become tender, thin or shiny in the affected area
•Changes in hair and nail growth
•Joint stiffness, swelling and damage
•Muscle spasms, weakness and loss (atrophy)
•Decreased ability to move the affected body part

Symptoms may change over time and vary from person to person. Most commonly, pain, swelling, redness, noticeable changes in temperature and hypersensitivity (particularly to cold and touch) occur first.

Over time, the affected limb can become cold and pale and undergo skin and nail changes as well as muscle spasms and tightening. Once these changes occur, the condition is often irreversible.

Complex regional pain syndrome occasionally may spread from its source to elsewhere in your body, such as the opposite limb. The pain may be worsened by emotional stress.

In some people, signs and symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome go away on their own. In others, signs and symptoms may persist for months to years. Treatment is likely to be most effective when started early in the course of the illness.

WHEN SHOULD SOMEONE SEE A DOCTOR?

If you experience constant, severe pain that affects a limb and makes touching or moving that limb seem intolerable, see your doctor to determine the cause. It’s important to treat complex regional pain syndrome early.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT THE MAYO CLINC AT: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/basics/definition/con-20022844


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Once Cynthia and John learned more about it, they rechanneled their efforts to help other women.

HELPING OTHER WOMEN

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Since 1997, she has been a leading advocate for women in pain. Cynthia gave testimony at two California Senate hearings. The first was dedicated to CRPS awareness. The second explored the chronic under treatment of and gender bias toward women in pain. Both of these efforts were the first of their kind in the nation.

Cynthia founded For Grace to raise awareness about CRPS and all women in pain.

In 2006, Toussaint ran for the California State Assembly to bring attention to her CRPS Education Bill that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed after she got it to his desk in its first year. Her current Step Therapy bill will reform an unethical prescription practice used by the health insurance industry to save money in a way that increases the suffering of California pain patients.

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Toussaint was the first CRPS sufferer to be featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and on the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio. She is a consultant for The Discovery Channel, ABC News, FOX News, the National Pain Report and PainPathways, the official magazine of the World Institute of Pain. Also, she is a guide and guest contributor for Maria Shriver’s Architects of Change website. Her many speaking engagements include the National Institutes of Health and Capitol Hill.

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She is the author of Battle for Grace: A Memoir of Pain, Redemption and Impossible Love. Also, Toussaint is experiencing her first-ever partial CRPS remission largely due to the narrative therapy of writing this book.

Toussaint continues to be a leading advocate for health care reform in California. She was instrumental in changing public opinion which sparked sweeping HMO reform legislation that was signed by Governor Gray Davis in 1999. Her focus has now shifted to creating a single-payer, universal health care plan in California that would provide a model for the rest of the country.

Cynthia’s husband, John serves as Director at For Grace and was instrumental in launching the organization in April 2002 along with his partner Cynthia Toussaint, who has suffered with CRPS (and later other over-lapping auto-immune conditions) for 32 years. Garrett has been partner and caregiver to Toussaint for 34 years. He has done extensive research about the gender disparity toward women in pain, compiling a comprehensive library on that issue along with specific chronic pain conditions.

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Garrett has assisted Toussaint in all aspects of media relations and advocacy regarding CRPS awareness and the pain gender divide. His work focuses on speech presentation, grant writing, research, media outreach and the development of branding strategies. Garrett has also advised California’s Department of Managed Health Care and other state agencies regarding pain management practices in the HMO industry.

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Commenting on her long-term partnership with Garrett, Toussaint says, “My story as a woman in pain is also a love story because John’s support has been total and unwavering. Without his loving presence in my life, I wouldn’t be here.”

Garrett made numerous writing contributions in Toussaint’s memoir, Battle for Grace: A Memoir of Pain, Redemption and Impossible Love. He candidly shares the virtues and challenges of the caregiving experience.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO FULL INTERVIEW with CYNTHIA & JOHN:

https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUTGs2bEpLVldjZDhUQw

PHOTO MONTAGE OF CYNTHIA & JOHN:
https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUeEVhbEpubVhSc01UQw

Elizabeth Taylor Quote on Living with Pain

Women with Chronic Pain, please visit:
WWW.FORGRACE.ORG

           

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“Baby, It’s Cold Outside…” by Maria Dorfner

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Imagine walking around all day with a handful of ice cubes in your hands and in your socks. 

