The two han­dled teapot and other clever gad­gets tackle arthri­tis

Irish Daily Mail - - Good Health - By MANDY FRAN­CIS

AROUND 750,000 peo­ple in Ire­land have some form of arthri­tis and live in pain caused by in­flam­ma­tion in the joints.

The most com­mon type is os­teoarthri­tis as a re­sult of wear and tear or in­jury which dam­ages smooth car­ti­lage tis­sue lining joints, mak­ing them stiff and painful.

Rheuma­toid arthri­tis, where the body’s im­mune sys­tem at­tacks the joints, is less com­mon but also leads to pain, swelling and ero­sion of the joint.

Both types can be ex­tremely painful and worsen over time, lead­ing to re­duced strength and flex­i­bil­ity in joints — and limit pa­tients’ in­de­pen­dence to do ev­ery­day tasks.

But a range of spe­cial­ist prod­ucts and gad­gets claim to ease the pain of sore, stiff joints or make life eas­ier for peo­ple with arthri­tis.

Here, Dr Tom Margham, a GP and spokesman for Arthri­tis Re­search UK as­sesses a se­lec­tion of these prod­ucts. We then rated them.

SOCK-AID EASY SOCK ON & OFF KIT

€46.15, sock-aid.com

THE Sock-Aid holds a sock open to make it eas­ier to get on and off. It looks like a tube sliced in half, hor­i­zon­tally. Slide your sock over the end and onto the tube, then place the Sock­Aid on the floor with the reach stick. You then slip your foot into the sock without bend­ing or us­ing your hands. The stick can also be used to re­move your socks.

EX­PERT VER­DICT: With arthri­tis, get­ting dressed can be very dif­fi­cult. Aids like this can be ben­e­fi­cial. The rod, which looks like a long han­dled shoe horn, can be use­ful for tak­ing socks off and for get­ting the gad­get off the floor. Be­cause arthri­tis af­fects peo­ple’s strength, flex­i­bil­ity and range of move­ments in very dif­fer­ent ways, you would need to try this out to see if it works for you. 4/5

MAG­NET THER­APY GLOVES

€11.29, stress­nomore. co.uk

THESE gloves have small mag­nets glued on them which are said to at­tract the iron in the blood and im­prove blood flow to re­lieve pain in the knuckles, fin­gers and wrists. They are made of ny­lon and Ly­cra so fit snugly and ap­ply com­pres­sion, which may help to re­duce in­flam­ma­tion and in­crease strength in the hands.

EX­PERT VER­DICT: Some rheuma­toid arthri­tis suf­fer­ers say com­pres­sion gloves can help to ease pain and swelling in their hands and give bet­ter grip.

How­ever, the gloves have to fit well if you want to see re­sults. Too tight, and they could cut off cir­cu­la­tion. Too loose, and you’re un­likely to see much ben­e­fit.

It would be best to get ad­vice on the most ap­pro­pri­ate gloves for you be­fore buy­ing on­line.

Al­though some say mag­nets ease their arthritic pain, there is no med­i­cal ev­i­dence to prove they work or im­prove cir­cu­la­tion. 1/5

HEALTHSPAN SU­PER STRENGTH ROSE HIP TABLETS

€17 for 90 tablets, healthspan.co.uk

TAKEN daily, this sup­ple­ment is said to pro­vide sup­port for ar­eas of the body sus­cep­ti­ble to wear and tear. Each tablet con­tains 500mg rose hip ex­tract.

EX­PERT VER­DICT: Rose hip ex­tract con­tains high lev­els of pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dants, which, re­search sug­gests, may help to ease joint in­flam­ma­tion and pre­vent dam­age for peo­ple with arthri­tis.

Other stud­ies sug­gest rose hip ex­tract can help re­duce en­zymes that break down car­ti­lage in the joints.

In other tri­als, tak­ing rose hip daily has been shown to help re­lieve pain. How­ever, they were short tri­als so it

is un­clear whether the ben­e­fits will be long term. po­ten­tial side-ef­fects in­clude di­ar­rhoea, con­sti­pa­tion and heart­burn, and some nu­tri­tional sup­ple­ments can in­ter­act with medion, so seek med­i­cal ad­vice be­fore tak­ing them. 3/5

EAMLAND INTELLIHEAT AT PAD

39.99, Boots

BILLED as ‘the mod­ern al­ter­na­tive to a hot wa­ter bot­tle’, this 40cm x 5cm, plug-in heat pad can be wrapped around any area of the body and has five heat set­tings to ease aches and pains.

EX­PERT VER­DICT: Many peo­ple with arthri­tis say heat ther­apy is use­ful in man­ag­ing their pain. Heat can boost blood flow and stim­u­late fluid pro­duc­tion, which lu­bri­cates and loosens stiff joints and mus­cles.

And it turns off af­ter three hours, which, if you use it in bed, means you don’t have to worry about re­mem­ber­ing to switch it off.

