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The hints box

Nordic Walking helps ward off my back pain

I suffer from low back pain but am a volunteer Nordic Walking instructor with the NHS. Nordic Walking is an ideal cross-training exercise technique that uses your legs, arms, the rear part of your shoulders and your chest and back muscles. It is an easy way to exercise 90 per cent of the body muscle, and I find it keeps my back strong. I had people on my courses who had difficulty in walking due to low back pain but when using Nordic Walking poles they could walk pain-free and therefore were free to build up their strength and fitness. It also uses 25 to 40 per cent more calories than normal walking.
Howard Allen, Isle of Wight

Cider vinegar and honey helped me to come off all medication

The article in the Daily Mail that David Vautier was referring to (Hints Box, Arthritis Today 150 Summer 2010) was about my recovery from arthritis using a drug free self-help approach which includes taking regular doses of a mixture of organic cider vinegar and honey. Exactly five years ago I suffered severely with arthritis in my spine. As I seemed to have a bad reaction to all my doctor’s medication I was told to come off all that had been prescribed. I was left in total agony and unable to walk with a specialist’s appointment six weeks hence. My daughter sent me a book about treating arthritis a drug-free way and I immediately started to follow its suggestions. Within one week I was up and about and three months later I was completely free of pain. I didn’t need that specialist’s appointment! I decided to write a booklet about my experience in order to help others who find themselves in the same predicament. If readers would like a copy then perhaps they’d like to visit my website at or ring me on 01706 344429.
Sarah Gall, Rochdale, Lancashire

Protect your stomach from NSAIDs

I read with interest the letters from NL Gardiner (Q & A) and Derek Evered (Hints Box) regarding NSAIDs and ulcers. I have had rheumatoid arthritis for over 26 years and have been taking Oruvail (ketoprofen) for almost all of that time.

I was also prescribed Cytotec (misoprostol) 200mcg to protect my stomach lining from ulcers. I take one twice a day (after breakfast and before going to bed). They have worked brilliantly. I have had no problems at all, so they might be worth trying.
Anthea Hall, Stourbridge, West Midlands

Editor’s note: Long-term NSAID users at risk of stomach ulcers are normally prescribed drugs such as misoprostol, and other stomach-protecting drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole.

Can’t sleep after hip op?

I have suffered from ankylosing spondylitis for 34 years and last year, at 54, I had to have hip replacement surgery. The operation went successfully and I was told to sleep on my back for four to six weeks. Because I was used to sleeping on my side I found it virtually impossible! After a week of no sleep, my physiotherapist advised me to sleep on my side by putting two pillows between my legs to keep them separated and to avoid dislocation of the hip. But the pillows didn’t work–they were too small and tended to slide over each other because of their lozenge shape. I turned to the internet to try and find a pillow to help but there seemed to be nothing available. All I found were many hip replacement patients having the same problem. So, with advice from my physiotherapist, I set about designing an ergonomic support to separate and support the entire length of my leg – allowing me to move whilst sleeping but being anchored in position by a loose fitting strap to give a sense of security. At last I could sleep comfortably, which I’m sure helped speed my recovery. A simple but effective solution! I now manufacture a pillow called Slumber Support ® and have registered the design as a medical device. I hope that the pillow will bring comfort to the thousands of people who are having hip replacements who, like me, usually sleep on their side. If you would like to know more call us on 01223 830355 or go to
Mark Dowen, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

The benefits of a vegan diet

I used to suffer from arthritis and it ran in my family. However, I have gone almost completely vegan, and hardly suffer any pain at all. I don’t need painkillers or any other supplements. I am 60 years of age and had pain from my early 30s. I think a vegan diet should be strongly promoted as a healthy lifestyle, and also to save the planet.
N Smith, Newquay, Cornwall

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