THAT is what it feels like for children and adults with Raynaud’s.

It happens when they are exposed to extreme temperatures.  Sinatra singing, “Baby, it’s c-o-l-d outside…” takes on a whole new meaning for sufferers.

 
People with Raynaud’s suffer a lot more than the average bloke in cold temps.  Extremities like the nose, feet, hands and lips become extra, extra sensitive during this time.   Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP) can cause a series of changes in extreme hot or cold temperature, or even severe emotional events.   It’s actually painful because spasms of the blood vessels will cause not enough blood to get to local tissue in fingers and toes.   Some people aren’t even aware they have it.  Here’s a telltale sign.
 
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RED, WHITE AND BLUE
 
It’s a patriotic montage of colors.  First, the skin turns white because of the diminished blood supply, then blue because of prolonged lack of oxygen, then red when the blood vessels reopen.  This American flag three-phase color sequence is characteristic of RP.

Raynaud’s phenomenon affects adults and children in the same way. It most frequently affects women, especially in the second, third, or fourth decades of life. People can have Raynaud’s phenomenon alone or as a part of other rheumatic diseases.  When it occurs alone, it is referred to as “Raynaud’s disease” or primary Raynaud’s phenomenon. When it accompanies other diseases, it is called secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

The causes of primary and secondary RP are unknown.  That doesn’t help anyone suffering from it, so below are a few items that can help.  The best thing you can do is bundle up when it’s cold.  For people with Raynaud’s, even walking past the frozen food section in the grocery store can be a trigger for spasms.

Picture of Raynaud's phenomenon
 
 
 

Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition that affects blood flow to the extremities and causes pain, numbness and tingling. Extreme temperatures in Winter or Summer (shifts in any Season) or severe stress can trigger it. Some sufferers can’t walk past the frozen food section in a grocery store without it causing painful tingling or numbness or spasms.

Raynauds with Skin Lesions
Raynauds with Skin Lesions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s what happens.

A sudden chill may cause blood vessels to spasm, shutting off circulation and turning affected parts a ghostly shade of white or blue. Fingers, toes, hands, feet, lips and the tongue are most commonly afflicted, and they may become painfully cold, tingling or numb.

SYMPTOMS

Icy cold feet, hands, toes, fingers, less commonly nose and ears, sometimes with pain and numbness. Skin color changes of white/blue/red as peripheral blood flow is reduced by the spasmodic contraction of the muscles in the blood vessel walls (the digits are usually affected), tissues become starved of oxygen (cyanosis), and blood flow returns (rubor). Not all color changes may be present or in that order nor are color changes necessary to be diagnosed with Raynaud’s, but they may develop later.

Raynaud’s Phenomenon At A Glance

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon is characterized by a pale to blue to red sequence of color changes of the digits, most commonly after exposure to cold.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon occurs because of spasm of blood vessels.
  • The cause of Raynaud’s phenomenon is unknown, although abnormal nerve control of blood-vessel diameter and nerve sensitivity to cold are suspected of being involved.
  • Symptoms of Raynaud’s phenomenon depend on the severity, frequency, and duration of the blood-vessel spasm.
  • There is no blood test for diagnosing Raynaud’s phenomenon.

TREATMENT

  • Treatment of Raynaud’s phenomenon involves protection of the digits, medications, and avoiding emotional stresses, smoking, cold temperature, and tools that vibrate the hands.

Good News: A new gel is being studied which might promote local production of nitric oxide in involved digits. The local nitric oxide, it seems, may open the blood vessels and improve the impaired circulation.

 

Until then, instead of wishing it away, below are the Best Gadgets for Raynaud’s to help keep you warm:

 

  
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HOT HANDS! Traditional winter gloves don’t work with touchscreens, forcing smartphone users to freeze their fingers when they answer their phones, post to Facebook or send a text or tweet. But Agloves®, America’s best winter touchscreen gloves and the ultimate fusion of fashion and technology, work with all touchscreen devices and they can be worn indoors or out if you suffer from Raynaud’s. Cost $23.99. Available online at agloves.com and at selected retailers, including Best Buy and Verizon Wireless.

