Folksy Ltd

Rheumatoid arthritis - advice please

(Mandi Wilson) #1

After about 12 years of suffering hip pain, back pain and neck and shoulder pain 10 days ago two fingers on my right hand started. I’m gutted. I’ve now been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. I love doing my teddies and crafts. All my teddies and hand stitched. All their accessories are hand made too. Fimo cakes, biscuits, slugs and veggies etc. At this moment in time I feel my life is over.

Is there anyone out there who can offer me any advice on how to cope with the pain and stiffness and continue to do my crafts? I don’t want to close my folksy shop but what’s the point if I can’t make my teddies in the future.

Sorry if I sound self pitying. I try to keep upbeat but this has knocked me for six. I can cope with the pain in my big joints but my hands!!! I need my hands for the work I do and love.

(Roz) #2

So sorry to hear that Mandi @mandielliottwilson. Arthritis runs in my family and my hips and knees often cause me difficulties and my knuckles are swollen but as yet not painful although I dread the day :(.

Have you been prescribed any medication - it can take a while to kick in so it may help eventually. I know many sufferers find the cold weather affects their joints so maybe try keeping your hands warm with gloves. Paracetamol and ibuprofen can help and can be taken along side each other (take alternate doses every 2 hours instead of every four hours) - not a good long term solution as you don’t want to be overloading your system with painkillers but perhaps just while you are working if it is particularly bad. You can also get pain relieving gels that you can rub directly onto the skin over the affected joints. I know it sounds mad but depending on which fingers are affected could you strap them and try to work just using the remaining fingers - it might be slow to start with but its amazing how quickly you will adapt to a new style of working. Is there anyone you can ask to help you with the really fiddly bits? I know someone who loves making things but there is one bit she just can’t manage so she joined a craft group and made a friend who helps her out with that.

I hope you manage to find a solution. You may have to accept that you won’t be quite as speedy and there may be days that you can’t work. Your teddies are lovely - good luck.

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(DTcabinetmaker) #3

Hi, Just to back up the other reply are you on any proper medication (ie not just painkillers or anti inflamatories)? I have psoriatic rather than rheumatoid arthritis but I also have a consultant! You have to get past the GP (painkillers and hope it and you go away) and get to see a rheumatologist (telling your GP that it’s affecting your ability to work seems to be a trigger). Once you see a specialist there’s a ton of stuff that can be done, different meds (actually for the treatment of arthritis not pain), physiotherapy all sorts and VERY effective! But you have to get to the people that know what they’re talking about. And do it now - symtoms can be reversed and any lasting damage avoided if you get on with it! I have one permanently disfigured finger joint which my consultant fumed about because it could have been sorted out easily had I got to see them sooner!

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(Mandi Wilson) #4

Thank you both for all your advice. At the moment I’m on strong painkillers which knock me out. I feel like a zombie. Last year the doctor put me on nypoxin ( think that’s how it’s spelt). However they caused me to have an enlarged liver and so now I can’t take any anti inflammatory tablets. I’m booked in for an x ray on my hand next Friday then I’m back at the doctors the week after. I just can’t believe how it’s affected me. I feel so depressed. I will ask the doctor to refer me to a rheumatologist as at the moment I can’t even tie my own shoe laces or use a knife never mind using a needle and cotten. Thank you once again for your advice. I really appreciate it. Xx

(DTcabinetmaker) #5

honestly it’s a different world when you see a specialist, I’ve had it for 10 years and I’m fine, I rarely even think about it - I had one course of drugs (methotrixate - apparently either works wonders or does nothing, nothing in my case) And now sulphasalazine - virtually symptom free

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(Mandi Wilson) #6

Hi David
Thank you for your comments. They’ve lifted my spirits no end. Hopefully I’ll be given something that’ll work for me. I will definitely ask the doctor to refer me to a rheumatologist asap. Xx

(Julie Maginn) #7

Have a look at They may be able to help. We are all sufferers in one way or another in my house and I have found some very useful information from them. I know it’s miserable but you mustn’t give in to it. xx

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(Mandi Wilson) #8

Thank you. I will take a look at that website. My doctor had told me not to look on the internet as he said there’s a lot of horror stories on there so I haven’t. I will look at this site though. I think this latest attack has plunged me into a depression as this time it’s my hands. It’s bad enough shuffling down the high street being taken over by people twice my age… now I can’t tie my own laces. You’re right though. I can’t let it beat me. I do feel more uplifted than I did earlier. I will find a way to continue making my bears. I have a few orders to finish but hopefully I’ll get them done in time. Thank you all for taking the time to reply to me. Xx

(Gloria Dean) #9

Have you thought of trying Qigong or Tai Chi Kelly. The gentle hand exercises can really help relieve pain and help prevent much of the stiffness if used correctly. I understand how you must feel but don’t give up. Best wishes, Gloria

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(Susannah Ayre) #10

My neighbour was diagnosed with the same thing about a year ago- she ended up taking early retirement because of it and became really depressed.
Like other people have said she was referred and eventually ended up on some medication that actually works for her- it took a couple of months to get the dose right. But in April she went to Peru and climbed Macchu Picchu and came back and began working part time again- she is fine now as she has it under control.
She also thanks taking Thai chi and then yoga.

