Today is Thursday 27th July 2017.

Coping with PMR and GCA: Hints, tips and strategies

YOUR COPING STORIES Send Us Your Strategies Please send in your strategies for coping and state signature for website: your name, initials or anon, and area or town, as you wish. Our email address is info.scotland@pmrandgca.org.uk


PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE ARE NOT MEDICAL INSTRUCTIONS BUT DESCRIPTIONS OF STRATEGIES INDIVIDUALS HAVE FOUND HELPFUL


Cold wrists?

Maybe from some form of arthritis where you would like something to keep them warm but not gloves? I found this 'easy' knitting pattern (free) for fingerless gloves. It says you can create them in 2 hours but as an inexperienced knitter it took me more like 20 but according to the friend I knitted them for, well worth the effort. After the first pair she gave me feedback so I adapated the pattern slightly. 

She said the thumb was tight and could I cast off looser, so I cast off with bigger kneedles (that worked). She also would have liked the length up to the fingers to be longer so I added another 6 rows of ribbing (that worked too!). I also made the initial wrist bit longer - five inches rather than three - so that they could tuck inside sleeves.

To link to the website CLICK HERE and you can then download the pattern.

Bea


"In managing her condition my mother has found another tip, not included in the leaflets but which may help other sufferers, if they have not already discovered it for themselves. My mother keeps freezer packs (the kind used to keep picnic cold boxes cold) in the freezer and applies them to her leg etc when the muscle spasms occur in the night. She usually takes one out and has it handy by the bed and the rest in the freezer. This application of cold reduces the severity and the duration of the pain which, as you know, is excruciating. We are always on the lookout for thin packs as these are easier to apply but she has found this invaluable." AB Middlesex


"Do plenty deep breathing with your gentle morning exercises, and drink water when you remember! I also give various muscles a nice rub whenever I think of it. Also, just accept a less active lifestyle and above all dont fret about it! There is plenty we older folk can still do to keep busy and satisfied. Finally, don't take it out on your families! I always say "fine" when asked, because then one attracts Fine energies, and feels fine too! And they are less likely to worry, because there's nothing they can do anyway!" MB Kenya


A Daily Tonic This is a little tonic Daily to be taken, With essential ingredients Stirred but not shaken. Take a good measure of hope Add positive thought, Mix well with courage Blend faith in the lot. Pour in perseverance This essence a must, Sprinkle in laughter Then savour with trust. M.D. Dundee. -


Miscellaneous Hints We are all aware that reorganising our cupboards and drawers so that the items used most often are to hand, cutting out the bending and stretching, which are fine as gentle exercises but not when you’re in a hurry.

  • Don’t try to lift heavy pots; Take a small container to the pot and remove desired quantity.
  • Get a long handled brush for doing hair when you can’t lift your hands above shoulder height.
  • Same styled brush can be used for feet in shower. If shower is over bath, put in plug so feet get a soak.
  • A laundry trolley is a great boon if you dry clothes outside. One end of a large item can remain in the trolley while you struggle to attach the other end to line. **This idea will only work when our condition is less severe.
  • Use a grab or walking stick to help smooth the duvet in place on the bed.
    • When things are really bad and dressing is a problem, ladies,
    • try to use garments which fasten down the front and don’t have to go over the head.
    • Slit nighties down the front and pants down the sides, and put on some fasteners or better still Velcro.
  • For those kind friends who say, “Just tell me how I can help”, suggest they do the above conversions and you’ll soon find out if they really mean what they say!
  • Use low energy bulbs because they are unlikely to need replacing, thus avoiding the temptation to climb on a chair or steps.
  • For those who have a weakened grip on pens, for example, special grips can be bought to fit over the stem. At least one supermarket is stocking retractable pens with rubberised stems.
  • For removing caps and tops from bottles etc., an ordinary green scouring pad can be more beneficial than some of the special gadgets available.
  • A good coating of nail-hardener can be effective for splitting finger and toe nails – repeating every few weeks.
  • When you feel you could cope with a little weeding, use two kneeling pads side by side and simply move across from A to B, then put A on the right side of B ready for the next move and so on.
  • **This avoids getting up and down until you come to the end of a row. An upturned box placed at the end of the row before you start and on which you can lean is helpful.
  • If a duster is too heavy try a feather duster.
  • Take life day by day and don’t dwell on yesterday if it was a bad day.
  • Look forward in hope.
  • Diversion therapy: e.g. hobbies.
  • Pamper yourself occasionally. You deserve it!
  • Gentle exercise, stretching the limbs even when sitting.

When I wake up in the morning I lay for a while and ask myself where the pain is today. Sometimes it’s in my hands and arms and sometimes in the thighs and hips. I no longer question why it's where it is. What did I do yesterday that caused this? I accept it is where it is and decide what tasks I will be able to carry out today with the pain in that part of my body. When fatigue engulfs me I lie down, even if it’s only for 15 mins. I don't necessarily sleep. Just lying down can help to rejuvenate. To keep my muscles exercised I walk as fast as PMR will allow for about 2 miles on the flat twice per week. Also I attend aquafit classes twice per week. I highly recommend swimming and aquafit for PMR. It really helps to loosen up the muscles and gives you back some control of your body.


Helpful Ideas and Activities

  • Hydrotherapy
  • Setting targets
  • Be content with what you can do each day, e.g. taking 3 days to do 1 hour’s ironing.
  • Pacing yourself (not easy when you’re feeling good).
  • Take frequent rests.
  • Change activities so that you’re not using and possibly tiring the same muscles.
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Walking - even just a short walk every day.
  • Gardening -you are at home and can rest whenever necessary.
  • Meditation -many find this very helpful and there are lots of CDs available.
  • Relaxation - there’s a wide selection of CDs available
  • Don’t try to do too much but don’t give up, keep trying.
  • Do something that you enjoy that isn’t energetic when energy levels are low e.g. reading, listening to music, watching TV.
  • **Use it as a learning opportunity. I learned that there were TV programmes which I could enjoy. I even learned that there could be two on at the same time. So I learned to record and even to play back. It can even be good for a marriage! I learned to accept help (not easy) and my husband learned to give help for years without a complaint. **

OTHER ORGANISATIONS

Carers Trust Scotland provides information and support for carers and disabled people. 

Arthritis Care Scotland run Self-Management courses for 'Challenging Your Condition' and 'Challenging Pain'.