Category Archives: Arthritis

INDESmed Ergonomic Aluminium & Carbon Fibre Crutches

INDESmed aluminium colourful crutches

INDESmed Colourful Ergonomic Crutches

Spanish company INDESmed are a young, dynamic group of engineers, specialised in bio-engineering and medical devices who are well equipped to create functional and stylish mobility aids.

The INDESmed crutches are the latest addition to our online shop and have already proved to be very popular with our customers. The ergonomic crutches are manufactured with either carbon fibre or aluminium shafts and have been so beautifully designed that there is no annoying “click” sound when using them. The shaft of the crutches is slightly curved which makes these crutches very comfortable anatomically for the user.

The design of the soft and comfortable silicone hand-grip keeps the natural position of the wrist and spreads the corporal pressure over the hand, avoiding the pain in the palm of the hand. This also Improves the position of the thumb finger, decreasing or totally suppressing the hardness that appears due to a long-term use of crutches. INDESmed are so sure of the ergonomic design of their crutches that they guarantee NO TENDONITIS, or your money back!

INDESmed crutches are fully adjustable which can be achieved by moving the cuff and hand-grip along the curved area, but each size has been designed to maximize ergonomics and user comfort. Spare cuffs, silicone covers, hand-grips and tips are available to purchase, enabling you interchange the hand-grip covers or add new accessories to the shaft. The ferrule / tip is manufactured from high friction coefficient rubber and Dupon which improves the safety of the user.

carbon fiber lightweight crutches

INDESmed Lightweight Carbon Crutch

If you wish to sport the lightest, designer forearm crutch in the world, the INDESmed carbon fibre crutches are for you, weighing in at only 220 grams. They are available in small, medium or large sizes, with a black shaft and cuff and interchangeable silicon hand-grips in dark grey, black, purple and orange and look incredibly modern and stylish.

INDESmed also provide the equally trendy colourful aluminium crutches , manufactured to the same design as the carbon fibre and these weigh in at only 400 grams. The aluminium shafts are available in orange, blue, purple and titanium grey with coordinated silicone hand-grips.

orange, blue, purple grey lightweight crutches

INDESmed ‘No Click’ Coloured Crutches

You can read more about the INDESmed crutches here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspirational People – Maud Lewis, Folk Artist

Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis

Maud Lewis

The story of artist Maud Lewis is one that has touched the hearts of many, due to her facing of formidable challenges throughout the duration of her life, and creating art that embodies the simplicity and colour of a happy life in rural Nova Scotia in the 1900s. Through newspaper and magazine articles, as well as an upcoming film this year about her life and art, “Maudie”,  Maud has become a unlikely inspiration and sensation.

Maud suffered from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), a type of arthritis that causes joint inflammation and stiffness in children, and it continued to plague her during her life, deteriorating as she aged. JRA is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body mistakenly identifies some of its own cells and tissues as foreign. The immune system, which normally helps to fight off harmful, foreign substances such as bacteria or viruses, begins to attack healthy cells and tissues. The result is inflammation — marked by redness, heat, pain, and swelling. Progressive rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints causing a painful swelling that can eventually result bone erosion and joint deformity.

The renovated house of Maud Lewis folk artist

Maud Lewis’s House

maud-lewis-house-inside

Inside Maud Lewis’s home

She lived a life that wouldn’t be considered enviable by many. She was born in 1903 in the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and reportedly spent a solitary childhood, due to her physical differences to other children her age. Maud received her first art lessons from her mother, who taught her to hand-paint Christmas cards, which they then sold to neighbours, to bring in some money. She also learned to play the piano, but had to stop when her rheumatoid arthritis ravaged her fingers. Her physical disabilities brought her some early grief: classmates teased her cruelly, which may be one reason why she dropped out of school at 14, having completed only Grade 5. But it was reportedly a relatively happy childhood, until her parents died in the late 1930s, and her older brother, Charles, claimed the family inheritance and sold the family home where she had lived all her life.  About the same time, Maud fell pregnant and gave birth to a child. As Maud was an unmarried woman in her late 20s, the baby girl was put up for adoption and Maud never saw her again.