I also do a yoga class once a week where a few of the ladies there have the same thing and they find it helps keep them flexible & allows them to live normally.

So don’t give up hope!! :blush:

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(PaulsJewels) #11

Sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I have only had a quick scan of comments so sorry if this is duplicated. My mother suffers from arthritus too and several of my friends they are on medications from the doctor. Also as your income is at least partially based on using your hands you may qualify for some of the more expensive treatments doctors dont like offering due to costs. There are slow drip infusion treatments for arthritis for one that i know of every 8 weeks of so. (Just to clarify i am NOT medically qualified or anything, but have been on the medication myself for a different inflammation problem) My mum and all my friends now also use a aromatherapy rub on their sore areas and all have said it helps and returned to the seller for repeat orders. There are loads of people out there who offer tailor made blends etc. I do know of one person who makes it but in interests of not being pushy then unless you message me directly i wont share their details.

On a personal note, i have 3 auto immune diseases, and several other activity limiting condtions now too. Its hard, good days and bad. Perhaps you could rest up some days and make the most of your good days? It works for me, but we are all different. I really do hope you find something to help/that works for you.

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(Mandi Wilson) #12

Thank you Gloria.
I’ve not heard of them but I will definitely look at them now. This thread has really given me a boost and I feel much more positive than I did. It was the thought that I might have to give up doing my crafts that I found so upsetting. It takes a couple of days for me to make a teddy as they’re so small and figgley and I was thinking I’d have to give them up but now I’m going to sit back, relax and rest my hand for a couple of days. I may even watch some christmas movies lol.

(Brenda Cumming) #13

I have arthritis too, not sure what kind, as I don’t “DO” doctors…my hands and wrists used to be painful but all of a sudden I find that they have improved. I do tend to rub in Aloe Vera gel when I can and refuse to be beaten. I gave up crochet for a couple of years but have decided to continue and ignore what “might” happen…
Keep going if you can.
I thought that I would never knit or crochet again and now I am doing both again, as well as my painting.
Determination for your love of making teddies will help.
I don;t take any medication and never have, having seen family members start with one tablet and then end up with dozens of them…that is not for me. You have to decide which road you want to take, we are each different…I just hope that you can continue with your crafting…fight!

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(Julie Maginn) #14

I have just remembered something my mum uses for her hands, arthritis gloves. You can get all sorts of different ones some with copper or magnets. They are fingerless and also provide gentle compression and warmth. They sell them on amazon if you do a search on there and read the reviews. My mum has very bad arthritis in her hands and they do help her. There are a lot of things out there and it is a bit of trial and error finding what suits you. I find a mix of medication and alternative things works for me but being positive is definitely the best medicine you can give your self. I know when I let myself wallow my pain feels worse. If you can’t do your crafting one day definitely do something else you enjoy - Christmas movies definitely high up on my list of things to cheer me up!!:smiley:

(Mandi Wilson) #15

Wow… Thanks everyone for your replies. I will definitely try all your suggestions. I especially like the sound of the compression gloves @DewDropCrafts it sounds like they may just give my hands a bit of extra support. I’ve also been reading up about aspertain arthritis.!!! It makes an interesting read. I’ve been on a diet for years and I’ve used low fat sugar free products in all that time. Everything from sugar free mints, diet coke even light youghurts. I’m going to try and cut aspertain out of my diet. I’ll let you all know if there’s any improvement… xx

(Brenda Cumming) #16

I remember many years ago reading an article on the actor James Coburn…he was told that he had Rheumatoid arthritis and would be in a wheelchair within the year. He went for allergy tests and they found things he was allergic to. When he cut them from his diet his arthritis disappeared.
I also have a dear friend who was given the same diagnosis when she was 40 but told the doctor that no way was she going in a wheelchair…she just continued doing what she loved, crafting knitting, dashing around and now at 71 is still not in a wheelchair…and STILL crafting.

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(David Stott) #17

I know some people will call me crazy, but here goes.
I started to suffer with arthritis shortly after I retired 13 years ago, in my fingers and knee caps. I can’t remember how it happened, but I started taking Omega 3 fish oil tablets, I will admit it takes about two months of constant medication, 1 X 1000ml tablet a day, but it worked and rarely have any problems these days.
I must admit I keep stopping and starting the process.
I am now 76 years of age and still love knitting and my latest hobby is working with beads.

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(Gloria Dean) #18

Oh dear! I called you ‘Kelly’ Mandi….:grinning: I am glad you are feeling better and hope you give Tai Chi a go. Search Tai Chi for arthritis. Scientific studies have proven it helps. Best wishes, Gloria

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(ClarkJewellery) #19

I have been trying the Clint Paddison diet for the past 5 months for Arthritis and have found it really useful in controlling inflammation of the joints. Its a bit of an upheaval at first completely changing the way you eat but I have found that I feel loads better and have much more energy. My joints are no longer inflamed and the pain in my joints is lessening every day. As a bonus, I have lost 2 stone and my hair, skin and eyes all look better too. I am taking less paracetamol than I did and hope to be able to stop taking painkillers completely within a year. It’s worth looking into
See for more info.

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