It seems that I have read recently a variety of opinions on the effects of barometric pressure and weather on those of us with the challenges of osteoarthritis. Some physicians, as well as laymen, (and lots of patients) feel that high pressure systems really have an effect on their pain levels. Others seem to feel that they are more sensitive to low barometric pressure. I’ve also heard a lot of discussions recently on sleep problems affecting pain levels--but also pain levels affecting sleep! Then there’s the trillion discussions on which over-the-counter and which prescriptions are most beneficial. With a multitude of ointments, creams, salves, balms, and other topicals on the market, which one will cure you (or at least help)?
Of course there are a lot of really “unique” suggestions from everyone—your next door neighbor, your friendly grocer, the mailman, even advice from Great Aunt Sue (who passed away from a different problem 12 years ago!) I’m sure most of my fellow patients have tried at least one bizarre “cure-all”—some of the old-fashioned remedies sound interesting, but I’m not always willing to invest money (or time) in experimenting with my body’s challenges!
I suppose, for me at least, the frustration comes from the fact that there seems to be no “absolute” with osteoarthritis, or any other form of arthritis. With my OA, there is no “always.” Sometimes, high pressure systems seem to exacerbate my problems, sometimes not. Sometimes low pressure systems make me hurt worse, but not always. Mobic helped me with pain management for awhile, but when my insurance insisted I switch to the generic for that product when it was developed, it didn’t seem to help me at all (maybe my body’s just a “snob”).
Capsazin creams seem to help some people, but have had little effect with me. I’ve used Bio-Freeze at times and it seemed to help me, but when I raved to a friend, she said she could have just as well have brushed her teeth with it, because it didn’t help her aches and pains at all! Out of curiosity, I purchased a well-known blue cream the other day with Emu oil, Aloe, and glucosamine. It really helped—I think ONLY because I deeply massaged it into my leg that was fractured during surgery for Total Hip Replacement #2 (they also somehow managed to cut the tendon in the iliotibial channel---leaving me with a hamstring problem). The Emu cream was a lovely color, but I question whether I couldn’t have received the same benefits from massaging peanut butter (creamy, not crunchy) deeply into my leg—at least my dog would have LOVED it!
My second artificial hip is doing just fine, thank you. After having a TON of deep muscle massage to stimulate tendon and muscle regeneration in my thigh, my physical therapist released me with the direction to continue ham string stretches, leg-strengthening exercises and my warm water therapy. Daily, GENTLE workouts were strengthening my leg, and helping. THEN, for no known reason at all, the shearing pain returned! Frustration is my middle name!
So, with my osteoarthritis (and I think that I’m not unique), there’s no “always!” Some meds help me, SOMETIMES. Some creams, lotions, etc. MAY help relieve the pain at times. I have trouble sleeping because I’m in pain—my pain is worse because I have trouble sleeping. Out of desperation (and hope)—I WILL continue my daily prescribed exercises and warm water therapy. I’ll keep listening to knowledgeable people, attend lectures, and read what’s new and available regarding my personal challenges. I will continue to be very active in our Arthritis Association—I strongly feel that I want and need to dedicate my time with a group needing funding for research for a cure for arthritis.
I’ve already “got it,” but my prayers are that medical developments may keep my eight young grand-children from suffering the same enigma!