Not long after, Maud married Everett Lewis, a fish peddler, after responding to his advertisement for a housekeeper as a means to support herself. Upon moving in with him, she began to paint the entire house with colourful images such as butterflies, birds and flowers, which were nostalgic of Nova Scotia in the early 1900s, her happiest childhood days with her parents, and seemingly showing an inner contentment in her life with Lewis, despite reports that he scrounged away her supplies and income from her paintings. It eventuated that she wasn’t physically able to do the housekeeping, due to her arthritis, so she spent her days sitting by the window and painting. She brought in money with her artwork, with a sign on the road advertising “paintings for sale”, and Lewis kept the house. They seemingly lived a quiet, peaceful life.

Maud Lewis art

Maud Lewis Folk Art

Painting Maud Lewis disabled artist

Known as a folk artist, Maud was mostly self-taught, and lived most of her life in poverty without the money to buy painting supplies. She painted on the walls, on scraps of wood, card, plywood, the windowsills, anything she could get her hands on. She painted scenes and objects from her every day life – wildlife, flowers, trees, fishermen, simple colourful scenes that were filled with joy.

Maud passed away in 1970, having developed emphysema on top of rheumatoid arthritis in advancing years. Like many great artists before her, her work has received much higher acclaim after death, with some of her paintings now selling for over $125,000.

Maud Lewis painting arthritisMaud Lewis Folk art arthritis disability

Perhaps her art is experiencing a revival and has found a new audience in the present day because of our desire for simpler lives, for a return to nature, for creativity as an outlet for overstimulated brains in a world of technology. People are drawn to the naiveté and nostalgia of Maud’s work, and she serves as a timely reminder that a return to colourful childhood simplicity can be the greatest source of comfort in these modern times.

A film has been made about Maud Lewis and the trailer is available to watch below.

 

Opting into exercise improves knee osteoarthritis – Arthritis Digest Magazine

Arthritis-Digest-masthead-low-res-web

Choice is key when it comes to improving osteoarthritis symptoms through exercise, highlights a new study in Clinical Rheumatology.

A total of 69 older people with knee osteoarthritis were split into groups: a supervised community-based or unsupervised walking programme. Six months later, people who expressed a preference, either for the supervised or unsupervised programme, and who were assigned to their preferred choice of programme were more likely to continue with the walking sessions, compared to those who did not obtain their preferred choice of programme.

After nine months, people who had been given the group they wanted had improved levels of stiffness and function compared to those who did not get the group they wanted.

The researchers conclude:
“We show this approach promotes long-term adherence to a community-based walking program, while ensuring the maintenance of clinical benefits of walking, among older adults susceptible to avoid or not properly engage in physical activity.”

Keep up to date with the latest arthritis research news by subscribing to Arthritis Digest Magazine

Product News: Flipstick Foldaway Adjustable Walking Stick

Flipstick Folding Adjustable stick with seat

Flipstick in Dayglo Pink

Flipstick could become your perfect travelling companion, taking the strain when your legs are tired or you need a short rest.  Whether you are standing in a queue, waiting for a bus or enjoying an outdoor festival or concert, Flipstick is there to support you.

The comfortable walking cane handle doubles as a seat and the whole unit fits easily into the carry bag that is supplied when you purchase your Flipstick. The rubber-grip ferrule is suitable for indoor and outdoor use and the seat/handle is available in either stunning dayglo pink, navy blue or black.

Flipstick folding adjustable walking cane with seat

Flipstick Navy Blue

Folding Adjustable Flipstick walking stick with seat black

Flipstick Black

The shaft of the stick is made from aluminium and is therefore strong and sturdy and there is the facility to adjust the height of the stick from 87.6cm to 91.5 cm, which make this a great gift –  idea for friends or family. Flipstick is easy to use, when the cane is released from the bag, it almost assembles itself for you.

You can read more HERE

Design Museum – New Old Exhibition

Pop up exhibition on ageing

Photography by Luke Hayes

We recently had the pleasure of attending this intriguing pop-up exhibition at the new home of the London Design Museum in Kensington. London always poses a challenge for us in finding Blue Badge parking for my wheelchair, but we were fortunate on this occasion when a quick call to the museum before we left, allowed us to park right outside the door. They do not have dedicated parking for Blue Badge card holders and when we arrived, there was a little confusion with security but in the end, they kindly let us park.

The New Old exhibition is free admission and kept us busy for a few hours. Our sixteen year old daughter also came with us and she seemed to enjoy the experience too. The exhibition rethinks the design approach to ageing, and looks at how design can help the ageing population lead fuller, happier, healthier and more rewarding lives. The exhibition is Curated by Jeremy Myerson, and Helen Hamlyn, Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art.

