5 Ways to Be Productive With Chronic Illness

Learn how to keep a schedule and get things done despite chronic pain.

5 Ways to Be Productive With Chronic Illness

Being productive is important for people with chronic illness because it is an opportunity to focus on anything but their illnesses. However, schedules and goals can be difficult to accomplish when you are constantly dealing with symptoms. But just because it may be challenging to be productive with illness doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Here are five ways that help me to remain productive with chronic illness.

1. I maintain a daily schedule.

Being chronically ill can be unpredictable. I never know whether tomorrow or next week or even an hour from now I will be able to do what I planned. As soon as my symptoms attack, my schedule can change. But just because a daily schedule may not always fit into my life, it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have a schedule. In fact, maintaining a daily routine for my work, errands, household chores, and hobbies provides feelings of stability despite the chaos and uncertainty illness often brings.

Read more at http://www.chronicpainconnect.com/chronic-pain-articles/310-5-ways-to-be-productive-with-chronic-illness#EMcWQ59lHxEY3zWf.97

What’s Wrong With Me?

What has been your diagnosis journey? Our patient advocate Lana describes hers.

What’s Wrong With Me?

If you were reading a book or watching a movie about a person with a disease, the main character’s chronic illness would have some dramatic beginning: a fall, an accident, a lump, or a call from the doctor about a test result. But in real life, chronic illness doesn’t always work that way. In fact, most of us got sick gradually and then suddenly. We usually can’t pinpoint an event in our lives when the onset of symptoms started.

My Story

When I tell my story, I tell people I have been sick for a long time—long before any doctor diagnosed me. I identify the start of my symptoms by looking back at my mid-20s when I had to overcome some of the most stressful events of my life. Shortly after, I developed debilitating fatigue and always felt like I was coming down with the flu. I look back at the years that followed, when I endured muscle and joint pain, headaches, and unrelenting chronic fatigue.

When no medical tests gave answers, I was given medication for anxiety and depression. At some point, my doctors made me believe that my symptoms were all in my head. And another benchmark came in 2006 when my gallbladder stopped functioning.

Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/468-what-s-wrong-with-me?category=treatment

When It Feels Like You Have Done It All

Learning to stay hopeful as you experience frustration and exhaustion from living with rheumatoid arthritis.

When It Feels Like You Have Done It All

Living with a chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis or lupus, can be very frustrating. There is no one size fits all solution. Even when patients are following doctor’s orders, they can still struggle to manage their disease symptoms. And when treatments aren’t working, patients are left to wonder if they should just give up.

At the End of Your Rope

I suspect that many of you have reached a point where it feels as if you are tired, frustrated and at the end of your rope because the things you are doing to feel better just aren’t enough. Here is a typical comment I hear:

“I am in my 30s (or 40s or 50s), overweight, and living with depression, anxiety and worsening chronic illness symptoms despite proper diet, exercise and medication. I have tried everything under the sun to get my symptoms under control but I have had no luck. I am tired of not seeing results, getting my hopes up and going to all of the doctor’s appointments. What do you do when you feel like you have done it all to no avail?”

Like so many, I have left no stone unturned in moving towards a somewhat normal life where chronic illness does not dictate my actions. There have been times where I, too, have wanted to give up trying to figure out how to get well. And there have been times where I have flat out given up—for a little while, at least.

Read more at http://www.rheumatoidconnect.com/rheumatoid-arthritis-articles/178-when-it-feels-like-you-have-done-it-all#bg2zkPGB3YHzsYs2.99

Topical Pain Agents for Pain Relief

Learn your topical treatment options to manage painful arthritis.

Topical Pain Agents for Pain Relief

When you’re experiencing pain in your joints and muscles, topical pain relievers are a good alternative for pain management. These medications are delivered through a variety of dosage forms, including patches, gels, lotions, creams, sprays, and ointments. Topical agents have been used for decades to help prevent and treat a wide variety of health conditions, including pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions.

Topical pain medications are absorbed through the skin and are best for relieving joint and muscle pain close to the skin’s surface, including the hands, elbows, knees and feet. If you are reluctant to take pills, you may opt for an over-the-counter cream or patch or to have your doctor prescribe a stronger topical medication.

What are your options? And will they work to manage your pain?

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Agents

Diclofenac is a topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication available for topical pain management. Diclofenac is available in both patch and solution/gel formulas. The patch (Flector Patch) was first approved by the FDA in 1998 and can be used for the treatment of sprains and strains, but the solution/gel (Voltaren Gel) was designed for arthritis pain. Diclofenac works by reducing substances that cause inflammation and pain in the body. It is only available as a prescription and carries the same risk as other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Read more at http://www.arthritisconnect.com/arthritis-articles/616-topical-pain-agents-for-pain-relief#mkOeL8LsA7qZOKgm.99

Understanding Bursitis and Tendinitis and the Higher Risk for Arthritis Patients

Arthritis increases your risk for bursitis and tendinitis

Understanding Bursitis and Tendinitis and the Higher Risk for Arthritis Patients

Bursitis and Tendinitis are two very common musculoskeletal conditions that cause swelling around the bones and muscles. Bursitis is usually caused by overuse of a joint or direct trauma to a joint. Often, it occurs at the knee or elbow and can be a result of kneeling or leaning for long periods on hard surfaces. Tendinitis is most associated with repetitive movement or injury to the affected areas. Both these conditions are common as we age when tendons become less flexible and more prone to injury. Infections, diabetes and arthritis can also bring about inflammation that causes bursitis and tendinitis.