  • Heated Socks
  • G3 Gloveliners
  • WT2 Gloveliners
  • Heatdevil
  • Hotmitts
  • Heated Vest
  • G4 Fingerheaters
  • sports injury hot cold pain relief
  • Heated Socks

Warm mouse, warm hands, warm outlook

A company called ValueRays, sells heated keyboard wrist pads, mouse pads, and other computer peripherals, all emitting USB infrared heat. They specialize in heated computer gadgets. These products are used by regular folks, as well as suffers of Raynauds, arthritis, carpal tunnel, and a host of other ailments.

Here’s a website with all the products.

TheFatcat ChargeCarddistributed by Mango International is just-under 2-x4-inch device, billed as the lightest, slimmest portable charger available, allows you to charge your gadgets on the go, especially helpful if you can’t find a power source, don’t have time to sit there while charging, or are in a country or outdoor setting where power is unavailable.

The card weighs 2 ounces and is a quarter of an inch thick. It has a 2000 mAh lithium battery, twice the capacity of the typical cell phone battery, and comes outfitted with tips to fit a variety of popular cell phones, smartphones, iPods, GPS units, etc.

If you are usually working on the road, this is a product to consider purchasing. It’s sold online from $30 to $50. Of course you have to keep the charger charged, and you have to remember to bring it with you.

Wessel’s parents have the most amazing solution for cold feet of the literal kind — an electric “voetenwarmzak” — a “warm sack” for your feet.

Here’s a new Dutch modelonline, for $47.

Usb_glovesThese USB-heated gloves might be good for the blogger with Raynaud’s Syndrome.
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The heated slippers don’t match the gloves, but who cares if your tootsies are toasty.

FIR Raynaud’s Gloves, Hottest Product for Raynaud’s Symptom
The Far Infrared therapy Raynauds gloves have been proven in clinical trials to improve blood circulation and relieve pain associated with Raynaud’s disease, currently on sale at Far Infrared Clothing Market of firheals.com .
http://www.firheals.com/raynauds-gloves


Heatbands are a brand new product, designed specifically for Raynaud’s sufferers to help keep the hands warm. They can be worn all day around the wrists and unlike heated gloves or many types of hand warmer, they work by preventing heat loss from the wrists, the most vulnerable area directly effecting the hands. Heatbands are attractive (available in a choice of 4 colours), convenient and unobtrusive and can be worn with your normal clothing and are inexpensive at £12.95 for a months supply (pack of 60).

Heatbands can help to keep your hands warm during any activity including: walking, shopping, running, cycling, tennis, golf, fishing, mountain biking, gardening, horse-riding, working on the computer, etc etc. For more information visit http://www.heatbands.com

For the best doctors, tips around the web and latest news on Raynaud’s, please visit THE RAYNAUD’S ASSOCIATION at www.raynauds.org

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FAST FACTS ABOUT RAYNAUD’S: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Raynauds_Phenomenon/raynauds_ff.as

 

Hope this helps you or someone you love.  Stay toasty!!!  🙂

MD

 

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If you like the Sinatra print, visit www.Giftarium.com  Enter Gift Code____  for a Discount on Prints. (I’ll have the code later)

Rheumatoid Arthritis Aches & Pains

You don’t want to go wakeboarding or run a marathon anymore.  All you want to do is wake up and be able to walk from your bed to the rest room without feeling like you can’t move.

Yet, suddenly you wake up feeling crippled and sore all over. 

Even your fingers hurt.  You think it’s temporary, but the pain gets worse each morning.

 

It lingers throughout the day. You wonder if it’s arthritis or osteoporosis. 

If you ache all over, chances are it’s Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  Click on diagram to see where it hurts. 

 

EVERYWHERE!  Your feet, ankles, calves, knees, legs, back, neck, hands, arms, shoulders, wrists…all your joints hurts. 

The pain is equally distributed on both sides of your body. You start moving real s-l-o-w.

  

You tell yourself you are too young for this.  RA can hit when you’re 30 or any time later. It can affect men and women. 