The exhibition is organised into six sections – Ageing, Identity, Home, Community, Working and Mobility. Each section features a special design commission by a leading designer or design team, creating new solutions for demographic change as well as addressing the challenges of age.

There were a few activities, which encouraged you to participate in their research. One invites you to complete a card, stating your age and then what age that you considered people to be ‘old’, and any comments to support your thinking. You then displayed your card on a huge board with hooks for all to read. It was a really interesting exercise and you were able to read the cards and opinions of others. It did seem that the younger you were, the lower the age that you predicted old age to begin. It will be interesting to hear the results!

Scooter For life with shopping trolley

Scooter for Life

New Old showcases concept designs such as Scooter For Life by PriestmanGoode which encourages people to stay active for longer. The fun modern design is critical to dispel the stigma of ageing.

illustration of scooter for life

Credit: PriestmanGoode

Paro, a soft robotic interactive therapy toy was also on display, designed by Takanori Shibata of the Intelligent System Research Institute of Japan. Paro is widely recognised as one of the most therapeutic devices in the world, helping comfort older people with dementia.  Paro moves and behaves like a normal animal, it vibrates and winks and responds to being stroked. People with dementia form an attachment to it for comfort and companionship. The robotics industry is being fuelled by the Japanese, who have not allowed migrants into their country and now have an overwhelming problem of an ageing population with no-one to care for them.

Paro robotic seal dementia

Paro Robotic Seal

Arthritis Research UK are one of the sponsors of the exhibition and it is estimated that around 10 million people in the UK are affected by arthritis or related conditions and the number climbs as the population ages. Arthritis Research UK is not just active in supporting medical research for breakthrough treatments, but also encouraging  innovative design to meet the daily living needs of people with arthritis. The exhibition showcased some award winning products such as the Ezi-Plug which aids the ease of use for people with arthritis in their hands, also for those with sight loss. The socket switches off automatically when the plug is removed

Plug socket for arthritis

Award winning Ezi-Plug

Another design being exhibited was the Handy Fasteners, a set of magnetic buttons that can be retro-fitted to any garment, helpful for anyone with arthritis, parkinson’s disease and many other related or neurological conditions.

Maintaining mobility, social inclusion, universal design and adaptable housing are all vital for an ageing population and so the exhibition looks at the progress other countries are making in this area which may provide working models for the UK to follow.

The New Old Exhibition looks at how the Japanese transport system has set new standards in universal design when it opened in 2005 following ten years of development. Its spaces and services are wheelchair friendly and each station has its own colour, wall material and and unique symbol to help people with cognitive impairment.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian government has an ambitious goal to make the country more age-friendly and to better harness the contribution that older people can make to society. The exhibition shows examples of universal design projects in action in Norway, from healthcare to transport, and public space to learning.

As our population ages, the world really needs to work together, sharing ideas and experiments, to make our individual countries a more welcoming age-friendly space for the elderly. This will ensure that our older people remain independent, whether through design, technology or social inclusion. The New Old exhibition is really worth a visit to see the progress, concepts and ideas that are being explored and in many cases already implemented as a vision for the future.

New Old exhibition is at the London Design Museum, running until the 19th February 2017.

 

 

Product News: Rollz Flex Shopping Trolley / Rollator

Sturdy shopping trolley

Rollz Flex Shopper / Rollator

Shopping can be a fun but exhausting activity and for anyone that has mobility problems or tires easily, the Rollz Flex Shopping Trolley, which double as a rollator,  could be the perfect solution.

Danish manufacturer Rollz, who are specialists in the ergonomic design of innovative mobility products are known for their award winning Rollz Motion Rollator. They have now produced another gem of a product with the Rollz Flex which has a very modern design and is ideal for anyone who may need a walking stick or a little extra support but who is not quite ready for a traditional rollator.

Topro Rollz Flex Rollator Grey

Rollz Flex Shopper with Denim Grey Bag

The Rollz Flex could easily become your best shopping buddy. It is lightweight and folds easily into a compact form for stowing in the boot of your car or storing at home. The push bar handle is height adjustable and can be positioned upright, or half or fully tilted forwards. When it is tilted forwards it can be leant on for support, just like a rollator.  The integral seat is there for when you need a rest and the push bar handle doubles as a back support when it is tilted fully forwards, for added safety.

