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  • Treatments
    warm water The warm temperature of the water aids muscle relaxation and eases pain in the joints making it easier to relax Because the water supports your weight the range of movement in your joints should also increase With a water temperature usually set between 33 36 degrees Celsius warmer than a standard swimming pool hydrotherapy differs from swimming because it involves special exercises that you do in a warm water pool Scientific studies have shown that hydrotherapy can improve strength and general fitness in people with various types of arthritis The exercises can be tailored to your individual needs so you can start slowly and gradually build up your strength and flexibility The extra support that the water provides may make you feel like you can do more exercise than normal so be careful not to overdo it The exercise and the warmth of the water may make you feel tired after treatment but this is quite normal In general hydrotherapy is one of the safest treatments for arthritis and back pain Occupational Therapy If you are experiencing difficulty with day to day tasks like washing dressing cooking and cleaning you may benefit from visiting an occupational therapist They have a wealth of expertise on what equipment is available to assist you with a particular task They may also be able to supply on temporary loan some of the more expensive items Adaptations may include ergonomic cutlery kettle tippers bath rails grabbers walkers stair lifts Your GP or consultant can put you in touch with an occupational therapist There may be one at your local hospital or they may visit you at home You can also view products that have been deemed suitable for people with arthritis by our Easy to Use commendation programme while Assist Ireland also provide information on recommended products For a full listing of private occupational therapists in Ireland please visit www privateOT ie Podiatry Podiatry or chiropody specializes in care of the foot and can make a big difference to mobility and walking ability in people with arthritis The feet and ankles provide us with the ability to do some of the most essential tasks in life like walking and standing but are also two of the most arthritis affected areas If you visit a podiatrist an appointment can be made through your GP or independently in some cases they will closely examine the way you walk gait analysis to assess the range of motion pressure on the foot forces on the joints and the way you protect your painful foot An x ray and ultrasound scans may also be carried out to get a better idea of your condition You may then be prescribed with orthotic insoles and shoes which are designed with good support and ease of movement in mind Complementary Therapies As their name suggests these types of therapies are designed to complement and work alongside conventional medicine and treatments not replace them They concentrate on treating the whole person Even

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  • My Health Organiser
    has told you and preparing a list of questions you want to ask him in advance of your appointment can make a real difference to how you are treated and how you feel As well as a space for recording a diagnosis treatment or advice your doctor gives you there is also an appointment keeper where you can make note of upcoming appointments take notes on the pain you are

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  • Self-Management Courses
    with Arthritis course is a 6 week programme designed based on the Stanford University developed model Find out more here The Breaking the Pain Cycle course is a half day workshop designed to give you a taste of what self

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  • Diet
    that being unable to exercise or prepare fresh food means that they put on weight easily Others get trapped in a similar cycle during a flare up but one in which they are too tired to eat and consequently lose weight becoming even more exhausted Eating a balanced diet is key to maintaining a healthy weight Controlling your weight is often the most effective thing you can do to reduce the symptoms of arthritis Even a small weight loss can reduce strain on the hips back knees and feet if you are too heavy And making sure you are not underweight should help to give your body the necessary strength and nutrition to get through a flare up and to fight disease A healthy body weight is achieved by balancing the energy intake in our diet with the energy we use through activity However every individual has unique nutritional requirements depending on your age gender body size and level of activity A guideline daily intake is 2 000 kilocalories known as kcal for an active woman and 2 500 kilocalories for an active man If you need to gain weight eating slightly larger quantities of the healthier foods is the best approach so that you are taking in more calories Rather than simply eating more fried foods and chocolate which won t help your overall health in the long run Try things such as having an extra slice of toast at breakfast or an extra helping of pasta or rice Controlling your Diet Lots of foods particularly processed foods contain hidden fat sugar and salt Preparing your own food allows you to control what you are eating If you have difficulties cooking from scratch but need to lose weight choose the low fat versions of ready meals from the supermarket

