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Miraculous remedies

Miraculous Remedies

Recently, my mother ran across an ad for some special arthritis gloves in the paper’s Sunday supplement. She pointed it out to me.

“It says they relieve arthritis pain!” Mom exclaimed. “Do you think they’ll work?”

I hesitated. The arthritis pain I’ve been coping with in my hands and wrists, pain that isn’t relieved by prescription analgesics, handfuls of pills, or even an injected biologic drug, deeply disturbs my mother. Even though I’m only a couple of years shy of 60, I’m still her little girl and always will be. She wants to make my pain go away with every fiber of her being.

I love her for it. But …

“They might work, you know,” she said. “I’ll get them for you, honey.”

I’m a never-say-die optimist. I can–almost always–find a bright side, a silver lining, or something good in just about anything, anyone, or any situation, even when I have to work for it. But I have to say that Miraculous Remedies for rheumatoid arthritis leave me cold–and sometimes, angry.

You’ve seen them. They’re in magazines and newspapers, on TV, and on the Internet in the form of special, “natural” pills and elixers, copper rings and bracelets, Amazing Diets, and Magical Items like these very gloves my mother was excited about that day.

I get angry about them because they’re fraudulent. They don’t work. Rheumatoid arthritis–or rheumatoid disease (my preferred name for it)–is incurable. There is no “remedy.” And while there may be some treatments and items that can soothe pain and discomfort, none of them–not one–is permanent. To claim otherwise is to lie–and the makers of many of them do just that. They steal money from people, preying on their desperate need to find something that will make them feel better.

I looked at the ad. The gloves were beige and made of a spandex combination so they’d fit tightly. They covered the wrists and knuckles, but left the fingers free.

I already own several pairs of therapeutic, fingerless gloves. I bought them, like these, in the hope that they’d relieve my arthritis pain. The best of the lot are compression gloves. I wear them frequently on my sore, tender hands and wrists for the warmth and mild, supportive compression they offer. They’re sometimes soothing–and that’s worth a lot, some days–but they don’t actually relieve pain. They don’t cure my rheumatoid disease. They won’t–and can’t–make me all better.

The gloves in the ad were different from my others in one major way. Arranged in rows around the wristbands and in cicles and lines over the knuckles and lower parts of the fingers were small black dots. These, it turned out, were tiny magnets–and it was these that made these gloves special and unique.

Indeed.

I’m sorry, but magnets don’t have even a small effect on rheumatoid disease. Its out-of-control inflammation is the culprit that causes its pain and disability, and magnets can’t draw it away from the joints. It can’t disperse it and send it flying off into the universe.

But instead of saying, “No thanks, Mom. Those gloves are useless,” I said, “Thank you, Mom. Maybe they’ll work. Worth a try.” I just didn’t have the heart to tell her what I really thought. She wanted to help me, to take away as much of my pain as she could.

And, perversely, I was afraid that if I turned the gloves down, she might think I wanted to remain miserable and in pain. She might think I wasn’t willing to try everything I could to relieve it, to cure myself of this affliction, that I wanted my rheumatoid disease for the attention it brings me.

Now, I know how ridiculous that sounds. But that niggling little fear was real in my mind as I accepted her offer.

The gloves came in the mail yesterday. I put them on immediately. They fit snugly around my wrists, dotted with their wee black magnets. They’re loose in the palm. And they’re a little too tight and constricting around the base of my fingers, so that I’m often pulling at them to allow my blood to flow into my fingertips.

Do they work as advertised? I wish I could say yes, I really do. I would love it if, against all science and biology and credible, critical thought, they made my pain disappear. But alas, it’s still there, like it always is.

But the gloves do do something: they keep my hands warm, which is nice for achy joints. They offer a little compression around my wrists and fingers, which is also somewhat soothing. And most of all, they’ve allowed my mom to do something active, something tangible to help me fight the pain of this disease, even if it’s just a little bit.