Flex shopping trolley with adjustable handle bar

Rollz Flex Shopper with adjustable push bar handle

Every aspect of safety has been considered in the design of the Rollz Flex and therefore innovative drum brakes are included to provide safe and controlled braking and parking.  The manoeuvrable front wheels allow for easy steering and a threshold device is included on rear wheels for easy curb mounting.

The integral shopping bag is waterproof and holds a large capacity for storing all your shopping and the inner lining of the bag is removable and washable.  The Flex frame is available in white with either a Bright Purple or Denim Grey shopping bag.

Video Demonstration:

We think that you will love this product, we certainly do!

You can find more information on the Rollz Flex Shopping Trolley / Rolllator here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OneLeg Gardening and Posture Stools that Rock

OneLeg garden stool

OneLeg stool for gardening

Danish inventor, Susanne Schmidt was inspired to create OneLeg after finding an old “collar button” wooden, one-legged stool in her attic which had previously been used by her ex-husband, a bricklayer, for laying paving. The stool had a single wooden leg and flat top with a curved base to the foot.  Susanne took to using the stool in the garden to save her knees and back and after a while, felt sure that she could improve on the design to create a stool with a wider curved base that would prevent it digging into the ground.  She also wanted it to be self supporting, ergonomic, weather resistant, stable enough to allow a good working radius and suitable for use for all ages. With the help of a friend and a few prototypes later, OneLeg Low was created with the addition of the anti-slip foot and stool covers.

Oneleg kitchen stool

Oneleg stool is useful for jobs around the home

True to the simplicity and elegance of traditional Danish design, OneLeg stool alleviates the problems of aches and pains through kneeling and bending. OneLeg has a unique curved foot that allows the user to tilt and rotate around so that the stool simply follows the body’s movements. You will be amazed at the improvement in your core strength and concentration by using OneLeg.

OneLeg will save your knees and back whenever you have things to do at ground level. Rock and turn on the unique base; OneLeg will follow your movement, giving you a wide radius while strengthening your back and abdominal muscles. and your core strength. The curved base is gentle to the ground. It won’t sink down into grass or soil and can be used on both flat and sloped areas.

OneLeg Gardening stool 32-54

OneLeg Stool is available in four size options

OneLeg has also found a home indoors and can be used by the whole family. The freedom of movement offered by OneLeg is great for posture during work and play for a variety of uses. In addition to the OneLeg Stool Low, three new height options for OneLeg Stool Tall are also available allowing higher seating positions for desks or tables.

OneLeg has many uses around the home, whether it be cleaning out cupboards, grooming the dog or playing with the kids. The stools have also  proved to be popular in nurseries, schools and pediatric hospitals for the children, teachers and nursing staff. Whilst being fun to use, they are great for posture and it is never too early to instill good posture into your kids!

Oneleg childrens stool

OneLeg stool for children

The Roto moulded single piece plastic leg is completely weather proof in extremes of heat and moisture and is easy to clean. The silicon seat and foot covers provide extra comfort and grip, allowing an even greater range of movement and good posture. An anti-slip foot cover should always be fitted when using OneLeg indoors.

You can have fun mixing and matching the colour schemes of your OneLeg. The stools come in a wide range of colours, along with the colour co-ordinated anti- slip foot and seat covers. OneLeg also makes a great gift!

Testimonials from a professional Orthopedic  Surgeon, and Occupational Therapists on the benefits of OneLeg can be seen below:

Doctor Morten Kramhoeft
Specialist Doctor, Orthopedic Surgery, CFR Hospitaler A/S, Denmark:

“We have tested the new OneLeg stool and found it to be very suitable. On the curved foot you sit both active and ergonomically correct. It is easy to tilt and rotate the podium without twisting in the back, and it invites you to keep your back straight while working.
With the simple and nice design, that is easy to clean, it is suitable in our environment, where hygiene is of course important.

As a specialist in orthopedic surgery, I can highly recommend OneLeg to our patients.
It is important to sit dynamic and ergonomic. This applies to work at very low altitudes, avoiding twisting and strain in the back and knees when using the small OneLeg of 32 cm and the higher models for many of the everyday tasks at work table, dining table etc. But also in training and rehabilitation of both back, knees and hips. When sitting on OneLeg, it is possible to train the muscles in the mentioned areas without improper load.”