Bursitis is a condition that affects the bursae. The bursae are the pads that act as cushions between the tendons, muscles and bones. The most affected joints are those that perform the most frequent movement, such as elbows and shoulders. Bursitis can also affect other parts of the body, including the feet.

Read more at http://www.arthritisconnect.com/arthritis-articles/613-understanding-bursitis-and-tendinitis-and-the-higher-risk-for-arthritis-patients#Db44yOWiiYCYhDIK.99

5 Types of People We All Meet Living With Chronic Illness

From skeptics to know-it-alls to helpers, here are the people you face as you live with fibromyalgia and how to deal with them.

5 Types of People We All Meet Living With Chronic Illness

No one knows your chronic illness better than you do, yet you find that everyone has an opinion about what you are going through.

I have been chronically ill for almost seven years now and the most life-changing aspects of my chronic illnesses have been linked to specific types of people. I have found that others are responsible for some of the best lessons I have learned — good and bad — without even knowing it.

Here are five types of people we all meet living with chronic illness.

Type 1: The Skeptics

I look perfectly healthy. I could sit across from someone for hours and they may not see a single symptom raging behind my chitchat and smiles. I can feel well and productive for hours and then be curled up in pain, nauseated, dizzy and weak for the next several hours or days. That is difficult for most people to understand, imagine or even believe. And living with chronic illness, chances are you have dealt with people who refuse to believe you are sick or the extent of how sick you are. How do you deal with the skeptics in your life?

Be clear and confident when you address the skeptics and never apologize for their doubt. If people continue to question you, the best thing you can do is not share details of your health with them. If they are more trouble then they are worth, feel free to remove them from your life altogether.

Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/457-5-types-of-people-we-all-meet-living-with-chronic-illness#fkIVMUd5Mrf1wTav.99

Moving Past the “Why Me?” Question

Moving Past the "Why Me?" Question

When you live with a chronic illness and all its related discomforts, “Why me?” is a question you ask often. Being sick is a personal thing, especially when it feels like you are being punished. If we feel pain and we feel as if we are suffering, then we ask this question.

But we don’t ask it when good things happen. Could you imagine saying, “Why me?” when it comes to happy events in your life? With illness and suffering, we have this tendency to believe that we did something to bring it upon ourselves. Additionally, we want an explanation for our pain and suffering and what we believe (mentally and spiritually) determines the extent of that suffering.

A Personal Example

When I was about nine years old, my mom was walking and was hit by a car. The next six months to a year of our lives involved watching her struggle to regain control of her body and there were times where it took its toll on her. As a kid, I never understood the extent that her pain had on us. She struggled, but she still managed to take care of us, spend time with us, make us meals, clean our home, etc. She did all these things despite her own ordeal, but we still saw the toll it took on her. I wonder if she ever asked “Why me?” Perhaps, she didn’t or maybe I wasn’t listening when she did. And if she did, was she ever able to answer that question? As an adult, I can recall her pain but as a child, I do not recalling asking “Why my mom?”

Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/19-moving-past-the-why-me-question#16zaT4kIEtg4Y2Py.99

The Link between Domestic Violence and Chronic Illness

Domestic abuse puts prolonged stress on the body, which can lead to all sorts of chronic diseases including fibromyalgia.

The Link between Domestic Violence and Chronic Illness

According to a global study, 30 percent of women are impacted by intimate partner, domestic or sexual abuse. It takes a lot for women to leave abusive relationships and to rise as survivors. Unfortunately, however, many of these women end up having health problems down the road, such as lower back pain, headaches, depression, diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and other diseases. Many women and their doctors do not necessarily connect abuse with illness, but the research speaks for itself.

The Research

A 2013 study conducted by the Verizon Foundation, the MORE Magazine Society and the Society for Women’s Health Research found that women who had experienced domestic abuse experienced higher rates of chronic illness and pain than those who had not. According to the survey, 44 percent of the women had reported experiencing some form of domestic violence. In total, 70 percent of women over age 21 had a chronic illness condition, and, of the women who reported being victims of domestic violence, 81 percent were chronically ill.

Read more at http://www.fibromyalgiaconnect.com/fibromyalgia-articles/460-the-link-between-domestic-violence-and-chronic-illness#Q2SETvJH5AomQGZG.99