Definition of arthritis by Merriam Webster:inflammation of joints due to infectious, metabolic, or constitutional causes also: a specific arthritic condition.
Everyone will at some point-in-time in their lives discover arthritis in their own bodies. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, it is the number one cause of disability in the United States! Today, one in four people has arthritis in this country. There is no cure, but arthritis can be somewhat managed by following your doctor’s recommendations for pain medications, exercise, and diet. Still, arthritis is a painful condition. I have osteoarthritis and can attest to its disabling effects and the pain associated with arthritis.
“When you join the movement, you become part of the answer. No matter how you want to give back, we have the right opportunity. Take part in an event. Advocate on behalf of others with arthritis. Form meaningful connections and Live Yes! locally or online. Take a moment today and join our community of champions to help those with arthritis live their best life.
Nothing like a change in the temperature to take my body from feeling like an 8 or 9 to a 0. My back hurts, the backs of my legs hurt, my head is throbbing. No, I don’t have the Corona. The culprits today seem to be my disc degenerative disease, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Each one of these runs into the other, so I can’t say for sure what parts of my body are crying out from exactly which one, I only know that I’m hurting and wishing there was something I could do about it.
Now, of course, the temperature probably has nothing scientifically to do about it, but that being so, I know when the weather changes for the worse, or there is some upcoming bad weather or colder temperatures, I hurt more.
◆ If you don’t know what (DDD) Disc Degenerative Disease is, Spine Health at spine-health.com has a good overview.
◆ For Fibromyalgia, a good website to check out is https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/fibromyalgia.htm as well as
the Mayo Clinic site at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354780.
◆ Did you know that Arthritis is the number one disabling condition in the world? https://www.arthritis.org/. I can tell you that no person in my family has escaped its cruelty. It’s painful and irritating.
What’s happening due to COVID 19:
Because of COVID 19, my ablation surgery for my lower back had to be postponed, so each day that goes by the pain in my lower back continues to get worse. There is nothing I can do about that so I’m forced to do whatever I can use whatever I have to make things better. No amount of Ibuprofen seems to make much difference. While it soothes the pain in the short term, it doesn’t last that long. My prescription medications don’t last a full four hours either, and none of my medication choices completely remove the pain.
Which leads to:
I bring out the heating pad. This soothes. I bring out the ice. It numbs. Within minutes afterward, back comes ye ole pain. Ouch. But during the time it’s working it’s so nice. Other ways to ease body pain from these conditions are listed next. One thing I don’t have but want is a leg lift pillow. A Leg Lift Pillow Wedge gently lifts the knees to provide outstanding support and comfort for your lower back when lying down. The special wedge design eases stress on the spine, correcting posture and aligning the spine to help decrease arthritis back pain.
So what else is helpful for these conditions? Here are seven which one can try:
This form of Chinese medicine involves inserting thin, small needles through the skin at specific acupoints on the body. It is designed to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue, improve blood flow and activate the body’s natural painkillers. Research suggests that it can help relieve pain, and it is used for a wide range of other complaints.
Good for osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome
￼Gentle manipulation with moderate pressure has been shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness, and even improve range of motion. However, timing is important. Listen to your body. Massage may not be as helpful during a very active flare when joints are especially tender and sensitive.
Good for osteoarthritis, low back pain, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis
Tai chi is a Chinese practice that combines gentle flowing movements, deep breathing, and meditation. It has been shown to not only reduce joint pain but also improve range of motion and function, as well as feelings of well-being. The Arthritis Foundation offers a Tai Chi DVD specifically created for people with arthritis.
Good for fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis
Yoga is an Indian practice that uses deep breathing, meditation and body pose. It has been shown to decrease joint pain and stiffness, as well as improve relaxation and reduce stress. The Arthritis Foundation offers a Yoga DVD specifically created for people with arthritis.
Good for fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, low back pain
Losing one pound removes four pounds of pressure on swollen, painful joints. Maintain a healthy weight by combining a balanced diet with regular physical activity. Make sure you choose food from the five important food groups (fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains). Try to do 30 minutes of low-impact exercise five days a week.