Physiotherapist Gitte Skov Frandsen, DK- Hillerod:

“OneLeg offers a flexibility that differs from ordinary stools and chairs. With the possibility to spin and turn on the stool, you can prevent twist of the back that could ultimately lead to overload of the back muscles.

OneLeg also gives you the possibility to strengthen your (stabilised) back and abdominal muscles. The stool offers a dynamic sitting posture, which makes is possible to change the working and sitting posture. This is very important for me as a physiotherapist.

OneLeg has many uses both inside and outside. Outside it is primarily used for gardening and inside there are a wide range of possibilities for both children and adults.

I could imagine using OneLeg for example for watching television. The sitting would be dynamic, which is healthier for the body instead of static sitting. The cardiovascular system improves as the body continuously moves.

OneLeg can easily be used by children as well as adults. I, myself, have children at home and they use it for playing, drawing, watching television etc. and they are happy with it. Children have a natural freedom and joy of movement that adults are missing. Intuitively they know what is good for them and we must try to instill this in adults too.”

Authorised Occupational Therapist Ingrid Hallas-Moller Frederiksberg, Denmark:

“I find the OneLeg stool suitable for children in day care and pre-school for daily gatherings and other meeting activities. The stool gives the child a dynamic sitting posture, which stimulates the child’s nervous system for more calmness in the body. Especially for children who are hyperactive, it is a blessing for them to be able to move around on the stool without disturbing others.

The occupational therapist’s work is to change the child’s surroundings and with the stool, it is the sensory perception that the child receives that corrects the behavior. I also use OneLeg in my therapeutic training of children with challenges such as motor control, balance and planning for example in conjunction with ball games. The dynamic sitting posture on the stool makes the child exercise their balance skills and corrects the body against gravity to maintain balance.

Adults can benefit from the OneLeg stool, when working with children. First, it is possible to communicate at eye level and secondly the adult will have their body’s dynamic balance exercised.

The stool has a nice design with vivid colours and can be use inside and outside, by children and adults.”

Anne Grethe Olsen, Ebeltoft School, Denmark:

“At the Ebeltoft School in Denmark we have two classes for young students with various challenges. The common denominator is that most children have difficulties sitting still and concentrating,  even just for a short while. Most of the students therefore enjoy their OneLeg ergonomic stools.

For instance, Tobias aged 7 needs to keep active to avoid going to sleep and to be able to concentrate on the lessons. When he sits on his OneLeg stool he enjoys to move to different positions without disturbing the others as he would have done with an ordinary chair.

Another student is Emil aged 9. He is very restless and moves around a lot but he appreciates being able to do this on his OneLeg stool despite of the small seat.

He thinks the stool is fantastic and it makes it easy to for him to find a new spot to sit in the class room. Even when he turns and rotates on OneLeg it does not slide out on him because of the silicone anti-slip foot cover.

Of course we have some students that do not like to sit on the stool. One of these children have a brain damage that reduces his sense of balance. He is afraid to fall off the one legged stool that rotates when moving his weight and therefore he prefers the traditional chair.

As an adult I also use the OneLeg stool. My task is to be close to the students in the class room and move quickly from one to the other. I need to sit next to the children and the OneLeg is light weight and easy to move around.”

Further information on the full range of OneLeg stools and covers can be found HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Arthritis Week: 12th – 18th October

Arthritis Research logo

In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis.

Arthritis Research UK are a charity committed to preventing the onset of arthritis, developing a cure for arthritis and transforming the lives of those with arthritis.

This National Arthritis Week, you are asked to share your stories of living with arthritis to help more people get closer to living free from the pain of arthritis.

Arthritis Research are also raising awareness that on the 25th November, the Government will set out its spending plans for the country in the Comprehensive Spending Review. This will decide how much money is spent on everything: from welfare to healthcare, to support for research. They urge you to tell your MP they must fight for a fair deal for people with arthritis during the Spending Review. Register or sign in to email your MP, and give people with arthritis in your community the champion they need.

The fair deal that is being campaigned for is to make arthritis a public health priority, demanding a commitment  to protect and increase the amount of money councils receive to maintain the health of local resident. Protecting the welfare benefits for disabled people with arthritis and committing to protect and then increase investment in medical research to support the fight to cure arthritis.