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  • Parenting with Arthritis
    Weeks 28 40 The final trimester can prove especially difficult for women with arthritis During the last 12 weeks the joints and muscles may be affected and problems with weight bearing joints hips knees ankles and feet may become worse due to increased weight Muscle spasms in the back can occur as the uterus grows and the spine curves slightly to support it leading to pain numbness and tingling in the legs In the last 12 weeks breathing can be difficult especially if your arthritis affects your lungs or rib joints and you may experience shortness of breath if this occurs you should rest whenever you can Delivery The big day has arrived Many women with arthritis can have a normal labour and there are many different positions in which you can give birth so if for example you have difficulty because you cannot move your legs enough in one position the midwife will discuss with you some other suitable positions In some cases women with arthritis will be advised to deliver their baby by C section but this is not common If your arthritis affects your spine getting an epidural may not be possible This is a procedure in which pain medication is injected between the vertebrae directly into the outer layer of the spinal canal In this instance you should discuss alternative pain relief methods with your doctor before delivery and if a C section is necessary it may need to be done under general anaesthetic Babies So the hard work is done now right Well many women do feel a sense of relief after the birth but some also feel sorrow or a combination of the two If you have rheumatoid arthritis you may experience a flare up in the weeks following your pregnancy at the same time as you are adjusting to your new role as a parent Other diseases including scleroderma may become more active after delivery too If you are on medications that suppress your immune system it is important that you are extra vigilant for infection as you may be more prone to it than others but the majority of these infections can be cleared up quickly and easily with antibiotics Breastfeeding If you would like to breastfeed you should discuss the best medication choices with your doctor as certain medications can interfere with it Feeding may mean sitting in the same position for a long time on a daily basis so make sure you are comfortable This may involve using cushions under your elbows a special support or a small bean bag Carrying and lifting Many parents with arthritis find it easier to lift their baby using their larger joints like their elbows or forearms A sling can also be useful in the early stages before babies become too heavy at around nine months Other parents use baby carriers or pushchairs Equipment Deciding what equipment is suitable for both you and your child can take a bit of research Try to choose

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  • Caring for a Person With Arthritis
    might mean that in certain circumstances help may not be wanted This can be difficult to judge and you must be sensitive to signs to stand back and not insist on helping with a particular task or activity For example if the person you care for usually stands up from a chair on their own then it is best not to try and help them unless they appear to be

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  • Arthritis - Key Words in plain Language
    language to us This booklet gives the everyday meaning of some medical words that people use when they talk about the condition Inside we will discuss arthritis and provide a list of words from A to Z These words are often found in patient booklets leaflets and handouts and we hope that defining them in plain English will make a big difference to your understanding of arthritis At the end

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  • What Is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
    neck back pain and discomfort for short periods others will have severe pain and stiffness in several parts of the body for a long time In severe cases Ankylosing Spondylitis can seriously impact on everyday life and lead to disability Over time Ankylosing Spondylitis can cause the spine to become rigid and curved giving the person a bent forward posture This is known as kyphosis It s important to note that not everyone with Ankylosing Spondylitis will develop kyphosis Significant medical advances in recent years mean that new treatments can reduce the pain associated with and symptoms of the condition and help improve the quality of life for people living with Ankylosing Spondylitis How is Ankylosing Spondylitis diagnosed When you visit your doctor consultant a detailed history of your symptoms will be taken This will include some questions about the type and pattern of your pain and stiffness Some questions that may be asked include How long have your symptoms lasted for How does the pain and stiffness feel when you wake up in the morning and how long does it take to subside What happens when you engage in physical activity or exercise How does the pain and stiffness respond to non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs NSAIDs Questions about your medical and family history will also be required Are there any special tests that are used to diagnose Ankylosing Spondylitis Your doctor will give you a thorough examination which will include assessing the areas where you are experiencing pain or inflammation determining how much spinal mobility you have and checking to see how far your chest can expand Your doctor may order some routine blood tests that tell us about your general well being and about inflammation in the body She he may order a specific blood test which

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