Easing Arthritis during Winter

arth winter

The Christmas holidays can put a lot of stress on arthritis patients. Occupational therapist Jen discusses her patients who find that their symptoms become worse during the cold winter months.

Stories of being able to predict a change in the weather by an increase in joint pain and stiffness is not uncommon.  You could describe it as a human barometer! There are many theories, but little clinical evidence to say that there is a link between bad weather and exacerbation of arthritic symptoms.  However, this does not mean it is any less real for those people describing these changes in symptoms.

We can’t alter the British weather and moving to warmer climes isn’t always a practical or guaranteed solution so we need to have strategies available to minimise the joint pain.

Sometimes even the smallest of gadgets can be a big help. Using non-slip jar and bottle openers to help is a simple option.  The Dycem non-slip material enables jars and bottles to be opened by using less physical effort and therefore reducing the amount of pain caused.  The openers are not only useful in the kitchen, but also in the bathroom for pill bottles and cleaning materials.

They aren’t going to solve all problems, but they do make a huge difference to a lot of people.

With a little help from Dycem products, and the wide range of assistive products available on the market, we hope arthritis patients are able to enjoy the festive season with minimal joint pain.

What are your tips for getting through the winter season?

Steady as he Goes

Dycem Noes-over-Toes non-slip Mat
Dycem ‘Noes-Over-Toes’ Mat

This week, we chatted to Chartered Physiotherapist Adam Page about how he uses Dycem products in his line of work –

As a physiotherapist within the stroke setting I have used Dycem’s Non-Slip products with great clinical effectiveness. From dense hemiplegic strokes to mild alterations in an individual’s strength or grip, the non-slip products have been functional to all my patients.

Recently I have been using the Dycem Non-Slip mats during treatment of a 57 year old gentleman whom had suffered a stroke resulting in moderate left sided weakness and mild cognitive changes.

Having been previously very active and mobile, our therapy goal was to maximise his rehabilitation potential by having him up and mobilising with assistance within 7 days of admission.  Such an ambitious goal would by many be considered unrealistic, even unsafe when considering the limited staffing on our wards. However, through the use of Dycem Non-Slip we were able to achieve it.

Maximising the mats bright colour to inform visual attention we placed a number of them on floor as a cue for the patient to place his feet during mobilisation. Whilst two of us supported the patient’s upper limb, the lower limb was secured with use of the non-slip mat. Secondary to reduced strength, a patient’s affected leg will often slip from under them during sit to stand and mobilisation, unless secured by another member of staff. However by simply placing the Dycem non-slip ‘Nose-Over-Toes’ mat under the effected foot, a secure lower limb resulted.

By using a number of mats the affected leg was supported from slipping over the entire distance mobilised. Whilst a number of different coloured mats ensured easy instruction by the therapist for foot position, the alternative texture with its roughened boarder helped to inform sensory feedback during movement.

Easily wiped clean and reused, these non-slip products are of an absolute necessity to any physiotherapist wanting to maximise the rehab potential of their patients.

Are there any other Physiotherapists out there who use Dycem?

What’s Your Colour?

Dycem non-slip coasters

We caught up with Occupational Therapist Jen to discuss the Dycem colour range and its importance to her clients.

Dycem’s range of non-slip products come in a wide range of colours. New colours are always being considered and developed. “If I had to choose one colour of Dycem for all my clients I would find it incredibly difficult” says Jen. We agree that our silver Dycem mats are perfect for clients who want to be discreet, particularly if they are in a public area.

Some of Jen’s clients use their mats as a visual cue and therefore need to it to contrast with the surface it is placed on.  For example, a yellow mat can be placed on a black counter – or a blue mat can be placed on a white table cloth.

Jen describes how colours are said to affect our physiology and mental state – “The colour red apparently stimulates appetite.  What would happen if we used red Dycem mats or reel material in clinical situations where we are trying to encourage our clients to eat?  Would hospital patients be more tempted by the food if they had a red plate and place mat?

On the other hand, blue and black are said to reduce the appeal of food.  These colours are associated with rotten food and apparently make eating less appealing.  I’m not quite sure where blueberries fit into this theory!

They say that yellow helps with focus and concentration. Perhaps then we should prescribe yellow Dycem products in schools and workplaces?” We loved the great uses Jen came up with.

Certain colours can work better in different situations, which is why Dycem has a variety of colour to choose from.

Let us know your favourite Dycem colour by voting in our poll!

[polldaddy poll=6695640]

Are there any Dycem colours you would like to see in the future? Let us know!

Useful information on colour contrast can be found on the Lighthouse International website.

At Home with Jen

Dycem non-slip reel material
Dycem non-slip reel

Occupational therapist Jen shared with us the ways she uses Dycem non-slip products at home:

“I’ve issued Dycem products to my clients for years, but more and more I’m finding uses for it for myself at home.

My settee seat cushions seem to slip during the day from where they should be to half hanging off the front.  Not the most comfortable sitting position I can assure you!  I have now cut pieces of Dycem material off a reel and placed them under the seat cushions and it’s worked. No longer do they have a mind of their own and they are staying put.

Does anyone else have trouble getting the lids off toddler beakers?  I obviously want it on tight so the drink doesn’t spill, but when I go to wash it up I can’t get the lid off!  My Dycem jar opener is now kept by the sink and the excellent grip gets the lid off on the first attempt. Problem solved.”

Let us know how you use your Dycem non-slip products …

Step Ahead with Dycem

Use Dycem non-slip for stair lifts

Did you know Dycem isn’t only for upper limb impairments? Occupational Therapist Joanne Corr has recently showed us how Dycem non-slip products can assist those with conditions that affect lower limbs as well.

Mary is a senior patient of Joanne, and has osteoarthritis of the knees. She uses a stair lift to go up and down her stairs at home.  Over the years, Mary has found that her knee flexion has become restricted and she struggles to keep her feet tucked back on to the stair lift footplate. Joanne was concerned about her feet slipping off the footplate and catching on the wall opposite.  Mary knocking her feet has serious consequences as she is at high risk of ulcers.  Joanne needed to resolve this problem, and gave Dycem a try.

Dycem non-slip reel was available from the community equipment service and a piece of it was cut to fit the stair lift footplate.  Mary tried it and found that the Dycem non-slip material gripped her feet, preventing them from falling off the footplate.

Thanks to Dycem non-slip, The Occupational Therapist had found a simple solution that enabled Mary to continue to independently access the upper floor of her home and reduce the risk of her damaging her feet whilst using the stair lift.

Just think of all the situations where one’s feet need to be positioned correctly. Dycem could be used on stand aids, rotastands, wheelchair footplates … the list goes on!

The flexibility of the Dycem material reel is perfect for these applications as it can be cut to the exact size of the surface.

Can you think of any non-traditional uses for Dycem?