But there are 2 1/2 times more women suffering from it.  It’s a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. It can also affect other organs.

 

Turns out, even a 5% weight gain could trigger it in someone who never had it. Inflammation.  Now, they’re saying with obesity on the rise –more & more people will get it. And they say the cause is unknown.  Hmm…

I’m thinking if even a slight weight gain triggers it, that’s a clue.  A certain type of food may be triggering it. 

Try the process of elimination to try to figure that out.   One more thing…I say look at the 4 E’s first whenever your health is off-balance.

 1) Emotions 2) Environment 3) Eating 4) Exercise

 

EMOTIONS:  YOU SOUND LIKE A BROKEN RECORD –  My Dad loves to say that when my Mom nags him about something.  Similarly, when you feel physical pain it can mean negativity repeating itself in your mind.

Eckhart Tolle, the author of “The Power of Now” says anger affects your physical health when you repeatedly think about something that happened in the past or you worry about the future.  

He says those thoughts cause negative emotions, which cause physical pain.  It’s the reason depression hurts or bullying.  Negative words hurt. Literally.  Negative thoughts hurt. Literally. 

Tolle says anger is contagious. No one should be walking around angry. 

 

 

Take the time to release it.  You benefit.  Everyone around you benefits.

Think of a record. If it has scratches, it skips.  If it skips, you don’t keep listening to it.  If you did, it would severely damage the record (physical pain).   The record is your mind.  Change it. 

Meditate on the present moment.  Empty your mind of all thoughts.  It’s hard to do.  Keep trying.  Go to a quiet place.  Close your eyes.  Visualize releasing mental, emotional and physical pain.  Focus on soft music, rain drops or simply your breathing.  My favorite 3 words are:  Let It Go.

ENVIRONMENT – You may not be able to change your environment, which is why eliminating anger is so important.  If you have to stay in an existing negative environment, go to a different room, step outside or go for a walk in nature. Turning off the computer and all electronic equipment helps too.

 

EXERCISE – The best exercise for RA is stretching slowly first thing in the morning, walking, yoga and swimming. 

EATING: Can Some Fats Increase Inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis? (from WebMD)

Yes. Studies show that saturated fats may increase inflammation in the body. Foods high in saturated fats, such as animal products like bacon, steak, butter, and cream, may increase inflammatory chemicals in the body called prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are chemicals that cause inflammation, pain, swelling, and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, some findings confirm that meat contains high amounts of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that’s converted to inflammatory prostaglandins in the body.

Some people with rheumatoid arthritis find that a vegetarian diet helps relieve symptoms of pain and stiffness. Other people with rheumatoid arthritis, however, get no benefit from eating a diet that eliminates meat.

Is Omega-6 Fatty Acid Linked to Inflammation With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Omega-6 fatty acids are in vegetable oils that contain linoleic acid. This group of vegetable oils includes corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, and sesame oil.

Studies show that a typical western diet has more omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid is a polyunsaturated fat found in cold-water fish.

Consuming excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids may promote illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. It may also promote inflammatory and/or autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Ingesting fewer omega-6 fatty acids and more omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, may suppress inflammation and decrease the risk of illness.

Many studies show that lowering the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids contained in the diet can reduce the risk of illness.

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Does Menopause Worsen Rheumatoid Arthritis?

For women with rheumatoid arthritis, going through menopause can increase the intensity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The link is likely estrogen loss, but reversing that loss hasn’t proven to help. Learn what can.

The link between rheumatoid arthritis and menopause is a complicated one. Women with rheumatoid arthritis can expect that symptoms of menopause will affect their arthritis pain. However, research has not been able to precisely pinpoint whatever direct links may exist between menopause and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

“There’s not a lot of data showing that menopause makes a big difference in RA, and I haven’t seen that clinically,” said Scott Zashin, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospital.