You can lend your support to National Arthritis Week by sharing your story here. Your stories will be used to guide the research Arthritis Research UK fund in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self Lacing Shoes and Footwear for Disability

Putting on a pair of shoes can be a daily struggle and a chore if you are disabled or elderly.  But shoe designers are coming up with some interesting, futuristic designs that could help make life easier.

As a result of an open letter sent  by a teenager with Cerebral Palsy, Nike have developed a cool pair of trainers designed for people with disabilities. Matthew Walzer, then 16, wrote asking Nike to make a pair of accessible shoes that would provide support and a closure system that could be used by everyone.

Nike Flyease

Nike Flyease trainers

In his letter, Matthew said “Out of all the challenges I have overcome in my life, there is one that I am still trying to master, tying my shoes. Cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles in the body. As a result I have flexibility in only one of my hands which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes. My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes everyday”

In response to his plea, Nike have developed Flyease, a trainer that uses a wrap around zipper system to secure the shoe, whilst a larger opening has been created to make it easier to slide the foot in and out.

In a posting on the Nike website, designer Tinker Hatfield said “While varying levels of mobility make it difficult to provide a universal solution, we feel this is a significant development for anyone who has ever struggled with independently securing their foot within Nike shoes.” Matthew responded by saying “There are not enough ‘thank yous’ in the world to express my undying gratitude.”

Limited quantities of the LeBron Soldier 8 FLYEASE are now available on Nike.com website.

 

Japanese footwear designer Masaya Hashimoto has joined forces with Italian shoe maker Vibram to create the Vibram Furoshiki; a minimalist piece of footwear that has been described as Origami for the feet.

Vibram-furoshiki shoes

Vibram Furoshiki

Furoshiki-Vibram-shoes-stretch

Furoshiki is the traditional Japanese technique of cloth wrapping which is still used today for gift wrapping and transporting goods. This ancient technique has been used to create a minimalist piece of footwear with an innovative and anatomical grip sole that literally wraps the shoe in place. This is a really interesting concept which may help those with limited hand dexterity. You could imagine they would feel like second skin footwear; whether they will be waterproof or more of a slipper shoe is unclear but we will watch the shoe’s progress with interest.

 

Later this year, Nike is planning to release the Nike AIr MAG, a pair of self-lacing shoes, inspired by the time travel film  ’Back to the Future II’ worn by the fictional character Marty McFly when he is transported in the movie to 2015.

nike-mag-2015-release

Nike Air MAG

Rollers embedded in the sole of the Nike Air MAG  would be activated by a control system which senses weight in the sole of the shoe. The power laces then respond by tightening and wrapping themselves around the shoe. Teasers have been dropped recently by Nike’s designer Tinker Hatfield as to the launch date later this year for the Air MAG so watch this space…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Article By Arthritis Digest – Blood test for fibromyalgia moves a step closer

Image credit: Kim Strømstad

Image credit: Kim Strømstad

New research from King’s College London could lead to a reliable blood test for fibromyalgia, experts claim.

The team will examine samples and measurements taken from 400 twin volunteers, in which one twin has chronic widespread pain. The samples will be compared with the DNA of the healthy twin to establish the differences and identify biomarkers in the DNA associated with the condition.

“Currently there’s no blood test for fibromyalgia, which makes diagnosis difficult,” explains Dr Frances Williams, lead researcher. “And treatment is limited, and in many cases unsatisfactory.

“Our research will help patients in two ways. First it’ll contribute to our understanding of how fibromyalgia – and other chronic pain syndromes such as irritable bowel syndrome – develop, and point to pain pathways which we may not have suspected.

“Secondly, we hope it’ll lead to identification of a biomarker which we could work into a blood test.

“As well as enabling the condition to be diagnosed more effectively, it could help to ‘stratify’ patients into groups depending on disease severity, which will help in clinical trials of potential new treatments. It might even help us predict how the condition will progress.”

Fibromyalgia is common pain syndrome that causes muscle and bone pain, fatigue and disturbed sleep. It has no obvious physical cause and is difficult to diagnose, treat and manage.

Dr Natalie Carter, head of research liaison at Arthritis Research UK comments:

“Fibromyalgia is notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat, partly because we know so little about why it occurs and how it progresses. Being able to diagnose it would be a major step forward, and understanding more about the influence of genetics will allow us to develop treatments specifically for people with fibromyalgia in the future.”

Source: Arthritis Digest magazine, http://arthritisdigest.co.uk