Reviews

Reviews

I am very happy to review products that are relevant and will always give a fair and honest review – all opinions will be my own and will not be influenced by the company/manufacturer.

Adrenal Fatigue – Pin review from Cathy, Ty Siriol Ceramics & Crafts

Cathy at Ty Siriol Ceramics and Crafts recently posted a short review for this book on pinterest which I thought I would share with you.

The “blurb” from Amazon reads “This is an incredibly informative and reader-friendly book about a common debilitating medical condition that goes largely undiagnosed and untreated. ADRENAL FATIGUE: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome is a very empowering work cram-packed with vital information about a condition that very likely affects millions of people”

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Cathy writes “I’ve recently read this book to try to get to the bottom of why I’m so exhausted, among other things. It’s a really good read and helps you to assess if this could be a problem for you as well as giving really thorough advice….” Remainder of her short review is here:

http://pin.it/tyWipX2

On Amazon the book has received 151 reviews with an average 4.5 stars out of 5.

Review “PainXit Tens machine” from Zec at Sat on my Butt blog

It is always interesting to those of us with chronic pain when a new pain killing device comes onto the market.  With so much metalwork and a spinal cord stimulator, I would probably be limited as to where this device might be useful, but Zec’s positive review on Sat on my Butt sounds like it could be worth a go!

“I have been sent a PainXit – TENS machine from designed2enable, simply put it is a portable TENS device to help combat pain.

I have a full size TENS machine and I have used it for many years, it doesn’t help with all of my pain but I know when it is likely to help and when it isn’t. I also have a similar pen device that contains a piezo crystal and delivers a shock when you click the button but I have never found it to be much help.

The PainXit – TENS machine is powered by a AAA battery and delivers a 1000 w at 0.4 mJ , now I know that sounds scary but believe me it isn’t.”

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Full review can be found Sat on my Butt

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designed2enable website

Pain Relief Cushions – my review of a natural product to aid in pain relief

Disclosure: “I have been given a “Cosy Cushion” Pain Relief Cushion as part of a product review. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.”

When we have pain the natural thing to do is reach for something to give us some comfort and hopefully in the process reduce the pain….or get rid of it!  This goes for a toddler falling and bumping a knee, to a broken bone, to labour and childbirth, to post operative pain.  Fortunately these pains are usually short lived (yes, I know that some labours go on for days, ladies) and will become a memory.  Not so chronic pain, which by definition is pain that has been regular and ongoing for over 6 months.

For most of us living with chronic pain, we have had to find our own methods to help to ease the symptoms in conjunction with drugs and medical intervention.  My back and leg pain is caused by nerve root damage, and I have always found heat to be one of the few things to offer me any relief.  So I was really pleased when Pain Relief Cushions gave me the opportunity to trial and review one of their wheat and lavender cushions.file_000-22.jpeg

Pain Relief Cushions state that their mission is to “provide freshly filled cushions at point of order” and that “the same cushion can be used hot or cold”.   The cushions can be heated in the microwave or will take heat from a radiator in order to “give a gentle, penetrating heat which goes deep into the muscles, eases and relieves pain”.  They can also be kept in the fridge and used for cold applications such as swellings and sprains.  The company is approved as a member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen.93fd76617fb1e63bbe687ab604fbddeb

I requested a long cushion to use across my lower back and down the length of my leg, but the cushions come in several different shapes and sizes to suit differing needs.  It arrived well packaged with a covering letter, a flier describing the product range and care instructions, and a separate insert with care instructions for the heating and freezing of the pillow.  The pillow is completely natural – the cover is luxurious cotton velvet, available in a selection of colours, and the filling is wheat and optional lavender.

I did opt for lavender and this was the first thing that I noticed on removing it from the packaging – a very pleasant change from some of the less sweet smelling similar products I have used before.  However, the teens in the house did not like the lavender smell, which initially becomes stronger upon heating – personal preference, I guess, as my husband and I both liked it.  The bag is well labelled with clear heating instructions and power settings for your microwave – an average time being 2 minutes.  The care instructions are easy to follow explaining the importance of bunching up the bag, that the microwave plate must be freely spinning and that a new bag might feel “damp” the first couple of times that it is heated.  Likewise the instructions for cooling/freezing are clear.