Estrogen and Rheumatoid Arthritis

The possible connection between rheumatoid arthritis and menopause appears to be estrogen, the female reproductive hormone that decreases in menopausal women. Researchers base this suspicion on certain key facts about rheumatoid arthritis:

  • There are 2 1/2 times as many women with rheumatoid arthritis as men, indicating that the disease likely has something to do with female biology.
  • Pregnancy floods the body with estrogen, and pregnancy is known to suppress rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
  • Three out of four pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis experience less pain and arthritis symptoms by the end of their first trimester. After they give birth, when their estrogen levels return to normal, 9 of 10 women experience recurring rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, and the symptoms are usually more severe than before.
  • Osteoporosis, a disease characterized by a serious loss of bone density, has been linked to both menopause and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoporosis after menopause has been directly linked to reduced levels of estrogen in the body.

What the Research Shows

Research into direct links between menopause and rheumatoid arthritis is mixed:

  • One study found that post-menopausal woman who received estrogen as part of hormone replacement therapy experienced no significant improvement in their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The hormone therapy also did not decrease women’s risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
  • However, rodent research has found some ties between rheumatoid arthritis and estrogen. One study discovered that rodents with rheumatoid arthritis had impaired function of an important estrogen receptor in their bodies. Another study found that estrogen therapy did suppress arthritis and bone loss in rodents.

Symptoms of Menopause and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Despite this conflicting evidence, it is clear that symptoms of menopause might increase rheumatoid arthritis pain, if only because they make a woman feel that much worse, says Zashin.

Interacting symptoms also can create specific health challenges for menopausal women with rheumatoid arthritis. These include:

  • Osteoporosis. Rheumatoid arthritis already leads to worsening bone density loss, with the inflammation around the joints causing the bones to deteriorate. Inactivity due to arthritis pain and long-term use of corticosteroids for arthritis treatment might also lead to loss of bone density in patients with RA. Menopause may hasten this process, creating even more joint pain and increasing the potential for bone fractures.
  • Loss of muscle mass. Menopause can cause a woman to lose some of her muscle mass. Muscles are crucial for supporting joints that are aching and inflamed as a result of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Fatigue. The inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can create severe fatigue in some people. Feeling tired is also a common symptom of menopause, usually due to a lack of good sleep. Sleeplessness can compound the fatigue caused by rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

For women who want a treatment that doesn’t involve taking medication, the answer is exercise. Exercise is an excellent therapy that can help you deal with symptoms of menopause as well as rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, particularly since they intersect. Exercise helps battle bone density loss, increase muscle mass, and improve sleep.

As researchers continue to delve into the connections between these two medical conditions, keep in mind that you have the ability to take action and combat these symptoms.

 
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WHAT IS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA)?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of arthritis in which the joints become inflamed and very painful. Women tend to get rheumatoid arthritis more than men. The synovial membranes that surrounds the joint becomes inflamed and becomes thicker. These changes make it more difficult to move the joint. It can lead to the formation of tissue that can harden and form a bony ankylosis which is a fusion of the joint that prevents any movement of the

SYMPTOMS

Rheumatoid arthritis is accompanied by pain and swelling of the affected joint and can also create a fever.

HOW TO KNOW YOU HAVE IT                                                                       

Rheumatoid arthritis can be diagnosed by a blood test that reveals a rheumatoid factor (antibodies) in the blood.   X-rays are also used to determine if there is swelling of the effected joints. 

Measures To Control Pain

 Non-pharmacologic Measures

Non-pharmacologic measures to control pain include practitioner-administered treatments such as:

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 Turns out, I’m not the only one that thinks there is a food connection. Look what I found.

CHEF FIGHTS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS WITH ‘HERO FOODS’

Seamus Mullen, a chef and owner of the New York City-based restaurant Tertulia, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2007.

He turned to traditional medicine to alleviate his symptoms, which worked quickly.

“I would get a tremendous pain in my joint, whether it was in my shoulder or my wrist or my knee – it would get very swollen, and it would hurt more than you can imagine,” Mullen said.

Mullen was a finalist on the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef, but a RA flare-up made it difficult for him to finish the show.

He began to question whether the food he ate was affecting his symptoms.

“Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, and our immune system directly responds to the food that we eat,” Mullen said. “We are what we eat – literally.”

Foods to feel better

 
So Mullen started experimenting with the foods he loved – and it turned out his favorites made him feel healthier.

That’s how his book, Hero Foods: How Cooking With Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better was created.

