Monday, October 8, 2007

Living and Thriving with Arthritis

A couple of weeks ago we started a blog series on arthritis. Since then we have chatted with many on this topic, especially those who come through the store. We focus this time on a discussing how people cope with arthritis. We got many ideas from those we have spoken with and from the purchases people make.

For some people the focus is on staying limber, moving, exercising through the pain and discomfort with the hope of reducing the inflammation and keeping it under control. Many pain specialists advocate this approach. If you are able to move, they say, do it. Walk, bicycle, swim, dance, stretch. Lift weights carefully and under some supervision. We have seen a increase in the purchase of the Pro-Flex Foot Flexor, for example. This is an easy-to-use tool that gives you seven different stretching activities for your feet and legs that you can do even while sitting! It travels well, too, and might be a life-saving activity to do on the plane, for that matter, to avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or the conditions that can lead to the development of this condition. (DVT is a condition where a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the leg. DVT can cause pain and may lead to complications such as pulmonary embolism.)

Resistance bands are another easy tool to add to your stretching regimen. We sell them in precut lengths and strengths to make it even easier. Try out a number of strengths to figure out which level you are currently at. Work with that one for a while, alternating with a band of the next strength lower and higher. This practice ensures that you will give your muscles a full range of flexing, resting your muscle and challenging it with the easier and harder strengths.

There are many others we spoke with over these past couple of weeks who are simply in too much pain right now and are working on getting some relief. Pain creams, such as BioFreeze, are popular. We found a Colorado product we simply adore that we think out performs BioFreeze. Pain Wizard is the creation of Bill and Mikel Kleess, a Johnstown, Colorado couple. They have mixed together natural healing herbs to create a powerful effect on the muscles and joints. We usually suggest rubbing some on your sore spot while you walk around the store. Inevitably, by the time you have browsed around a bit you find your ache has subsided. I’ve used it after an especially hard workout, or after hours working in the yard. I have a bit of arthritis in one of my toes. I generally rub Pain Wizard on before I go to sleep. It does the trick. Based on our own experience, we think Pain Wizard should be in your tool bag for combating arthritis pain.

Another significant weapon in the fight against arthritis is the Swede-O Thermoskin gloves.
This glove is anatomically designed to provide warmth and compression to offer relief of pain and discomfort in the fingers and hands for arthritis and repetitive pain sufferers. The outer fabric is made of a non-slip material that provides added grip. The glove is secured with a velcro fastening.

Thermoskin increases elasticity of muscles, tendons and ligaments to reduce the risk of injury when under stress and strain. It is clinically proven to increase surface skin and subcutaneous temperature between 2-3 ° F, the optimal level to make tendons and muscles more pliable and elastic to provide optimal muscle function. Just recently a young woman with lupus came in looking for something to help the aching and chill in her hands. The Thermoskin glove seemed to be the perfect solution.

Other types of relief popular with our customers include soaking in soothing baths with Nuwati Herbal Wash My Pain Away Bath Salts. These bath salts contain sea salt, epsom salt, baking soda, seven herbs and three essential oils. Early Native people bathed daily, year around, in streams, lakes, or at home. Even in winter, people would bathe in the water of a local river. "Going to the water" is a sacred ceremony of the Tsalagi (Cherokee) people. Sipping tea is a balm for many who suffer chronic pain. See our previous blog on teas and check our Events section for upcoming seminars and workshops on tea, pain control and other topics.

Let us know what you do to live and thrive with arthritis. Post your comments, send us an email, or stop by if you are in the Denver area and tell us your story.

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