Common Hidden and Invisible Illnesses Explained – Please share to raise awareness

If you saw a person in a wheelchair or on crutches struggling to move, would you accuse them of milking it for attention? Not unless you were a truly malign, cold-hearted individual. If you saw a seemingly healthy person climbing out of a car that’s just been parked in a disabled parking spot, would you accost them and insist that they park elsewhere? Quite possibly, but before you do, it’s worth taking the time to consider whether that person actually does need the spot, even though they seem healthy.

There’s a little insight into the world of the hidden illness sufferer. Aside from the crippling physical pain they courageously endure on a daily basis, there’s also the frustration and torment of unsympathetic observers who take their exterior appearance at face value and believe that there’s nothing wrong. It doesn’t have to be a physical illness, either. Depression is also classified as a hidden illness, as it is a medical condition which might be highly concealed but has an enormously damaging impact on a person’s day-to-day life.

For people living with hidden illnesses, a basic degree of understanding and empathy from others is greatly appreciated. If you hear someone saying profusely that they’re feeling unwell, don’t just brush their words aside as the attention-seeking whines of a serial complainer. Ask them if there is anything you can do to make them feel a bit better. A person without a chronic illness just does not know the extent of the suffering of those with such illnesses.

This infographic from Burning Nights neatly summarises 10 of the most common hidden illnesses so that we can all obtain a small level of understanding. This include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, depression, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Lyme disease, Lupus and CRPS. Maybe the next time we see a seemingly healthy person occupying a handicapped parking space, we won’t be so hasty in our judgement.

Common Hidden Illnesses Explained [Infographic]

Brian Fog – How music can help memory

Brain fog or fibro fog (also called cognitive dysfunction) can be caused by lots of different medical conditions such as dementia, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. One of the key symptoms is loss or lack of memory.

This fascinating infographic shows how music can help memory.

If you have any other tips for dealing with brain fog why not share them at this blog post here.

Understanding Music & Memory

From Visually.

Parenting with a Chronic Illness – Some tips for being a great parent even with a long term illness

Being a parent and being ill
Being a parent and being ill

A couple of days ago we are our readers on Facebook what advice they had to share about being a parent which a chronic medical condition such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

Given challenged such as pain, fatigue and insomnia which are attached to all these conditions it makes the roll of being a parent much harder.
We results of the request for tips was overwhelming – so when have chosen a cross selection of the responses. Please feel free to share your tips in the comments section below!

For Shanice it was just two simple words “Plan ahead”.

Heidi concurred “plan ahead, EXPLAIN yourself when you can’t do things. Let them help you, they will learn how to me compassionate caring adults because of you. If they help with chores, (mine do most of the chores) it helps you and teaches then life skills…how to be a team player, how to be observant, how to be patient, how to do simple household necessities….”

“I’m honest with mine. But not overly. My two oldest learned about my illnesses to have better understanding. Get up and move every day. Find ways to spend time with them that lets you rest. We read, watch movies, play board games in my bed. We have picnics in the living room. Love on them, let them feel special.” This was Rebecca’s view.

But “Don’t feel you need to compensate and buy them lots of “stuff” its love that counts. My kids think it’s great when we all bundle into my bed and watch a film, even if I often fall asleep.” Shared Becca.

Carrie told us “I’m honest with them when it’s a bad day. They are finally old enough to understand when I say maybe our we’ll see about something they want to do in a few days that it depends on my health. Also I had to learn to pick my battles what’s a priority to push them for or about…”
“Do intimate things like read books, finger-paint, buy a bunch of colored paper and make things…don’t push yourself. They will love you no matter what you can or cannot do. Children just need our attention, reassurance and love. Activities are a bonus. Take care of you….teaching them to take care of themselves on a cloudy day!!” was Michelle’s excellent advice!

Claudia shares “I told my children about my fibro but they already knew about illnesses during my cancer. They would spend time in my room a lot. We’d watch movies cartoons whatnot on TV. We’d play games on the floor like board games. Kept active. Made sure they were active in activities outside the house. I’d attend all their games.”

“Eat right and stay moving. Once you stop you’re done. I think that’s the only way I can actually sleep is by staying active. And having 3 boys help with keeping you going” was Elizabeth’s very practical advice.

Judy was very down to earth “1) Always make sure you have colouring and activity books to keep them busy just in case you need a few hours of rest in peace and quiet. 2) Teach your children about your illness so they’ll know what to expect and won’t be scared. 3) make sure to keep quick and easy to assemble lunch and dinners handy JUST IN CASE you cannot stand to cook a lot.”

Jayme had a different perspective – that of having been the child of somebody with multiple sclerosis “Also checks the psychology of the children. I was told my mother has MS at 8 years old. As an 8 year old, we are the mind-set of “Step on a crack, break Mommy’s back”. So, I assumed, that it was my fault she had MS, since she told me, she had her first attack, when she was pregnant with me. Talk openly about it and how it affects you. I spoke to Mom at length about her life decisions due to MS; my brother didn’t and came away with a totally different concept of her.”
So what about you? Do you have any tips for parenting? Or do you have any questions?

Either way why not share them in the comments box below.

Thanks very much in advance.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatment, Symptoms and Diet

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatment, Symptoms and Diet

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Treatment, Symptoms and Diet

From Visually.

Acupuncture – Does it work? Read some of the evidence here


Have you ever used Acupuncture?

Did it work?  Tell us your view in the comments section below?

Acupuncture is a treatment derived from ancient Chinese medicine in which fine needles are inserted at certain sites in the body for therapeutic or preventative purposes.