“I’d rather have vitamin A, E, all these important vitamins coming from greens instead of from a pill and having my liver process it,” Mullen said. ‘So, I’d rather get all the nutrients I need through a balanced diet instead of through a supplement.”

” . . . our immune system directly responds to the food that we eat. We are what we eat – literally.”

– Seamus Mullen, chef and restaurant owner

 Mullen likes to use leafy greens when he is cooking, like kale and parsley.

Mushrooms also make the list of ‘hero foods,’ both fresh and dried, since they contain immune-boosting properties.

“My feeling is that I have an autoimmune disease (and) my immune system is constantly misfiring and causing issues in my joints,” Mullen said. “Everything I can do to bolster my immune system, to strengthen it, and put it in a better position the better.”

He said eggs are ‘hero foods’ because of their high concentration of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Anchovies get a bad rap, he added, but if prepared correctly, they are healthy and tasty.

“Anchovies are really important for your joints,” Mullen said. “I’d rather eat anchovies than take a bunch of glucosamine pills in the morning. This, to me, is the natural way to take care of my joints.”

Mullen, whose book is featured on Rachael Ray’s website, said he wasn’t ready to let go of his dreams at the age of 38 – so he’s fighting the RA battle with every step he takes.

He offers recipes on Ray’s site, as well as tips to dealing with RA.

“We will also take a real look into the lives of people who have various kinds of hardships, and have overcome adversity to find inspirations,” Mullen said on the website. “These people will remind us every day that no matter how hard we have it, how much pain we feel, we can go on.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/04/27/chef-fights-rheumatoid-arthritis-with-hero-foods/#ixzz1uNaaZqgF

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Further Reading:

 Related articles (updates daily — check back for the latest)

 

 

 

New study on Genetic adaptation of fat Omega-3 and Omega-6 metabolism (blogblooms.wordpress.com)

 

 

Pfizer Arthritis Pill Prompts Safety Concerns (aieverywhere.wordpress.com)

Natural Pain Relievers for Arthritis (massageenvy.com)

8 Great Home Modifications for Rheumatoid Arthritis (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)

A Look Inside Rheumatoid Arthritis (massageenvy.com)

New Organic Medical Food Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis (aieverywhere.wordpress.com)

Can rheumatoid arthritis affect your lungs? (theadventuresofarthritisnfibromyalgia.wordpress.com

8 Great Home Modifications for Rheumatoid Arthritis (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)

 

A Look Inside Rheumatoid Arthritis (massageenvy.com)

New Organic Medical Food Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis (aieverywhere.wordpress.com)

Can rheumatoid arthritis affect your lungs? (theadventuresofarthritisnfibromyalgia.wordpress.com)

Deciding on Rheumatoid Arthritis Surgery (everydayhealth.com)

 

More later…looking into claims that breast milk relieves RA.   If you have RA and something has worked for you, let us know.

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  • A tertulia is a social gathering with literary or artistic overtones, especially in Iberia or Latin America. The word is originally Spanish

 

 

  • Tertulia Restaurant NYC – (646) 559-9909 – 359 6th Ave.  

 

 

Meantime…

Back Pain: Snap Out of It!

If only you could just “Snap Out of It!” when you have back pain.  But, that persistent backache that you’ve attributed to pulled muscles or neck strain may very well be osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis no matter what your age.  See the best diet for osteoarthritis at the end of this, as that also plays a role.

According to doctors, X-ray screening of the spine will uncover degenerative arthritic changes in 95 percent of people over the age of 50 — yet not all will have back pain, at least not right away.

When spinal arthritis does affect the nerves and disks, the result can be persistent, excruciating pain that affects quality of life.

And when your back hurts, you’ll do just about anything to feel better: In 2005, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that Americans spent $85.9 billion dollars seeking relief.  

Luckily, if you do have arthritis, new treatment options are becoming available. Here are five telltale signs that your back pain is caused by arthritis:

1. Pain that comes on gradually and worsens over time

Typically, back pain that’s not osteoarthritis comes on suddenly and results in an excruciating attack that may leave you immobilized but gradually improves as the underlying problem heals.

Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, may start with a twinge here, a twinge there, and before you know it you have a backache almost every day.

What it feels like: Acute pain or overall achiness in one or more parts of your back. Pain due to osteoarthritis may come and go; you may feel better for a few weeks or months, and then the pain comes back worse than before.

Why it happens: The cartilage between the vertebrae wears down, causing the bones to rub against each other. With less cushioning between the vertebrae, the joints become inflamed. 

2. Stiffness and limited range of motion

If you feel stiff and achy when you get out of bed in the morning, it’s often a sign of osteoarthritis rather than sore muscles or a disc problem.

What it feels like: Your back feels stiff and unbending but becomes more flexible as the day goes on. When you bend over or arch your back, it may trigger more severe pain.  You may also notice “migrating” sore muscles that recur in different areas.

Why it happens: Over time, degeneration of the joints of the spine causes inflammation around the joints. 

 3. Neck pain that radiates into the head and shoulders

A pulled muscle in the neck or shoulder typically affects one localized area — you may even be able to touch or pinch the muscle and feel that it’s swollen. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, may affect the cervical or thoracic spine, causing pain to be felt upward and outward.

What it feels like:  Upper back or neck pain that radiates upward into the neck and base of the skull. Some people experience headaches.

Why it happens:   Increased stiffness and reduced range of motion may cause you to use different muscles than you typically would, causing tension, muscle strain, and soreness throughout the neck and shoulders.

4. Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, and fingers

Some people confuse carpal tunnel syndrome with arthritis of the spine because some of the symptoms can be similar. A loss of sensation or stiffness in the wrists, hands, and fingers may make it feel like you’re losing control of your fine motor movements.

What it feels like: Twinges, tingling, or numbness that radiates down from the shoulder through the arm. Depending on where nerve compression is occurring, you may feel pain all the way down your arm or in one specific place, such as your wrists, and it may come and go.

Why it happens: Inflammation and bony overgrowth of the cervical and thoracic spine can impinge upon and irritate spinal nerves, causing numbness, stiffness, and tingling and reducing sensation and motor control in the arms, hands, and fingers.

5. Pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs

A feeling of numbness or tingling that radiates down the buttocks and into the legs is typical of osteoarthritis of the spine as it progresses.

What it feels like:You might notice a lack of sensation in your legs, as if they’re numb or asleep. Your legs might also feel weak or as if they’re cramping or buckling.

Why it happens: Over time, wear and tear can cause the spinal canal — the opening inside each vertebra where the spinal cord passes through — to become narrower.

When this narrowing becomes significant (a condition known as spinal stenosis), it can pinch or compress the spinal cord or the nerve roots that emerge from the spinal cord, leading to pain and numbness that radiates down the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet.

Disc compression or injury, often occurring at the same time or as a result of arthritis, can also cause pain, known as sciatica, that radiates down the legs.

This content was originally published by Caring.com: “Back Pain” and this excerpt reprinted here with permission.  Click here for the entire article and more information.

 

Essential Self-Care for Arthritis

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Emotions can be key players in the pain game.

Joe Smith, a certified athletic trainer in an orthopedic clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, says he encourages clients with severe pain to name the place in their body where they hold their stress. Then he asks them to talk about what’s bothering them emotionally, such as an upcoming professional event or difficulties at home. “Sometimes that’s enough for people to identify why they’re having this pain,” he says.

Numerous studies document the close ties between chronic pain, especially back pain, and a sufferer’s psychological state. Medical studies also show that psychological interventions such as biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapies can be far more successful than traditional medical approaches.

Renee Bonjolo, a licensed massage therapist and owner of Body Central in Rhinebeck, New York, sees a clear link between what people are going through psychologically and how their bodies feel. Often these emotions involve guilt and anxiety, she says, especially with clients who are juggling work while caring for a parent, spouse, or child. She’s found that the process of releasing tension and recognizing emotions relieves some of her clients’ physical pain.

Attitude can also help, says podiatrist Wolpa.   He’s noticed patients who don’t believe their pain will go away will often have difficulty completing treatment, creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. “Emotions have a lot to do with one’s well-being,” he says.

