Practical Placements with SpA: My University Experience Part 2

After discussing my previous post (Studying with Spondyloarthritis) with a friend over at the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society's ASone, I have decided to write a follow up post about how I managed my arthritis on placement. 

Over my three year degree I completed 7 placements that lasted between 2 and 6 weeks (most were 4 or 6 weeks long) in a variety of settings. Over the placements, I was expected to develop my clinical practice and use increasingly advanced and appropriate treatments while under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist. On placements I could do anything from giving advice, to heavy moving and handling, to facilitating normal movement patterns, to providing walking aids. While some of these were quite light work, others took a lot of effort and most placements involved standing for long periods of time with few breaks.

Earlier on in my degree, I really didn't feel comfortable telling my educators that I had arthritis and managed it myself because I…

Studying with Spondyloarthritis: My University Experience

In July 2017 I graduated from University with a Bachelors degree in Physiotherapy. When I started Uni back in September 2014 I was already under Rheumatology and had been for a number of years having dealt with joint problems since I was about 11 years old. However, it wasn't until November 2014 that I was actually diagnosed with an inflammatory arthritis that we weren't yet able to identify. I spent my entire Uni experience balancing a social life, uni work and my arthritis - or maybe "juggling" would be a better term for it. 
My degree was the perfect split of practical and theory, meaning I could go into Uni to practice various treatments and techniques with my peers, but I also needed to sit down and learn the theory behind these therapies and how to adapt them to individual patients in different settings. Over the three years, the practical aspect of my degree moved more to real life settings and was developed on placements, whereas our lectures, seminars and as…

Backpacking with Spondyloarthritis: My trip through Europe

I was recently fortunate enough to go on a backpacking holiday around Europe with my friend. We planned to go away for 15 days starting in Dubrovnik, then up to Zagreb, onto Ljubljana with a day at Lake Bled, over to Budapest, up to Bratislava with a day in Vienna and finally onto Prague. All in all we travelled approximately 1000 miles, and we did it all by bus.

A rough plan of our route
I was a bit apprehensive about going away for this holiday. It would have been the first time my friend and I had travelled so far on our own, the first time we would have to negotiate travel across 6 different countries, and for me the first time I have backpacked. I had so many questions relating to the logistics of travelling this far for the first time, but also travelling this far for the first time with arthritis - should I take my Humira and Methotrexate injections with me? What rucksack would be the best for my back? What do I do if I flare while away? Will travel insurance be really expensive?…

Flying with Spondyloarthritis

I have recently got back from a family holiday in the USA, which was amazing. The problem with going so far away is that the travel can be more trying than going to places within or nearer the UK. Cross-continental travel can be challenging for anyone - getting through security, waiting for flights, finding the right terminal and gate, sitting in cramped aeroplane seats for hours and getting transport to accommodation once you have arrived at your destination, which is usually in a different time-zone adding jet lag in to the mix. When you have Spondyloarthritis these things can be even more challenging, especially if you have problems with your mobility, so I have decided to share my top tips for flying with Spondyloarthritis: 

Letter from your team: Speak to your rheumatology team about going away - if you are on injectable medications you need a letter from your rheumatologist or healthcare at home company if you intend to take your injectable medications away with you. For example …

My diagnosis story

My current diagnosis is Seronegative Spondyloarthritis. This diagnosis is not exact as it describes a family of related conditions including:
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA) – peripheral arthritis with or without axial arthritis usually with skin or nail psoriasis (or a family history of skin or nail psoriasis in first degree relatives)Ankylosing Spondylitis/Axial Spondyloarthritis (AS) – predominantly axial arthritis characterised by inflammatory back pain though people with AS may also commonly have arthritis in shoulders and hips – can also have arthritis in other peripheral joints but not as common as shoulder and hipsReiters syndrome/reactive arthritis (ReA) – arthritis which occurs after certain infections in certain individualsUndifferentiated Spondyloarthritis (USpA) – arthritis which is seronegative but does not yet fit the criteria of the first 3 conditions
So what does seronegative actually mean? Well in this case it generally means…

What happens at biologics clinic for Ankylosing Spondylitis - a patient's perspective

Yesterday I finished my last day of University and I am officially a graduand until my graduation in July, and what better way to celebrate than learning how to inject a biological medication for the first time... Obviously I am joking but I do feel like this might be the turning point in my arthritis, which a welcomed change!

I said in my last post that I wanted to write a post about what happens at a biologics clinic for arthritis because I honestly couldn't find much information from the point of view of a patient and being slightly OCD, I quite like knowing what might happen. But please note this is my experience, and the process at your hospital may be different.

First things first, I was referred to my hospitals biologics clinic because my arthritis was not controlled on methotrexate alone and the other DMARD (hydroxychloroquine) I had tried had given me a lot of heartburn so I'd stopped it. This means that from a peripheral joint perspective, my arthritis was active enoug…

Hello and welcome!!

Hi all and welcome to Young Arthur!

I thought I might introduce myself to start with. I am 20 years old, I am about to graduate from University, I am in desperate need of a job, and I have arthritis or Arthur as I like to term it. 

I am one of approximately 27,000 people under the age of 25 living with arthritis in the UK. However, we have not been able to identify the exact type of arthritis I have. My hospital appointments are filled with terms such as "intriguing", "unusual" and "mystery" because I am not your typical individual with arthritis, in fact the way my arthritis is presenting is quite atypically; a badge I wear with pride. I am not going to go into all of the nitty gritty things about why the type of arthritis I have is not clear-cut just yet, that needs it's own post. 

This post is a wee introduction to me and this blog. Young Arthur is a place where I am going to share information about my diagnosis, about how I advocate for myself in a t…