It is often seen as a form of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM), although it is used in many NHS general practices, as well as the majority of pain clinics and hospices in the UK.


Western medical acupuncture is the use of acupuncture after a proper medical diagnosis. It is based on scientific evidence that shows the treatment can stimulate nerves under the skin and in muscle tissue.

This results in the body producing pain-relieving substances, such as endorphins. It is likely these substances are responsible for any beneficial effects seen with this form of acupuncture.

Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or “life force”, flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced “chee”).

Practitioners who adhere to traditional beliefs about acupuncture believe that when Qi does not flow freely through the body, this can cause illness. They also believe acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.

Read more about what happens during acupuncture.

What is it used for?

Acupuncture practitioners – sometimes called acupuncturists – use acupuncture to treat a wide range of health conditions.

It is often used to treat pain conditions such as headache, lower back pain and osteoarthritis, but is also sometimes used in an attempt to help people with conditions ranging from infertility to anxiety and asthma.

Acupuncture is occasionally available on the NHS, although access is limited. Most acupuncture patients pay for private treatment.

Read more about the common uses of acupuncture.

Does it work?

Currently, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) only recommends considering acupuncture as a treatment option for chronic lower back pain, chronic tension-type headaches and migraines. NICE makes these recommendations on the basis of scientific evidence.

There is also some evidence that acupuncture works for a small number of other problems, including neck pain and post-chemotherapy nausea and vomiting.

Acupuncture is sometimes used for a variety of other conditions as well, but the evidence is not conclusive for many of these uses.

Read more about the evidence for and against acupuncture.

Having acupuncture

When it is carried out by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture is generally very safe. Some people experience side effects such as feeling drowsy or dizzy, but these are usually mild and short-lived.

If you choose to have acupuncture, make sure your acupuncture practitioner is either a regulated healthcare professional or a member of a recognised national acupuncture organisation.

Read more about acupuncture safety and regulation.

[Original article on NHS Choices website]

Evidence for and against acupuncuture

There is some scientific evidence acupuncture has a beneficial effect for a number of health conditions.

However, there is less clear scientific evidence about the benefits of acupuncture in the majority of conditions it is often used for.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) only recommends considering acupuncture as a treatment option for chronic lower back pain, chronic tension-type headaches and migraine.

Assessing the evidence

One of the best ways researchers can assess the evidence behind a particular treatment is by carrying out a systematic review. This is a “study of studies” that combines findings from separate but similar studies to come up with an overall conclusion.

Systematic reviews are an important part of health research because they can identify findings that might otherwise be missed in individual studies. They can also help distinguish the effects of treatment from the effects of chance.

It is important to remember that when we use a treatment and feel better, this can be because of a phenomenon called the placebo effect and not because of the treatment itself. Systematic reviews can help reduce the potential influence of the placebo effect.

While systematic reviews cannot always determine conclusively whether a treatment does or does not work, they can be useful in assessing how a particular treatment (such as acupuncture) compares to another (such as “sham” acupuncture or medication).

However, even this can be challenging – both acupuncture and placebo treatments can stimulate the release of natural painkilling substances called endorphins, which can make it difficult to distinguish between them.

What evidence is there for acupuncture?

One of the largest and most respected organisations that carries out and publishes systematic reviews into the effectiveness of medical treatments is The Cochrane Collaboration.

A number of systematic reviews into the effectiveness of acupuncture have been published by The Cochrane Collaboration, and the basic results are summarised below.

Some positive evidence

Systematic reviews carried out by The Cochrane Collaboration have found there is some evidence acupuncture may have a beneficial effect on the following conditions:

However, because of disagreements over the way acupuncture trials should be carried out and over what their results mean, the existence of some positive evidence does not mean acupuncture definitely works for these conditions.

In many cases, the evidence appears contradictory. For example, some high-quality studies may suggest acupuncture is no better than “sham” acupuncture, whereas some lower-quality studies may suggest acupuncture is better than an established medical treatment.

The issue is sometimes also further complicated by the fact some “sham interventions” include active needling and are therefore not true placebos.

In addition, it can be difficult to make sure the patients involved in acupuncture studies are unaware of the specific treatment they are receiving (known as “blinding”).

This is because it is obvious whether you are receiving a conventional medical treatment such as medication or if you are receiving acupuncture, for example. This is a problem as it means the preconceptions of the person being treated may influence the result.

Some systematic reviews, however, have demonstrated the effects of acupuncture over sham treatment in studies where patients are unaware whether they are having real acupuncture or sham treatment.

For example, one large meta-analysis (a type of systematic review) not carried out by The Cochrane Collaboration included data from more than 17,000 patients. It compared acupuncture to sham acupuncture or no acupuncture without patients being aware of whether they had received real or sham treatment.

This review found acupuncture to be superior to both sham and no treatment for headaches, osteoarthritis, back pain and neck pain.

Little or no evidence

In many conditions where acupuncture is used, there is not enough good quality evidence to draw any clear conclusions over its relative effectiveness compared with other treatments.

For example, systematic reviews published by The Cochrane Collaboration have suggested more research is needed to assess whether acupuncture is effective for: asthmaglaucomaschizophreniadepressionshoulder, painelbow, painrheumatoid arthritisBell’s palsyrestless legs syndromeinsomnia vascular ,dementiastroke, stroke rehabilitation and swallowing problems caused by stroke

More research is needed to establish whether acupuncture is better or worse than best standard treatments for these conditions.

More information and research

If you want to find out more about studies into acupuncture, you can search for high-quality research using the NHS Evidence and Cochrane Library websites.