VIVIAN EISENSTADT, a.k.a. THE BROOKLYN HEALER AGREES:  http://www.preventthepain.com/brooklyn_healer.php

She can help when traditional treatments do not work.  What works for you?  Let us know. 

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The Best Diet for Osteoarthritis: 

Find out how a specific diet plan can help you manage osteoarthritis symptoms, which foods work best, and how to maintain a healthy weight.

Medically reviewed by Niya Jones, MD, MPH

  
If you’re one of the 27 million Americans with osteoarthritis, you know that the goals of osteoarthritis treatment are to relieve pain and maintain joint function. Experts say the best way to manage osteoarthritis is by educating yourself about the disease, making helpful lifestyle changes, and using medication if needed. And one of the best lifestyle choices for easing osteoarthritis pain is maintaining a healthy diet.

“A goal of active participation in your osteoarthritis disease treatment should be to reduce pain and inflammation and increase movement and function without dependence on medication,” says Carol Wolin-Riklin, MA, licensed dietitian and nutrition coordinator at the University of Texas Medical School, in Houston, Texas. “This may be achieved through weight loss and natural supplements.”

Osteoarthritis Diet: Controlling Symptoms

Being overweight by just 10 pounds increases the stress on your knee joints by the equivalent of 30 to 60 pounds with each step you take. Studies show that losing weight can keep your osteoarthritis from getting worse and can reduce osteoarthritis pain symptoms.

“Weight reduction helps to alleviate pressure placed on joints during physical activity and may also help reduce circulating cytokines that promote inflammation,” notes Wolin-Riklin. Cytokines are proteins that stimulate swelling and inflammation, and research has shown that fat cells are a key source of cytokines in the body.

A healthy diet combined with exercise is the most effective therapy to achieve weight loss. If you have severe osteoarthritis, you can still find ways to exercise while sitting or in a swimming pool. “Nonimpact exercise is better tolerated. Exercise will promote the loss of fat and help you to maintain lean muscle mass,” says Wolin-Riklin.

Osteoarthritis Diet: The Importance of Fiber

Pain is a common symptom in osteoarthritis. When nonmedical ways to reduce pain, such as heating pads and massage, aren’t doing enough, your doctor may prescribe opiate medications for pain. Opiates relieve pain by blocking pain receptors in your brain, but they also block the muscle cells in your digestive tract and can cause constipation. Though there are also medications to ease constipation, notes Wolin-Riklin, “relying on laxatives to help treat constipation may create a dependence on these medications. Nonmedical ways to promote bowel health are better.” She recommends:

  • Adding fiber supplements to your diet.
  • Eating a diet rich in foods that contain fiber such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Drinking plenty of water. This can help prevent constipation. “You should be drinking 48 to 64 ounces of fluid daily unless you have a medical condition that limits fluid intake,” says Wolin-Riklin.
  • Getting regular exercise. Constipation is more common when you are not physically active.

Osteoarthritis Diet: Dietary Supplements

Some nutrients have also been shown to benefit people with osteoarthritis. These include:

  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D can become trapped in fat cells and levels may be too low in people who are overweight. A blood test can be done to check your vitamin D levels — if they’re low, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter vitamin D supplements.
  • Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and copper. These antioxidants are all helpful in lowering the amount of cytokines in your blood, which help reduce pain symptoms caused by inflammation. “A good multivitamin with trace minerals can be effective,” notes Wolin-Riklin.
  • Fish oils. These oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body. “Increasing intake of oily fish [such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines] to three times per week, or taking fish oil supplements, can help boost this anti-inflammatory effect,” Wolin-Riklin says.

If you have osteoarthritis, managing your diet and participating in a good exercise program — in addition to drug therapy when necessary — can make a big difference in reducing osteoarthritis pain If you’re taking medications that can cause constipation, be sure to drink enough fluids and get plenty of fiber through your diet. You might also consider adding a few supplements to your diet that can help reduce inflammation. Taking control of the way you eat is a great way to play an active part in your osteoarthritis treatment.

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Related articles

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http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/osteoarthritis/DS00019/DSECTION=symptoms

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When to see a doctor


If you have swelling or stiffness in your joints that lasts for more than a few weeks, make an appointment with your doctor.