It's eas­i­est to use on larger ar­eas such as hips, back and shoul­ders. 4/5

VITABI­OTICS JOINTACE PATCH €14.99 for eight, Boots

YOU stick these ad­he­sive patches onto stiff joints: they’re in­fused with es­sen­tial oils as well as the nu­tri­ents glu­cosamine and chon­droitin, said to help re­gen­er­ate con­nec­tive tis­sue and car­ti­lage around joints.

EX­PERT VER­DICT: The aro­mather­apy oils may have a sup­port­ive, cool­ing ef­fect on in­flamed joints, but it’s hard to say what level of nu­tri­ents will be ab­sorbed through the skin and how ben­e­fi­cial they will be. How­ever, glu­cosamine and chon­droitin are im­por­tant for car­ti­lage elas­tic­ity and re­gen­er­a­tion. You might be bet­ter tak­ing them as an oral sup­ple­ment for three months to see if they work.

Ev­i­dence that they ease os­teoarthri­tis isn’t strong, but they may ben­e­fit some peo­ple. 2/5

TAP TURNERS €5.98, mur­rays.ie

RO­BUST plas­tic levers — one blue, one red — that fit over taps, to make them easy to turn. EX­PERT VER­DICT: Turn­ing a tap on and off can be painful and hard for arthritic hands. These help to re­duce the pres­sure needed to turn the wa­ter on and off — which could help to re­duce pain and dis­com­fort for the user. On the down side, they fit only one style of tap, and might slip off if han­dled clum­sily. 3/5

CELADRIN AC­CEL­ER­A­TOR BALM €21.42 for 50ml, stress­nomore.co.uk

CELADRIN is made from plant-based fatty acids, thought to have an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory and painre­liev­ing qual­i­ties. This has a higher celadrin con­tent than some other prod­ucts and has added men­thol for its sooth­ing prop­er­ties. It has been tested in tri­als and is said to re­duce car­ti­lage break­down in joints and ef­fects are said to be su­pe­rior to glu­cosamine, chon­droitin and other med­i­ca­tion.

EX­PERT VER­DICT: Pop­u­lar in the US, but rel­a­tively new here, this balm is de­signed to be ap­plied to aching joints and mus­cles. Al­though sev­eral sci­en­tific stud­ies have sug­gested fatty acid com­pounds can have a sig­nif­i­cant anti-in­flam­ma­tory ef­fect and im­prove move­ment in stiff, painful joints, more re­search is needed to prove if the ben­e­fits come from ac­tive in­gre­di­ents be­ing ab­sorbed through the skin, or whether the act of mas­sag­ing painful joints and mus­cles eases symp­toms. 1/5

WADE DIG­NITY TWO HAN­DLED TEAPOT

€15.95, ama­zon.co.uk

DE­VEL­OPED with Stir­ling Univer­sity, health­care pro­fes­sion­als and a panel of dis­abled peo­ple, this teapot (main pic­ture) has two large han­dles to help make grip­ping eas­ier and to steady it when pour­ing for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties such as arthri­tis.

EX­PERT VER­DICT: Mak­ing a cup of tea can be chal­leng­ing for any­one with pain and stiff­ness in the hands. This is de­signed to dis­trib­ute the weight of the pot across both han­dles so in the­ory, it’s eas­ier to lift and pour — and may help make this sim­ple, ev­ery­day task safer and less painful for some peo­ple with arthri­tis. The han­dles are quite wide, so there’s less chance of scald­ing your knuckles on the hot pot. 4/5

THE ORIG­I­NAL COP­PER HEELER IN­SOLES

€45, ama­zon.co.uk

THE the­ory is that cop­per can be ab­sorbed by the skin, and has an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory ef­fects, which may help re­lieve joint pain.

EX­PERT VER­DICT: These in­soles are very thin and sit dis­creetly in your shoe, fas­tened on the un­der­side with Vel­cro pads to make sure they don’t slip when walk­ing.

Many peo­ple with arthri­tis wear cop­per bracelets or shoe in­serts to re­duce pain or stiff­ness, but there’s no ev­i­dence that arthri­tis is caused by a short­age of cop­per in your body, or that cop­per of­fers any med­i­cal ben­e­fit to suf­fer­ers.

That said, items like these can have a placebo ef­fect, and they’re per­fectly safe to wear — if pricey. 2/5

EASI-GRIP GAR­DEN TROWEL

€18, wheel­chair so­lu­tions.ie

A TROWEL with an upright han­dle that of­fers bet­ter grip as it keeps the hand and wrist at a nat­u­ral an­gle to min­imise strain and pain.

EX­PERT VER­DICT: If you have arthri­tis, it’s im­por­tant to keep mov­ing to main­tain mobility in the long term. Ex­er­cise such as light gar­den­ing is great for this and for build­ing mus­cle: strong mus­cles sup­port joints, while weak mus­cles can ex­ac­er­bate the im­pact of arthri­tis.

The non-slip, ver­ti­cal han­dle could make the grip more com­fort­able and the po­si­tion your hand is in when you use the trowel should take some strain off the wrist. 4/5

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