My Best RA Purchase
I love this online community. It’s really hard to have a chronic condition, and my daily experience can be so different from that of my peers that I can feel alone. When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2000, the internet didn’t begin to have the breadth it does now. Heck, I remember waiting for two or three minutes for a page to load after listening to the loud screeching beeps of a dial-up connection being established. Fortunately, a few years ago I found this site, and through it, I have been able to find a connection on just about any aspect of living with RA.
I've got not just compassion from my RA community
On top of the compassion and validation I’ve garnered from my fellow RA warriors, I’ve also gained some really great tips. From over-the-counter treatments to shoe brands to travel tips to assistive devices, our group has a vast knowledge of ways to make living with RA slightly more comfortable. It was via such a tip from a reader that I discovered my favorite new thing: a heated mattress pad.
One of our lovely readers recommended this delightful invention while commenting on an article about sleep. I had never heard of a heated mattress pad, but an online search revealed I could purchase a king-sized one for $70. With the amount of money I spend on consumable RA relief such as medications and over-the-counter products, I figured $70 could be worth spending on something that lasts. It is proving to be one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.
The heated mattress pad looks just like the traditional variety (the shape of a fitted sheet but with a padded top), with the exception of the cords coming out of the bottom, which connects to the power outlet and to the dual control pads. There are thin coils that run throughout the mattress pad, generating heat. I was concerned that I would be able to feel them, as my painful joints and tight muscles are already so sensitive when trying to fall asleep that I worried I’d feel the heating coils. Fortunately, this has not been an issue at all, as the mattress pad is perfectly comfortable to lie on top of, tender joints and all.
My heated mattress pad has dual controls, one for each side of the bed. This way my husband can opt for no heat or a different level of heat than I choose. There are nine settings, so I can change the level of heat depending on my need. If I just want a little extra warmth to help my muscles relax, I put it on the lowest setting. If I’m in a flare, gone are the days of trying to get my traditional heating pad to cover as many painful joints as possible, as I can crank up the heated mattress pad and have my entire body feel the warmth.
I’ve been using the heated mattress pad for a couple of months, and I’ve realized during that time that my intake of muscle relaxer pills has greatly decreased. The warmth helps my muscles relax without medication. I used to take a Flexeril almost every night, but now I rarely need one.
In addition, the heat from the mattress pad makes multiple covers unnecessary, even in winter. When my joints are tender, even the slight pressure of my comforter can be very uncomfortable. My heated mattress pad allows me to stay warm without that extra layer of weight.
Life with RA is challenging, so when I find a relatively inexpensive measure that brings me comfort with absolutely no side effects, I just have to share the news.
I also send a huge thank you to the community member who recommended this incredibly helpful device!
Quiz: Which is NOT a common risk factor for osteoporosis?