As we ease our way back into autumn it feels like the right time to share my findings on ways to reduce pain and increase mobility with arthritis and stiff joints.
I had no understanding of Arthritis until a year ago when all my joints started to lock up and I found myself in pain day and night. I would lie awake each night struggling to find a position that eased the pain. If I managed to get onto my side, which is my natural sleep position, my shoulders were so painful that it felt like lying on fractured bones. I would have to wrap my shoulder in a cooling gel pillow to numb it enough to lie on. I also used Selenite crystal palm stones in my hands to ease the pain as my wrists were incredibly painful too. There wasn’t much I could do about my hips, knees and feet other than load myself with Ibruprofen and Paracetamol (which really goes against the grain for me) in a desperate attempt to take some of the edge off the pain. I would manage to drop off for a while and then I would be woken by the pain again and just lie there sometimes unable to even reach across for my crystals or gel pillows. It felt as if the pain had made my arms and legs semi-paralysed. Sometimes I would use the better arm to lift the other arm across me, so that I could reach my bedside table. By morning my body was so locked up that it would take quite some time to ease myself out of bed and hobble across the room.
At my low points I couldn’t get out of the bath without getting onto all fours (I had to take a phone with me as sometimes I couldn’t even get out like that), on better days when I managed to get onto the floor to attempt stretches there were times where I couldn’t get up again and I would lie on the floor like a lump, sobbing until I could muster up the strength and energy to push through the pain barrier heave myself up again, in whatever way my body would allow. I knew that stretching and exercise was good but I simply couldn’t do it.
After various tests I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis, or perhaps Polymyalgia Rheumatica. They have near identical symptoms and both are treated with steroids and immune suppressants. Being a Reiki Master, Crystal Healer and Meditation Teacher I believe in all things natural whenever possible, so I really struggled with being told that steroids and immune suppressants were the way to treat it. I have a strong belief that our bodies have an immense ability to heal themselves, given the right support and opportunities, so with determination I began my quest to find alternative ways to manage this arthritis.
A year later I am back to striding out with the dogs twice a day, doing my yoga and gardening, I can sit in the meditation position for as long as I like, I can get out of the bath and off the floor like a normal person and have been off ALL painkillers for three months now. It took three months to stop that last half dose of Ibruprofen in the evening, but I got there in the end. I am supporting my body with a variety of supplements and have learnt a few other tricks along the way.
Here are my Top Three tips:
I started taking Tumeric one month in and I was amazed at the difference in my movement within just 24hrs. I then moved on to Curcumin as it is the key anti-inflammatory compound found in Tumeric, so I felt it would be even better, although I still add Tumeric to most of my cooking and eat plenty of black pepper to help absorb it. It is a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant and is believed to have a wide range of health benefits including supporting the liver, heart, mental health and reducing the chances of cancer cells growing. I still couldn’t get out of the bath but I was in a bit less pain and had more movement.
I use Full Spectrum Curcumin by Solgar (800mg) as the quality is very good and take it every morning.
2. Swimming and Sauna
Four months in it was suggested to me that swimming and using a sauna would help, so I joined the local gym which luckily had a nice pool, steam room and sauna, on the basis that the monthly cost was likely to be cheaper than the constant treatments I was having to have. I now swim at least twice a week and not only has also given me much more strength and movement in my limbs, it has transformed the muscle wastage that I had started to get from lack of movement.
3. CBD Oil
Then six months after this started a wonderful man, who was suffering from early stages of Parkinson’s disease, shared with me his experience with CBD oil. He too had been suffering from immense pain at night and being unable to sleep on his shoulders until he started taking CBD oil. His knowledge has changed my life and I am deeply grateful to him. Since I started taking it I have not had one single day where I thought to myself “I simply can’t go on like this”. It took a week for me to start to notice a difference but since then I have been going from strength to strength and now I am doing all the things that I mentioned above.
I buy my CBD oil from AMMA Life as it is pure organic as well as fully certified. I take 3 drops under the tongue at night, it tastes truly vile but it’s worth it and you get used to it. Compared to the pain I was in it is nothing! If I miss a night I am fine the next day but really feel it the day after. Luckily, I very rarely miss a night.
Read the reviews on the AMMA Life website, it seems to work well for sleep and anxiety issues too. Just to warn you, I believe it can make you drowsy if you take it during the day. The strength is 10% CBD and don’t be put off by the price of £59 for a small bottle as it lasts about a month and a half so is not as expensive as it looks. Note: this is not the illegal cannabis oil, it is completely certified and approved.
Holland & Barrettalso do CBD oil but it is not organic and is usually only 5% or 2.5% so check that before you think you are getting a better deal. I prefer organic as I am trying to give my system as much support as possible but I know people that use H&B and are happy with it.
Those are my top three tips but I also take the following supplements daily to help my joints:
And here are some other items to add to your toolbox:
This cooling gel pillow is excellent for pain relief at night (or hot flushes!) It cools by reacting to the heat of your body and does not get damp like some gel pads which go in the freezer. You can just leave it under your pillow for when you need it.
Reduce inflammatory foods
Sugar and meat (especially red meat) are two of the worst culprits here as they have an inflammatory effect on the tissues, which can cause pain and stiffness in the body and take a toll on your vitality. For non-vegetarians, limit meat consumption to 2 portions per week and add a couple of portions of oily fish, which contain anti-inflammatory Omega 3 oils. Cut out cakes and biscuits and keep a range of low-sugar snacks to hand – raw nuts, seeds and high cocoa chocolate are good choices. Making this switch will help reduce inflammation and you should start to feel less sluggish. Avoiding gluten is another way to ease inflammation in the body and if drinking alcohol, which they say to avoid, you are better off drinking spirits than wine, due to the acidity. You can also see a kinesiologist and be tested to see what your body is reacting to.
Crystals are incredibly healing and Selenite palm stones are wonderful to have by your bed so that you can reach out and place them in your hands to ease the pain when it is bad. I don’t need them anymore but there were times when I couldn’t image a night without them. Other crystals that help with arthritis, pain and inflammation are: Blue Lace Agate, Garnet, Rainbow Fluorite, Petrified Wood, Blue Apatite and clear Quartz. If you only want to buy a few, I suggest you go for the ones that you are drawn to as these will be the right ones for you. If you buy tumble stones they are not expensive and you carry them in your pocket throughout the day. There is a great crystal shop called Charlie’s Rock Shop at Merton Abbey Mills near Collier’s Wood. If you buy crystals it is very important to cleanse them so either ask them in the shop how to do this, look it up on Google or email me and I will send you my preferred crystal cleansing methods.
Sending love and healing to you all.
(photo above by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash)