Category Archives: Arthritis

“TLCing” the Body for the Future

6583616433_50981b88c3When they said aging with a disability was a serious business, they weren’t joking. I’m only 34 and I’m already feeling some massive aging issues. If this is what I have to look forward to for the next 30 or so years, I’ve decided to take some serious action.

It all started a couple of years ago when I drove for 6 hours straight. After the drive, my wrist felt like it had fallen asleep. No big deal, right? But it was much more serious than that. Little did I know I had strained my wrist muscles to the point of overuse, and getting them back to normal would be an almost impossible task.

When you get a strained joint or muscle as someone with a mobility disability and you have limited movement in other areas, preserving what you have is critical. In fact, this is key throughout our entire lives. We need to be obsessed with joint and muscle preservation and begin thinking of our bodies as precious works of art.

I’ve decided to employ a few different strategies to make sure I do whatever I can to treat my body with TLC and get as much use out of it as I can. The first thing is monitoring my movement for the day and making sure I don’t over-exert myself. This means not typing 8 hours straight and then cooking a huge meal. Partitioning of your chores will protect your body.

I also make sure I get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise and drink plenty of water; all the important things we should all be doing anyways, disabled or not. It’s easy however to neglect your body when you have a disability and are alone often, which is the case for me, as no one is here to stop me from doing something stupid.

I’ve also had another age-related injury in the last year – burstitis of the shoulder. Joy of joys. This strange sounding condition is one athletes usually get, fluid on the shoulder limiting mobility, but since people disabilities strain their joints in some cases almost as much as athletes, we too are susceptible to this condition. Stretching and cortisone shots can help.

Isometric weight training however is another thing I’m doing and is one of the biggest things people disabilities should learn how to do. This specialized weight training makes sure to never over-exert your muscles, and instead has you apply pressure to small areas of the muscle, slowly building up strength without tuckering your poor muscles out.

And the last thing I’ve decided to do for the time being – see a massage therapist on a regular basis. Giant knots in the muscles we use are inevitable, but if we don’t get them rubbed out, they will just get worse until the muscles shorten, making it hard to move.

It is pretty scary thinking about what may happen in the future when it comes to our bodies. Aging is the one thing we all fear. However by planning and preserving, we can give ourselves of a bit peace of mind, and that can help tremendously.

How do you give your body TLC for the long run?

Photo courtesy of Flickr CC

Brrrrrrrrr…cold weather is coming !

In 1978 I moved to North Carolina from New York State. It took about two years before I became accustomed to the heat here but I was happy to find that the winters were quite temperate. As I look back on that I find that the weather had remained pretty much the same but my tolerance of it has changed drastically.

Even though we hardly ever get the bone-chilling cold weather that so many of you do, I still dread winter time. The arthritis in my hands, which I hardly feel in summer, acts up with a vengeance the colder it gets. My feet never seem to be warm enough, despite doubling up on socks, and my nose is red and cold to the touch…i.e., I’m miserable!

Luckily I have a blogger friend who had the same complaints but she did something about it and she shared it with me. The miracle cure that she uses is called “Hot Hands

If you are a hunter or an avid outdoors person you probably know all about them but I did not. These little gems are very inexpensive and can be used in many ways.

The hand warmers are just what it says …heat for warming your hands and all you do is shake the packet and insert it in your gloves or pocket. The heat is air activated and will warm you for up to 10 hours. Then you simply dispose of it as you would any garbage, the ingredients will not harm the environment according to the manufacturer.

They recommend that the larger body warmers and foot warmers not be applied directly against your skin but that was no problem for me. I actually used a body warmer as a sort of experiment recently and it worked wonders. I have just gone through a horrendous bout with Shingles and, although it is getting better, I still have one spot on my back that is painful. I had a Lidocaine patch on it but it didn’t seem to be doing much so I stuck one of the body warmers to my blouse exactly where it would cover the patch. The heat felt wonderful and I think it activated the Lidocaine because the pain seemed to dissipate within an hour.

Comfort is my number one goal this winter and since I’m stocking up on “Hot Hands” warmers for every part of my body I’m sure I’ll reach it..

Much More Than a Loyal Friend …

This little guy is about 4 inches tall and he’s made of rubber.  He sat on my husbands desk for years and I remember how Dick would squeeze the dickens out of him to exercise his hands.

When Dick passed away in 1990 I put the little guy on my desk and he’s remained there ever since.  I’ve loved having him near me because he’s a sweet reminder of many happy times but I’ve rarely put him to use as Dick did.

Well, times have changed.  You may remember my entry a few weeks ago when I mentioned how weak my 80 year old hands have become. That has been true for quite a long time but just over the past year I have developed painful arthritis in both hands also.  I’ve decided to try the squeezing exercises and I really seem to be making progress.

My little pal does not seem overjoyed to be, once again, the recipient of all that squeezing but he puts up with me!

I seem to remember that he was a giveaway from a medical firm back in the ‘80s so it would be hard to replicate him exactly but there are many types of exercise squeeze balls available.

Here‘s what I do 3 times a day.  I squeeze him as hard as I can for at least 5 seconds.  Then I relax for a second or two.  I repeat this process nine more times.  I then switch to my other hand and do the same 10 repetitions there.

I can’t say that it helps the looks of my arthritic hands but it does help to keep the pain at bay and for that I am grateful.  I hope it will do the same for you.

At UNlimiters, we’re always looking for products that help us live more independent and easier lives. Have you found a product that has improved your life? Let us know in the Shout section of our store and we’ll try to add it to our selection.

Blog entry by Ginnie, proud member of the UNlimiters team.

The hands of an octogenarian…

I am honored and pleased to be a new member of the Unlimiters team. My name is Ginnie and this is my first entry.  When Lisa contacted me to see if I would write a blog for them I was a little confused.   I told her that I have no physical handicaps but then I thought, “Wait a minute … I am 80 years old and I run into difficulties daily!”

These old hands of mine are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to aches and pains.  Why not write about the daily challenges that we seniors face and how we overcome them?   It’s what I plan to do with this blog and I hope you will come along for the ride.

I also have many friends who DO have medical disabilities and I find that most of them would fit right in with the Unlimiters philosophy.  They are optimists and dreamers.  Seniors who are aware of the physical and mental changes taking place but who refuse to be limited by them.   I am constantly amazed by them and will be highlighting their experiences too.

Now back to my hands.  I featured them to make a point.  Over the past few years I’ve lost a lot of the strength in my hands and it’s hard for me to open jars. I had resorted to the old system of turning the jars upside down, tapping all edges on a hard surface and twisting as hard as I could …a practice that rarely did the job and frustrated me immensely.

I am so pleased to have found the  Maddagrip Opener.  it’s a simple but very effective opener that works perfectly for me.

Now I can forget about the weakness in my hands and rely on my new “toy”.  It sure beats waiting for a strong man to come by and open those pesky jars …   I could starve by then!

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