I am pleased to say New Pathways issue 108 is now landing on doormats across the country! As always we have a packed issue, full of all the latest multiple sclerosis (MS) news and research, including drug updates and the latest cannabis study findings.
As the sunshine begins to make an appearance, we get topical with lots on vitamin D. MSer Ian Cook puts vitamin D tablets and sprays to the test (see page 30) and Kahn Johnson reveals what happened when his vitamin D levels became toxic on page 16.
Also in this issue, MS Nurse Miranda Olding discusses sexual dsyfunction and what can be done to help (page 14) and we have the big interview with the star of Channel 4 programme 'The Search for a Miracle Cure' Mark Lewis (page 24).
I hope you enjoy reading this issue, and please do email me your comments and letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor, New Pathways
P.S. Don't forget New Pathways is available to read on the go. Download the My MS-UK app from the App store on your phone or tablet device today!
On Monday 13 November Nileema (our Counselling Coordinator) and myself went along to the MS Trust conference in Hinckley, Leicester!
The MS Trust is a UK charity that produce multiple sclerosis (MS) information and support MS specialist health professionals. This year they celebrated their 21st annual conference, welcoming some 300 guests to learn, share expertise and focus on improving care for people living with MS.
We went along to seminars about sharing best practice and understanding MS and mental health. At the plenary session we learnt more about high risk MS drugs and keeping safe, as well as understanding and supporting risk perception to people with MS. All of the speakers were excellent, and it was a fantastic day.
Nileema and I also spoke to people about our new service – MS-UK Counselling. This is a brand new telephone counselling service for people living with MS in the UK. You can find out more and register on our website at www.ms-uk.org/counselling.
Thank you to the MS Trust for making us feel so welcome, and thank you to all of the MS professionals who stopped by our stand and chatted with us.
Looking forward to next year’s conference!
No one should have to suffer with pain and not everyone believes drugs are the solution, so we asked Multiple Sclerosis Specialist Nurse, Lee-Anne Dippenaar for some drug free alternatives that could help relieve pain
Not everyone with MS experiences pain all the time, but most are likely to experience some kind of pain at some point when living with the condition. When pain strikes, it can be difficult at first to decipher what it is, where it’s coming from and what might be causing it. In issue 104 of New Pathways I address the subject of pain in more detail, but if you are someone who wants to try drug-free alternatives that could help relieve pain, here are my recommendations:
It can help with movement, flexibility and posture to alleviate pain. Loss of muscle strength causes deconditioning which worsens pain
See an occupational therapist for adaptations in and around the home so it’s easier to use or access and helps ease the pain a little
When you have pain you probably want to sit or lie down. Small movements will improve blood circulation and ease pain
Advice about posture can help with muscle pain. Poor posture can aggravate pain and cause pain to radiate
Alcohol affects the central nervous system. It can cause sleep disturbances and leave you tired, triggering pain
Smoking causes poor circulation and makes chronic pain feel more intense
Focusing on a hobby or something to distract you from thinking about pain constantly can help
Learn new relaxation techniques, such as listening to music. Practice meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, gentle walking, singing and being outdoors in nature
Try not to do too much in one go. Plan better and spread tasks out so you don’t overexert yourself and exacerbate pain
Try massage, it reduces stress and alleviates tension in muscles
It involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles of the body to provide relief
This involves applying pressure to feet and hands, which can relieve stress within the body
Try aromatherapy for relaxation. There is no clinical evidence that these therapies are effective for everyone, but some find it beneficial if done regularly
Avoid processed inflammatory food (sugary, carbohydrate loaded) and eat real food. A well-balanced diet incorporating green vegetables, unsaturated fat and some fruit aids the digestive process, keeps weight under control, and improves blood sugar levels
You can alternate between warm and cold compress techniques to improve blood circulation to the area. It can relax muscles and encourage the healing process
Your GP or MS nurse can refer you to a pain clinic. You could also join a CBT programme and see a counsellor who can help to understand pain and can encourage a positive attitude
Look for your local MS group or an exercise group. Ask others with similar symptoms for advice. Help family understand what you are going through so they can support you
In issue 104 of New Pathways magazine Lee-Anne talks more in-depth about the different types of pain, how to cope and how to manage it. To read her feature, subscribe to New Pathways today.
Well, issue 102 of New Pathways is out now!
As you flick through the pages you will notice we have given the magazine a fresh new look and I hope you like it.
What’s in this issue? Well, we have MS nurse Miranda Olding exploring symptoms and how to determine if it’s MS or something else. Ian Cook catches up with The Disabled Chef, James Coke and discusses how he manages to pursue his passion for cooking while dealing with MS.
And if you’ve recently been diagnosed or are struggling to come to terms with a diagnosis, Dr Amanda Bertram, reveals how Chimp Management could help you learn to cope.
You can subscribe online today or simply search for the My MS-UK app in your app store and download the digital version and get reading straight away.
Please do let me know your feedback too – just email me at email@example.com with your comments.
Editor, New Pathways
Miranda Olding, MS nurse, has joined the New Pathways columnist corner, so in this blog we find out all about our new writer…
Name: Miranda Olding
Eye colour: Greeny brown
Occupation: MS Specialist nurse
Why I agreed to write a column for New Pathways:
I’ve written about things that I’ve learned that are useful in MS, for many years. This started in the Bedford MS Therapy Centre (where I work)’s quarterly newletter, and soon spilled out into a blog.
The ethos of the blog is Integrated Medicine - could be conventional, could be very much not mainstream - but if I find it can be useful for my patients and other people with MS, I want to share it! I’ve enjoyed reading New Pathways since I started as an MS Nurse back in 2004, so coming to do a column just felt like a natural step.
If I was a movie star, I’d be:
OMG! It would be easier to say who I’d LIKE to be - I'm really admiring Thandie Newton right now but in reality - probably more …. Jim Carrey?
If I was a character in a book, I’d be:
Same response! In reality, probably someone who gets very inspired by ideals but also often trips on their face; Katy in What Katy did, or Dorothea in Middlemarch?
Three things I couldn’t live without:
Tea (with soya milk). Sunlight. Pringles terry towling trainer socks.
My greatest achievement:
My kids turning into decent people.
My motivation for doing what I do:
I believe that with kindness, and curiosity, we can always do better. There’s always more out there. I want to bring things that work to my patients.
My nickname: I don’t have one!
My catchphrase: You Can Do This!