I qualified in Arthritis – The Holistic Approach through The British School of Yoga in 2008.  Since then I have always asked clients with arthritis how it actually feels.  Everyone describes it differently.  Now I know how they feel , as I have been diagnosed with arthritis in my neck.

The NHS Choices website describes Osteoarthritis as the most common form of arthritis in the UK.  It affects about 8 million people, usually in their late 40s and older.  It is most common in women or people with a family history of the condition.

It affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, which makes movement difficult, leading to pain and stiffness.  The most commonly affected joints are the hands, spine, knees and hips.

The Arthritis Research UK website lists risk factors for long term arthritis as:

  • previous injury
  • smoking
  • a physically demanding occupation

Returning to my qualification, my advice to anyone with arthritis would be:

  • Gentle and realistic exercise, it is important to keep the affected area moving
  • Keep your body warm
  • Take a daily 30 minute walk
  • What makes you laugh?  It may be a book, film, radio programme or comedy show.  Treat yourself to a daily dose of laughter
  • Take 10 minutes out of your day to relax.  Maybe listen to your favourite relaxing music.  Sit or lie down, whichever is the most comfortable for you, focus on your breathing and the music.  You may like to perform some gentle stretches
  • If you are overweight, it will help your arthritic pain if you can lose some weight.  This will particularly help hip and knee joints
  • Drink more water
  • Treat yourself to a massage
  • Think about your daily eating.

Some people believe that particular foods can trigger arthritis.  These include:

  • citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit
  • vegetables from the nightshade family.  These are potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, chillies and aubergines.

I would recommend that you only cut out one of these foods at a time.  This is the only way to establish if it is a problem.

Personally I injured by neck three years ago and this explains my diagnosis.  My GP suggested that I sleep with only one pillow which is definitely working.  I instinctively keep my neck warm by wearing a scarf.  I also use something called a Wheat Bag which can be warmed in the microwave.  This helps to relax the muscles around my neck.  Ibuprofen can be prescribed to reduced the inflammation.  Unfortunately I cannot take this drug as it affects my stomach, but I take painkillers when necessary.  I also have a regular back, neck and shoulder massage.

Finally, if you are in pain then please visit your GP.

Best wishes

Jane Ardley


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