Good for osteoarthritis
Physical therapists can provide various ways to reduce strain and pressure on painful and swollen joints. These include manual therapy and counseling on proper positioning and body movement. They can also recommend assistive devices such as braces and splints to support joints and shoe inserts to relieve stress on the lower extremities.
Good for all forms of joint pain (back, knee, shoulder, hand, wrist, ankle
These gels work by stimulating sensory nerve endings in the skin, and the body responds by reducing pain signals through the nervous system. Voltaren Gel and capsaicin cream are two options, but a trip down the drugstore aisle can offer even more options without a prescription. Some Hemp options may also work, just make sure you stay away from the THC.
Good for osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.
What products or services have you found that are helpful for arthritic conditions or Fibromyalgia? Let me know in the comments.
Since most of us are quarantined in our home due to COVID 19, on this Easter weekend, we could take some time to reflect on some of these awareness items for the month of April.
April is Autism Awareness Month. Limb Loss Awareness Month, Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and Stress Awareness Month. This post addresses briefly what these are and gives you resources for more information as well as how to volunteer your time, make a donation, or get involved in other ways.
⁃ Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and
You can volunteer, donate, or fundraise at Autism Speaks. Check here for the ways: https://act.autismspeaks.org/site/SPageServer/?pagename=walk_volunteer&wmenu=sec_abt_walk
• Limb Loss
⁃ What causes limb loss?
⁃ Reasons for Amputation
⁃ The most common is poor circulation because of the damage or narrowing of the arteries, called peripheral arterial disease. … Other causes for amputation may include Severe injury (from a vehicle accident or serious burn, for example) a Cancerous tumor in the bone or muscle of the limb. Feb 5, 2020, WebMD
And of course, some people are born missing limbs.
You may read more at:
You can volunteer with the Amputee Coalition here: https://www.amputee-coalition.org/work-with-us/
• Parkinson’s Disease
⁃ Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination. Parkinson’s symptoms usually begin gradually and get worse over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking.
Read more at https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/parkinsons-disease.
– Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. May 5, 2018
If you are experiencing high volumes of stress, sometimes giving, volunteering is the way to go. Psych Central has a wonderful article. Read it here: https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-volunteering-can-help-your-mental-physical-health/
A weighted blanket or duvet would be a perfect addition to your stress relief arsenal, a nice gift for someone living with autism, Parkinson’s, and even for someone living with limb loss. Try something from Weighted Evolution. They have three different options to choose from. and come in several colors. They’re premium bamboo weighted blanket that’ll improve sleep, lower anxiety and increase well-being. Check them out.
My family and extended family have personal connections to limb loss, Parkinson’s, and most definitely stress. Won’t you please take a few moments to think about who in your family, a circle of friends, or acquaintances who deal with any of these issues. Your donation of volunteering time, money, or purchases really makes a difference in the lives of those who deal with these every single day. Won’t you get involved?
Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links. I get a small commission if you click and purchase. Purchasing through this website does not affect your pricing.
King David, Isaiah, Jeremiah: Inclusion of Their Sick and Crippled.
Picture a playground of children picking teams for a game. One by one team captains chooses their teammates. Waiting to be called. in clear apprehension, is the child with red scaly patches on their knees and elbows.
There is a chubby kid who wears glasses looking off into the distance. (more…)
The Holy Bible, shows the stigma of disability and the encouragement and inclusion for the disabled, despite today’s protests and advocacy, and how far have we come.
I believe through writing characters with a disability we can encourage a change in the current dynamic.
This month let’s explore the possibilities of disability and writing with another well-known writer, Moses. The first five books of Old Testament of The Holy Bible, and others, like the wonderful story of Job, are believed to be written by Moses. In his grand adventure story in the book of Exodus, Moses writes of his disability in Exodus 4:6-16[NIV]
Then the LORD said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So, Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous —it had become as white as snow.
“Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So, Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.” (Ex 4:6-7 NIV)
Don’t you imagine Moses horrified? Leprosy! Today, we have come up with an additional name for Leprosy, Hansen’s Disease (HD). Leprosy, or HD, is an infectious disease caused by specific bacteria found in drastically poor and dirty conditions. Today, HD can be cured if treated. People may think of groups of sick, rotting-skinned people cast far away when they hear the word Leprosy. There are; however, significantly fewer leper colonies today. India, Africa, and China are places; however, where places segregating people with HD still exist.
I have psoriasis. In the culture and time period of Moses, I would have been examined by a priest, deemed unclean and sent out for seven days. My psoriasis is visible and incurable, but the symptoms are treatable. I would have remained unclean and sent to live outside my community, unable to live, worship, or associate with my peers or family. Thankfully, we now have medical doctors and the knowledge psoriasis is not contagious.
My daughter likewise has psoriasis. After explaining her condition to the school office after her first outbreak (at age eight), her unknowing teacher removed her from the playground. It was a warm spring day and she wore shorts to school. Since the school office failed to inform the teacher and seeing red, inflamed, scaly patches on my daughter’s knees, shins, and elbows, this teacher sent her to the office to sit away from the playing children. The teacher was afraid my daughter had some hideous contagious disease. The office called me to pick up my daughter at school. You can imagine how upset I was when I arrived to find out why.
The shame and heartbreak for my child! The awful confusion and embarrassment she must have felt in realizing for the first time she was different. I want to think times have changed but unfortunately, I see things like this all the time.
Giving a character a trait like psoriasis, for instance, you can show situations and feelings not only for the character but for those unfamiliar with it and their reactions as well.
Further in Moses’ writings in verses ten through twelve, we find out Moses has a speech impediment.
Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Ex 4:10 NIV)
Even though Moses had been raised with the best of education as royalty in Egypt, somehow, he was aware of his difference from others. It is thought he may have stuttered or had some other form of speech impediment. I imagine he was mocked, made fun of, or ridiculed at points in his life creating lowered self-esteem and self-confidence.
The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Ex 4:11-12 NIV)
I have a great fondness for verse 12 and I’ve grown closer to the LORD because I know he has plans for me and everyone who has, or may acquire a disability. Here is Moses living with a speech impediment and God is giving him a leading role! Certainly, we as writers can do the same and give a significant role to a character with a disability trait.
But Moses said, “O LORD, please send someone else to do it.” (Ex 4:13 NIV)
Here again is Moses with his lowered self-esteem and self-confidence affirming itself again as he tries to get out of this task the LORD is asking him to do. Moreover, how many of us wait for someone else to write a character in their book with a disability? Perhaps then we won’t have to find out if we can write disability. Personally, I believe anyone can write disability in any genre.
Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and his heart will be glad when he sees you.
You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.
He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.” (Ex 4:14-16 NIV)
The point here is so simple. No person gets through life without help from others. We had parents and teachers in school teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic. We had people to confide in whether it be the LORD, family, friends, or someone else. Help is always available. There are resources everywhere, and yes, people with disabilities are everywhere and many are extremely approachable to answer your questions.
It is written God made man and woman in his own image, and he created each for a reason and a purpose. God did not see Moses as a speech impediment, God saw Moses as His leading character with a speech impediment trait that didn’t matter squat to what needed to be done. God did not see the disability stopping Moses from attaining the goal.
Even if you haven’t read the half-dozen or so books of The Holy Bible thought to be authored by Moses, you probably have heard these stories. As writers, we’ve got an advantage when it comes to sharing similar messages just as God did with Moses. All we need do is make the required changes in our writing.
Main characters need to shine and settle in the minds of readers long after they turn the final page. The actions characters take to achieve story goals must send them toward getting what they want. If not, hopefully, their actions get them to a better understanding of themselves and the world they occupy. This applies to characters in every book. If they don’t then we have a book no one wants to read.
You can create memorable, standout characters with disability traits by seeing your character as a human being first – not an affliction. Do this well and your readers will see them as you do. Already in your mind, you are creating a character with varying traits, so why not add a disability trait to an obvious featured character? Research traits, write what speaks to you as the truth. Observe the world around you. Isn’t this what we as authors do?
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