Conquering Sjogren’s: Follow us on our journey to change the face of Sjogren’s

Yoga and Sjögren's: There's a pose for that!

Posted on Thu, Sep 12, 2019

As finding alternatives to overall wellness, mind and body, continue to evolve in present day, many holistic health techniques have stood the test of time, proving to offer benefits that heal the body from the inside out. Yoga is one of these holistic healers. Many centuries ago, when yoga was said to be created, ancient peoples made yoga their daily routine to treat and ward off disease and to become peaceful in the mind. The body would react to this practice over- time, ceasing illness and spiritual negativity from the body. As I continue on my journey into offering yoga for therapeutic purposes as a registered yoga teacher, I witness what these ancient yogis were onto. Yoga is a practice that benefits the body in many ways. Different yoga poses promote healing for different body parts. Here are some poses that have exponential benefits:

Energize & Open Your Heart with Camel Pose

Sanskrit Name: Ustrasana

Boost your energy and open your heart with camel pose. This pose is known for eliminating the
feeling of sluggishness or fatigue and promoting energy through the body while creating more oxygen
to the brain. Come to your knees on the floor with knees hip-distance apart. Allow your toes to untuck and stabilize through the legs. Bring your hands to your lower back with palms facing in and finger tips facing down. Push the pelvis forward to create space for the spine to keep alignment. Inhale and lift your heart higher by letting the shoulder blades relax down the back. Exhale and allow your back to release down, energy through the crown of the head as you lean back. Let your neck relax, tensing up here will be counteractive. Breathe deeply for 5 to 10 breaths or until you find comfort in the pose. Inhale to slowly rise back up to a straight spine. Release with a few trunk twists or any movement that will feel good to your body after this pose.

Take a Chill Pill & Relieve Anxiety with Bridge Pose

Sankrit Name: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Feeling anxious and nervous about something? Alleviate stress, worry, and anxiety with bridge pose, a beginner’s inversion.

Lie flat on your back with knees bent parallel, feet flat on the ground, arms down by your sides. On your inhale, rise your pelvis toward the sky and keep pushing down through the feet and hands to balance the weight. Take this a step further by placing a block or study pillow under the back to stay with your pelvis elevated. Stay here for about 5 breath cycles. On a slow exhale, lower back down slowly to your mat and repeat.

Ease S.I. Joint Discomfort with Triangle Pose

Sanskirt Name: Trikonosana 

Experiencing aches and pains in your lower back area? It could be something deeper caused by your sacroiliac joint, the pelvis joint formed by the sacrum and ilium. Its main function is to manage stability and weight transfer. While many experience this pain, so few actually know it
is connected with their sacroiliac joint. Visiting a chiropractor if you are unsure is highly recommended, however, spending some time on your yoga mat may be the best way to relieve the pain. Standing poses, like Triangle Pose (Trikonosana), can increase strength in the glutes and rotator muscles, which help support the S.I. joint.

Stand up against a wall and step feet apart with a wide stance, feet should be wider than shoulder-width and toes facing forward. Turn your left toes to face
the side, so that your left foot is now parallel against the wall. Press into both feet, pull up in the knees, and keep the legs straight. Push into the right hip and bring the arms into a T, with finger tips reaching away. Begin to reach your left hand down toward your toes, 
and continue to bring your right arm up and back. Continue to reach until the shoulders are stacked vertically and you reach your shin, toes, or the ground inside your left foot. Engage your core and try to keep your bottom from touching the wall without leaning forward. Breathe deeply 5 to 10 breath cycles. Inhale to rise back up to standing. Reverse the feet and re-peat on other side.

About the Author

Lee-Ann has a deep–rooted, therapeutic connection with yoga, and aspires to create opportunities for others that foster personal growth and well-being. She completed her RYT 200 at Bombay Yoga Company in 2016 and teaches at Mellow Yoga Studio in Philadelphia, PA. Lee-Ann recently created Two Hearts Dance & Yoga.

This information was first printed in The Moisture Seeker, SSF's member newsletter.

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Topics: Sjogren's, Joint Pain, Fatigue, coping with sjogren's, Chronic Pain, Flare,, Natural Treatments, Yoga

Pain and Sjögren's

Posted on Thu, Aug 15, 2019

Pain and Sjögrens Chronic pain is one of the most common symptoms associated with Sjögren’s. I have the interesting position of working as a healthcare provider in the field of comprehensive pain medicine as well as being a Sjögren’s sufferer. My role working as a Physician Assistant and Chiropractor is to help patients manage their pain. In our practice, we treat a variety of diverse conditions with a continuum ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to abdominal pain and everything in between. While this can be a challenging area of medicine to practice, it is also quite rewarding to assist others in living a more enhanced quality of life.

Prior to being diagnosed with Sjögren’s, I rarely experienced pain. Recently, I was reminiscing back to a time not many years ago in which I only used ibuprofen once or twice over several years’ time. My own personal struggle with Sjögren’s causes me to endure discomfort in various areas of my body every day. I experience joint pain, especially in my knees and fingers. The nerve sensations in my muscles are also very discomforting. Additionally, only since the development of Sjögren’s, I suffer from debilitating pelvic pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications ibuprofen and Celebrex seem to help the greatest for my pain. Heat is also quite effective. When I make more anti-inflammatory diet choices, my pain is absolutely better. This includes avoiding excessive sugars, flour, dairy, red meat as well as processed and fried substances. When I regularly take vitamin D and eat fresh cherries the pain also improves. If I have poor stress management and sleeping habits, my pain worsens. Finding motivation for regular exercise can be difficult as I also fight significant fatigue, but I know that movement is necessary to keep my joints and muscles mobile. I also use a TENS unit from time to time as well as over the counter lidocaine products.

