Arthritis Research and Prevention Act Included In Economic Stimulus Package

News flash from

Today, President Obama will sign the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1), a $787 billion economic stimulus bill as passed by Congress late last week.  The stimulus bill includes $650 million for a Prevention and Wellness Fund that will provide for evidence-based clinical and community-based prevention programs (mainly funded through the CDC) and $10 billion for research at the National Institutes of Health (approximately $140 million for the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases).

Thanks to your advocacy efforts and that of the Arthritis Foundation, research and public health provisions with the aim to target more resources to arthritis research and prevention have been included in the final bill.  The details of the legislation, as well as the rules and regulations governing the specifics still need to be determined.  However, the bill calls for investing in evidence-backed, community-based disease prevention programs and includes accountability measures to ensure the funding is being used to directly improve the health of Americans.

The Arthritis Foundation will be advocating to the new Obama Administration that 1) Arthritis research needs to benefit from this stimulus funding and 2)  Arthritis Foundation programs are evidence and community based prevention programs that need to be supported throughout the nation. Stay tuned as more details of this massive legislation emerge!
Woo hoo!!

Chronic Pain Is Highlighted On TV’s “House”

Episode Title: Painless (Season 5, Episode 512)
Writers: Thomas Moran & Eli Attie
Original Air Date: 1-19-09
Summary from the website: House (Hugh Laurie) and the team take on the case of a man living with such severe chronic pain that he tries to kill himself.

While the story of this episode begins fairly bleak, I know some people will find the content to be very realistic, which is exactly why I’m blogging about it. Personally, I am thankful that a television show has given chronic pain some cred. Chronic pain is certainly not your typical TV “disease of the week,” yet it deserves to receive some attention because it is largely misunderstood.

I’m not a regular viewer of House, but I do know that House himself suffers from chronic pain, which is part of what drives him to look at every possible angle in order to properly diagnose the chronic pain patient. Like a lot of us arthritis warriors, our disease can sometimes be difficult to identify. I know people who have been in pain for years, yet have gone that entire time without a true diagnosis.

We all know, all to well, that time spent in pain (diagnosed or not) is emotionally and physically taxing, as it is shown in this episode. Two quotes from “Painless” that perfectly illustrate that point: Patient: “I pray for strength more than hope.” (Wow, I can relate to that quote on a lot of levels.) House: “He’s [the patient] not in pain because he’s depressed. He’s depressed because he’s in pain.”

Another quote that really struck me from the episode is this one:

“You’re alone, that’s why you can handle your pain,” the patient explains to House. “No need to put up a front to be what anyone else wants you to be.”

This line makes me think that one of the writers responsible for this episode had some personal experience with chronic pain because it is dead on. On days that I don’t feel so great, but have to go to work, I’m definitely putting up that front. It’s become so automatic that I don’t realize it until I come home exhausted. Sometimes putting up that front is a necessary part of coping, I would get tired of hearing myself complain if I grumbled each time that I was experiencing pain. Plus, I think complaining on a regular basis would make my pain more difficult to manage. Anyone else agree with me?

I recommend giving this episode a look, so I embedded it in the post. Watch it with a friend or loved one and use it as a jumping off point for a discussion about your chronic pain. You can also check it out on or

If you have seen other shows deal with this subject, or arthritis, please let us know in the comments. I’d love to check them out, too.

I’ll leave you with this quote:
“Gotta let the phone ring more than four times when you are calling a cripple.” -House

Arthritis Patient Seeking Dr. Right

Happy Valentine’s Day, arthritis friends!

“Doctors” is a popular topic at my young adult support group meetings. I’m lucky that the two rheumatologists I’ve seen for my arthritis have both been excellent. But, more often than not, people I know tend to complain about their doctors.

For those that are not so lucky to have a great rheumy, it might be worth your while to check out You can browse doctors by city and specialty, and you can also look up specific doctors. I wouldn’t use this tool as your only source of information about a potential doc, but I think it could be a helpful resource, especially for someone who has just been diagnosed.

Say you get a doctor recommendation for a rheumatologist and he/she has mostly negative reviews on, you might want to seek out another recommendation or do some further homework before making an appointment. Of course everyone’s perception and experience is different, so keep that in mind when doc hunting.

If you are curious like me, you can use look up your current doc to see what other people are saying about him/her. I plan on adding positive reviews for the two rheumatologists that I’ve seen, and a negative review for my ex-GP who once looked up my symptom (altered sense of taste) on the Internet. Um, I could have done that for free at home in my pajamas.

Three Simple Ways to Find a Rheumatologist

  • Obtain a referral from a doctor you trust and like.
  • Call your local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation and ask for a doctor recommendation.
  • Find a support group for the type of arthritis that you have and ask people in the group for doctors that they’ve had a good experience with.

Just like you wouldn’t settle in a romantic relationship, don’t stay with a doctor you don’t like. If you feel that you don’t get good care from your doc, don’t give up. Search for a new one, even if it takes seeing a few bad doctors to get to a good one. Stick with it, your health is worth the trouble.

This Valentine’s Day, give your doctor some love, or find a doctor you may start a beautiful relationship with.

Educational Seminar On Sleep for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I am worthless the next day. Sometimes the pain from my arthritis prevents me from getting a quality night’s sleep, other times, I prevent myself from getting a good night’s rest by simply staying up too late.  So, I was excited to learn that a great site called CreakyJoints (from their website: a community for people of all ages with arthritis) will be hosting a free patient education seminar about getting a good night’s sleep on Thursday, February 12 from 7-8:15 p.m. ET. Participants have two options for joining.

Register to participate by clicking here. For more information about the event, click here.

If any of you out there have your own tips about resting well at night, please feel free to share them in the comments.