Alleviating Pain from Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Alleviating Pain from Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

My name is Erin and here's my history:

• Born with Rheumatoid Juvenile Arthritis – Diagnosed at 9 months old

• Specific joints affected (right ankle, left wrist, neck, etc.)

• Childhood was a rollercoaster of remissions and flare-ups

• Practiced ballet for 6-7 years to keep flexible

• Last bad flare-up was 1996 when I was a senior in high school Recently

• Married in 2002 while left knee the size of a bowling ball; I needed cortisone shots and tennis shoes to make it down the aisle

• Left knee and neck joint continued to cause problems, but no major flare-ups Then. . .

• In November, 2005 I began experiencing a different kind of pain in my neck, shoulders, arms, and back down to my hips

• Rheumatologist does tons of tests, and determines it is not my arthritis this time

• In February, 2006 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and hypermobility disorder

• Unable to work – I was a marketing analyst typing for 8+ hours a day; Now, typing for more than 20 minutes starts causing severe pain

• I was having upwards of 4-5 migraines per week, some weeks everyday I had one

• My stomach wasn’t functioning correctly- no solid stools for 2+ months

• Doctor prescribed Celebrex (anti-inflammatory), muscle relaxers to help me sleep, and Vicodin and Lidocain patches for pain

• From February to June, I was taking 800-1200 mg of Vicodin per day just to be somewhat comfortable and sometimes more on migraine days Now

• I started coming to American Physical Therapy in June, 2006 and learned breathing exercises right away

• The medicines being prescribed by my rheumatologist were no more than band-aids, not curing my problem just alleviating the symptoms

• Breathing seemed like a perfect alternative

• Started out doing 5 minutes of each breathing exercise 2 times per day and slowly built up to my current 15 minutes of each of the three exercises 2 times per day

• I am down to averaging 3 migraines per week, my stomach is already about 50% more normal and my stiffness is minimized

• Down to 400-800 mg of Vicodin on an average day and less pain patches, and some days I don’t need any medicine!

• I was told when I was diagnosed that I would probably never work again, and now my doctor thinks I may be ready to go back part-time in 2007!

Three Great Things about Breathing

• You can do it anywhere: All you need is yourself and the proper motivation

• It’s free: Unlike medicines, breathing costs me nothing!

• It’s a great stress reliever: If your sick, your stressed about medical bills, disability claims, etc. Breathing helps relax me through these trying times.