I have been using the Pain Relief Cushion daily for approx a month now and have been very happy.  When sitting I regularly use an electric heat pad but as this is plugged into the mains, it is not always convenient to use.  This is when a microwave heat bag really comes into its own, and whilst I have used similar products in the past I found this wheat bag to be superior in quality.  Before I have found that wheat bags have not stayed warm for as long as my trusty cherry stone heat bags, but the Pain Relief Cushion does stay warm for a similar time span and is well made.  Remember I use it daily and heat it several times a day, so it is very well used.  16906976_998625020269091_6683417726205034496_n(1)

I cannot claim that it gets rid of my nerve pain, but it certainly helps to ease it.  It has also been very helpful for the Ehlers Danlos join/soft tissue pain that I have all over my body – it was particularly good for my neck and regularly dislocating shoulders!  The pictures were taken on a “popped” hip joint day.  For those of us with monthly cramps, it is a great safe alternative to a hot water bottle!  I personally haven’t used the cushion as a cold compress.

The only piece of negative feedback came from my daughter with regards to the packaging.  She commented that in her opinion the flier would attract younger people to the product with a more contemporary, clean look – she is naturally artistic with an eye for graphic design.

From the time that I have used my Pain Relief Cushion, I would definitely recommend it as an aid to pain relief and will continue to use mine.

The products retail in the UK at  www.painreliefcushions.co.uk and in the US at www.ease-pain.com

The company can also be found on social media : TwitterFacebook and Pinterest

Honey Colony Superior Cannabinoid Rich Hemp Formula

Disclosure: “I have been given Honey Colony Superior Cannabinoid Rich Hemp Formula as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.”

 

For the last 6 weeks I have been trialing Superior Cannabinoid Rich Hemp Formula, an herbal supplement made by Honey Colony, a co-operative model based in USA that aims to empower the individual to be their own best health advocate. honey colony.com

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Cannabidiol (CBD) can be extracted from the cannabis plant and taken for health benefits, but without the euphoric feelings usually associated with cannabis/marijuana.  Honey Colony, who have a mission to empower the individual to be the best advocate for their own health whilst putting honesty back into the food supply, were looking for individuals experiencing chronic pain to assess the effects of CBD oil on their health and well being.

The science bit:

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   Hemp         ←                              →    Marijuana

Agricultural production                                                                          Pharmacological production

↓                   ↓                    ↓                                                                                 ↓                                      ↓

Fibre            Oil                Food                                                                          THC                               CBDs

Cannabis is made up of over 60 compounds, and the 2 in greatest numbers are CBD and THC.  The compound that people will be most aware of by reputation if not name is the THC – this is the part that causes the user to experience the high we think of in recreational use! However it is possible to produce a plant that has higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC.  As CBD has no component to cause psychotropic changes it is useful for medicinal purposes. Must know facts about CBD

So now the health benefits:

Pharmacological reviews have claimed that CBD has the following properties

  • anti-sickness,
  • anticonvulsant,
  • antipsychotic,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • anti-oxidant,
  • anti-cancer,
  • anti-depressant

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22625422)

Honey Colony has developed an herbal supplement incorporating CBD which they state

  • Balances the Nervous System
  • Balances the Musculo-Skeletal System
  • Promotes Mental Clarity, Focus & Memory
  • Supports Calm & Relaxation
  • Supports Healthy Immune & Stress Response
  • Supports Healthy Inflammatory Response
  • Provides Anti-Oxidant Support
  • Supports Healthy Energy & Stamina

What makes the Honey Colony Superior formula stand out?

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This herbal extract is a combination of CBD oil and 6 other natural compounds

  • Sichuan Teasel Root
  • Dang Shen Root
  • Astragalus Root
  • White Peony / Bai Shao Yao root
  • Propolis
  • Bitter Orange Peel

The Honey Colony site states “whole plants or mixtures of plants are more effective than than isolated compounds.

Full details of the ingredients’ properties can be found here: https://www.honeycolony.com/shop/superior-cbd-oil/.

Why should I try Honey Colony Superior Cannabinoid Rich Hemp Formula?

I have a genetic condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hypermobility type) which means that my body does not produce collagen in the normal way – normal tissues containing collagen stretch & rebound like an elastic band, whilst mine is more like chewing gum!  It affects my joints, causing pain & dislocations, my circulation (Raynauds and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia syndrome – I pass out regularly!), my gut, my bladder & my nervous system.  Cauda equina syndrome after a lumbar disc rupture many years ago has left me with chronic pain in my back, leg & foot.

