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Rebecca Barnard

2016-05-27 09:26

Jackie's Story

I have osteoarthritis. It flared up just after my divorce 8 years ago and then settled down into a slow relentless path. I feel I am lucky as I do not suffer a lot of pain, but I have slowly lost the ability to move joints, and so use an increasing number of gadgets around the kitchen.

I have noticed that my pain gets worse before a thunderstorm; hot humid weather is the worst. Cold weather can make it harder to move joints but doesn't seem to increase pain.

I have a number of methods for helping with my stiffness and my pain. I take naproxen each night as that seems to help me sleep without pain and I awake less stiff in mornings. I try to wiggle my toes before getting out of bed, as it helps them to loosen up before putting weight on my feet. I am careful to watch out for tendon problems resulting in changes in my stance e.g. plantar fasciitis (a disorder that results in pain in the heel and bottom of the foot), and so wear orthotics. I also put on wrist supports when I am knitting. I carry stuff in back packs, not in bags. And a memory foam mattress topper has helped reduce shoulder and hip pain at night.

I have a black miniature poodle who keeps me going. Taking my dog for a walk twice a day keeps me active physically, cheers me up, and gets me meeting people. I have had to give up some hobbies because of my arthritis, but have been able to take up others.

I am very aware that my level of pain is nothing like as bad as that described some of the other bloggers, I just have ordinary osteoarthritis, but the future is scary. I live alone and I wonder how I will cope if I keep losing strength in my hands.