It is fulfilling to assist in improving the quality of life of others that suffer from chronic pain. This is especially meaningful being that I endure pain daily. I encourage anyone experiencing chronic pain to seek out a comprehensive pain management specialist for evaluation.

by Rebecca Hosey, DC, MSPAS, PA-C

Dr. Rebecca Hosey is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Chiropractor. She has practiced interventional pain medicine for many years and was diagnosed with Sjögren’s in 2015.

This information was first printed in The Moisture Seeker, SSF's member newsletter.

Take Control of Your Health!  Receive our Newsletter by Becoming an SSF Member

Topics: Symptoms, Sjogren's, coping with sjogren's, Chronic Pain, Vitamin D, Natural Treatments

Acupuncture for Dry Eye

Posted on Mon, Jul 15, 2019

acupuncture July is Dry Eye Awareness Month!  We hope you enjoy this blog post aimed to promote dry eye awareness and education.

The “Living with Sjögren’s” patient survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, SSF, showed that 92% of Sjögren’s patients suffer from dry eye. Chronic dry eye has two main causes: decreased secretion of tears by the lacrimal (tear-producing) glands and loss of tears due to excess evaporation. Both can lead to ocular surface discomfort, often described as feeling of dryness, burning, a sandy/gritting sensation, itchiness, visual fatigue, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. In Sjögren’s, a person’s white blood cells mistakenly invade moisture-producing glands and affects the entire body, including the lacrimal glands, causing inflammation and reducing secretion, which causes dry eye to be one primary symptoms of the disease.

Chronic dry eye does not typically get better on its own, and often times it will get worse. Acupuncture is a very safe treatment, and apart from occasional bruising, its side effects typically include improved sleep quality, relaxation of tense muscles, and a sense of wellbeing.

Question_and_AnswerCan acupuncture increase moisture with dry eyes?

The beauty of acupuncture is that it does not build a dependency and in fact builds independence by helping to rebuild and restore function to various body systems.

A study published in the Chinese Journal of Practical Ophthalmology “found that patients receiving acupuncture plus lubricant eye drops had a 76.92% improvement in rate of dry eye symptoms. Patients receiving only lubricant eye drops had a 53.85% improvement. Tear film stability improved significantly with acupuncture. Patients receiving acupuncture plus eye drops had a tear film break-up time of 4.03 seconds compared with 2.11 seconds for the eye drop only group.” This means that acupuncture resulted in increased tear production and slower tear evaporation, so tears last longer.

Another study, published in Ophthalmology Times, found that acupuncture “significantly improved patients’ subjective assessment of dry eye symptoms, was associated with significant reduction in use of artificial tears at six months, and its benefits lasted for 9-12 months.”

Having an autoimmune disease, like Sjögren’s, can be stressful and overwhelming at times, often leading to poor sleep quality. All of these work against creating and maintaining healthy levels of serotonin, which is fundamental to healthy tear production.

Receiving regular acupuncture helps maintain healthy serotonin levels, as well as to decrease inflammation, increase circulation, and stimulate the nervous system to focus on a specific region, such as the eyes.

What does this mean for Sjögren’s patients?

It means that although you have Sjögren’s and may always have to work to maintain a reasonable number of tears, a combination of diet, stress management, and acupuncture may be able to minimize and help keep your symptoms at bay.

Dr. Townsend, adjunct professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry, says that “the potential patient benefits of acupuncture suggests that, at the very least, we should consider contacting an acupuncturist and explore working together as a possibility.”

Acupuncture has become so popular in the past few years that everyone is adding it to their list of services. Look for a National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM®) board certified acupuncturist who has a minimum of four years of formal training and countless hours of clinical experience to ensure the best possible experience.

by Chris Leininger, DACM (c), Dipl. Ac. & ABT (NCCAOM), L.Ac., Founder and Director of Pure Health Acupuncture, LLC in Brazil, IN.

This information was first printed in The Moisture Seeker, SSF's member newsletter.

Take Control of Your Health!  Receive our Newsletter by Becoming an SSF Member

Topics: Dry Eyes, Sjogren's, Treatment, coping with sjogren's, Natural Treatments, Acupuncture Treatment

NIH Hosts Dietary Supplement Database

Posted on Tue, Feb 09, 2016

Did you know that the National Institutes of Health has a database that allows individuals to search the labels of dietary supplements?

SSF_Dietary_SupplementsThe Dietary Supplement Label Database (DSLD) is a joint project of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Considering the number of Sjögren’s patients who currently take dietary supplements to aid in the management of the disease, the DSLD could prove to be a very useful tool. An individual can search products, brands and ingredients. This can allow them to review the suggested use of a particular supplement, calories and daily values as well as search other brands and combinations that might be available.

For instance, if a patient is taking fish oil and vitamin D, they could find a combination supplement rather than two separate supplements. This can result in easier maintenance of supplements and cost effectiveness for the patient.

Remember that just because an over-the-counter product is natural, this does not make it safe or appropriate. The SSF recommends that you should always discuss natural remedies with your doctor.

Click here to learn more about Sjögren’s and an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Click here to learn more about the  NIH Dietary Supplement Database This information was provided by the NIH DSLD web page. 

Topics: Diet, Nutrition, Sjogren's, Treatment, coping with sjogren's, Vitamin D, Natural Treatments, Anti-Inflammatory Diet

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