I have struggled to gain any real pain relief in recent years and have taken a cocktail of drugs including the opiate Oxycontin (oxycodone), various antidepressants used for nerve pain and the gold standard for nerve pain, Lyrica (pregabalin).  Last year I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted to help relieve the nerve pain and my hospital insisted that I wean myself off the Oxycontin. Whilst I’m pleased to be off the opiates, a downside has been a huge increase in my joint pain so having been asked to write a review for Honey Colony I felt quietly hopeful & excited!

The Product

The hemp formula arrived in the UK well packaged and in a bottle of good quality & appearance – dark brown to preserve the qualities of the formula from light damage, with a pipette dropper lid and a black & bronze label.

It is recommended that the product is taken 3 times a day, placing 4 drops under the tongue for 90 seconds – sublingual for fast absorption into the blood stream.

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The product is a strange sludge colour, but please don’t let this put you off!  I found the taste bitter at first but after several doses my taste buds had adjusted and I was able to detect the sweetness of the honey.  For me this was a similar taste experience to that with oxynorm elixir!  Unlike some other CBD oil products on the market which use olive or coconut oil, the Honey Colony Superior Rich Hemp formula does not contain a carrier and does not need warming to thin the consistency.

The All Important Question – Did it help?

I went into this trial with an open mind and without reading any other reviews for this or similar products.  I haven’t used CBD products before so I am unable to draw comparisons between this product and other CBD products on the market. The immediate difference that I noticed was to my sleep. Like many chronic illness sufferers, my sleep is at best disturbed and at worst non-existent.  The particular type of spinal cord stimulator that I have cannot be used overnight and so I have to switch it off.  Without the oxycontin my nights have become worse from both the nerve pain and joint pain.

My nights have definitely been more settled following a final dose of CBD oil before going to bed – the muscle spasm around my joints is improved and I feel generally more relaxed.  I can’t pretend that I suddenly sleep all night every night, but I think that during wakeful periods I am less stressed.

My pain in my joints & soft tissues is definitely helped by the CBD formula – the relaxed feelings come within about 30 minutes and last for several hours.  This allows me to perform some of the moderate exercises that are essential to keep me moving & to  ensure my mobility does not further deteriorate.   The jury is still out with regards to the chronic nerve pain that I have in my back, leg & foot – I plan to continue monitoring this alongside the scs over coming months.  The temperature has dropped in recent days and so my pain has worsened – this will be a really good test period for some improvement.

I am completely realistic after so many years with chronic pain and do not expect a “cure” but any relief is really welcome, so I am thrilled that I am able to feel more comfortable in my shoulders, hips and hands particularly.

Prices, Value & Comparisons

Honey Colony products are available for shipping to the UK, but cannot be bought from suppliers here.  So when calculating costs a shipping fee must be considered.

A 30 ml bottle of the Superior Cannabinoid rich hemp formula retails for $92.55, with a current conversion of £74.73 and various reductions are available for larger quantities (https://www.honeycolony.com/shop/superior-cbd-oil-3-pack/). superior-3pack-600x600The current postage on one 30ml bottle to the UK at Priority International rate is $48.75 or £39.36, or first class rate is $22.75 or £18.37.  The exchange rate has altered since the Brexit vote in the UK and unfortunately for me makes the product and postage rate higher as the pound falls against the dollar!

The product does feel expensive, particularly as I am no longer physically fit enough to work and we rely upon disability benefits & are technically a low income household.  However having now done a little research and value comparisons online with other products, I can see that other CBD oils claiming to be of a similar quality are comparable – it is difficult though as I may not be comparing like with like.  My verdict is that for the results I achieved, this product does offer good value and I would purchase under different financial circumstances.

Any Special Considerations?

Honey Colony recommend that pregnant and breastfeeding women consult a doctor prior to using the product.

It is possible for the consumption of CBD oil to result in a positive drugs test for THC – whilst this should be well below legal limits, it must be noted by the individual (in the same way that eating poppy seeds can result in a positive opiates test occasionally).

My Conclusion

I have been impressed with the results that I have achieved using Honey Colony Superior Cannabinoid Hemp Formula health supplement whilst caring for my symptoms from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  Whilst I have not eradicated all my pain, I have achieved a better sleeping pattern & have gained relief for my joint pain.  When personal circumstances allow, I plan to continue using this product as part of a pain relieving programme.

DISCLAIMER: all opinions stated above are my own and based upon my own experience.  I am not authorized to give medical advice and am no longer registered as a nurse.  Please consult your doctor or seek medical advice before commencing any health supplements/medications.

Switch Sticks and Smart Crutches

I was getting ready to go out the other day, and as every self respecting girl (well girl in my head!) attempts to do I was trying to coordinate my wardrobe.  T shirt – check; jeans – check; jacket – check; shoes & handbag – check; nearly there…..walking stick – hang on a minute!  No blue walking stick!

I remember clearly a few years ago when a mum at the school told me that her daughter, a friend of my then “little” girl, had drawn a picture of a girl with a pink stick and declared “I want to have a pink sparkly stick when I grow up just like Lucy’s mummy!”.  If I’m honest at the time I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  My dad had thought it would be funny to buy me my first walking stick for my 40th birthday and I still wasn’t too sure just how hilarious this was – life begins at 40….but not sure a stick is every woman’s dream gift!!  But on the other hand how great that a little girl didn’t see me as some old crock who couldn’t walk properly, but rather she saw the pink, sparkly stick as a desirable item.  Well, what little girl wouldn’t covet something covered in pink & purple glitter and sparkle??

Since then my collection has grown, and I figure that if you need a walking stick at my age then it really should be snazzy…..and match your outfit.  Vanity? Definitely. Essential? Sadly these days, yes!  Over recent weeks the pain in my hip has become more troublesome and I am using the stick in the house now as well as outside – I have been a very proficient furniture walker.  I’m sure that my right side has been compensating for the nerve and chronic pain issues in my left side – resulting in a flare of EDS & dodgy collagen in my subluxing right hip joint.  This brings me full circle to my first point – that is that I am missing a blue themed walking stick in my collection!

For some fun I’ll show you the canes that I do have – please note that this is just my opinion of a brand that I own and I have not been paid to promote any manufacturer.  My walking sticks are manufactured by Switch sticks, a firm based in London, and are folding adjustable, stylish & affordable. They advertise as ” Switch Sticks are the range of award winning stylish walking sticks, crutches, seat sticks and accessories that keep you moving and looking good. They are tough, durable, lightweight aluminium and are height adjustable making them the perfect fit for most people.  With new designs twice a year Switch Sticks are the designer walking aids to be seen with and suitable for both men and women.”

The Switch stick folds up neatly for those who just need it for occasional use or wish to take an extra in a suitcase…..to colour coordinate, of course…..and comes with a wrist strap and carry pouch.  I’ll have a look and list some other similar makes too.  I really like the Switch because it is sturdy and has a great rubber foot, which can be renewed…..but I guess the greatest draw is the fab range of colours and patterns!!  They retail in the UK for £39.99 – https://www.switchsticks.co.uk

My range……

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When my body parts are really failing to synchronise and play ball, I use forearm crutches.  This particular brand was recommended to me by a friend who had seen a review on an EDS site.  They are manufactured in the UK and are aptly named the “smartcrutch”, as they have such obvious features for comfort that our good old NHS crutches lack.  A great rubber non slip foot, adjustable height, but also a good supporting forearm rest that is adjustable.  For those of us with dodgy wrists, elbows and/or shoulders this is a godsend to help relieve the pressure on joints and ligaments.  The forearm rest is padded and can be adjusted from a vertical angle through to a horizontal at 90 degrees to the floor, and is finished with an easy to grip rubberised handle which is also adjustable for different arm lengths.  Finally…..yes, they too come in a great range of colours!!  £89.99, but if registered disabled they will be VAT free.  What’s not to like??

http://smartcrutch.co.uk/

Whilst I don’t use the crutches all the time, and my physio feels that they can actually put additional stress on the shoulder/pec major ligaments, when I do need extra support they are great and I do stand up straighter with them…..of course the tonne of titanium and electrode leads help with that too!!  I’ve given up explaining that the reason I’m so upright now is in order to get maximum contact between my scs electrode and my spinal cord.

Some other websites that I’ve found:

http://www.james-smith.co.uk/product-categories/walking-sticks

http://www.classiccanes.co.uk/catalogue/Fashionable_Canes.html

www.walkingsticksonline.co.uk/

http://www.fashionablecanes.com/

Meanwhile, I’m off to do a bit of colour coordinating…..where did I put my husband’s credit card??

DISCLAIMER: all opinions stated above are my own and based upon my own experience.  I am not authorized to give medical advice and am no longer registered as a nurse.  Please consult your doctor or seek medical advice before commencing any health supplements/medications.

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