For that, I’ll keep wearing the gloves with their little magnets she bought for me. They can’t do any harm. And I find that my optimism is winning out after all: these gloves have brought my elderly mother and me just a little bit closer to each other in love, caring, and companionship. That’s the good, real gift that counts.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • rhonda
    5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this story. I really enjoyed it. My husband is this very way, he is a nurse and I guess he knows that none of these miracle remedies make any scientific sense, he like all the rest of us hold on to some hope that maybe the magnets might actually work or maybe mixing turmeric powder with milk could send the inflammation rite out of my body. I love him for caring and trying to find different things that could give me one day with no pain. I cringe when I see these infomercials, wondering how many people just like my husband are dialing with a hope that this might really work. Maybe its better to keep hope than to accept that there is no “miraculous remedy”. Warm thoughts for you and your mother.

  • Wren moderator author
    5 years ago

    Thank you, Rhonda! I think it’s human nature to hope that this next “cure” might be the one that will actually work. It’s just that I’ve had RA for so many years, I’ve already tried most of the miracle cures out there. And of course, I still have RA.

    I’m so glad you have such a caring hubby, and glad that he tries to relieve some of your pain even though he likely knows those “cures” really aren’t. Some of them do relieve a portion of pain and soothe it.

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. And do come back soon! 😀

  • Debra Lujan
    5 years ago

    I really agree with you. I have been fighting Juvenile RA since I have been 12. The thing I have realized in this fight, there are things that help take the edge off. Things that help with the pain and swelling. Biologic that help stop the disease from getting much worse. There is no true miracle for RA.
    I really enjoyed your story I could relate to it.

  • Wren moderator author
    5 years ago

    Hi, Debra! I’ve only had RA as an adult, and it’s hard for me to imagine having it as a child and teenager. That must have been really hard for you.

    And yet, you’ve stayed positive and found ways to “take the edge off” the pain, as you said. That’s what the compression gloves (and ace bandages) do for me. And you’re right about the biologic DMARDs, too. They work to slow and maybe stop the progression of the disease–which is miraculous in itself–but they often don’t have much effect on the pain.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for stopping in and for commenting. Come back soon! 🙂

  • Kellie
    5 years ago

    This was actually a very sweet story. Your Mom sounds wonderful. My brother is always suggesting weird things but as I live in Florida and him in California, I can just thank him so much without having to do any of them! So nice of him to think of me.

    I wear braces on my wrists when they are very tender. Do you think that the actual compression gloves work better? I hate the rigidity of the braces.

  • Wren moderator author
    5 years ago

    Hi, Kellie! RA can be such an isolating disease, it’s especially nice when friends and relatives show their care and concern–even if it’s by recommending silly “cures.” They mean nothing but kindness by it, and that’s something to treasure.

    I wear wrist braces too, but only when the pain becomes severe. I find that when my hands and wrists are sore, achy, and twinge-y, my compression gloves help to soothe them. It’s something about the pressure. That said, when the pain passes a certain level, I can’t endure the gloves at all. That’s when the braces come out.

    I guess that’s the long way around saying that both gloves and braces are good RA tools to have handy. Both help in different ways and at different times. My favorite fingerless compression gloves are made by Isotoner. Imak makes a really nice pair, too.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on the story. I hope you’ll come back again soon. 🙂

  • Kelly Mack moderator
    5 years ago

    One of the things that makes me so angry about these “RA miracle treatments” is how they prey on the hopes and dreams of people with a serious illness. How cruel is that?! I can appreciate that friends and family members mean well to buy them or bring them to our attention. I can’t stand the scammers who come up with these items and manipulate us into wasting time and money on these herbs and contraptions. Thanks for writing on this, Wren.

  • Wren moderator author
    5 years ago

    Hi, Kelly! 😀 You’re a woman after my own heart. I guess snake oil salesmen have been around since early humans first started suffering chronic and other illnesses–and making a healthy living off those achy souls–so I really shouldn’t be surprised that the rats are still around. But they do continue to appall me and make me angry on behalf of the people who get scammed. Not only do they waste their money, they also have their spirits crushed when the “cure” turns out to be fake and they still have their illness and pain.

    I guess the best we can do is try to be aware of them–and do what we can to warn others off them. Thanks so much for stopping in and adding your two-cents-worth! 😀

  • Karen
    5 years ago

    Thanks for this article Wren. Miracle cures are the bane of my existence. I really don’t understand why people are so quick to believe anything they hear or read, and why they feel so compelled to force them on to people who are already doing everything they can to manage their illness. I find also that because miracle cures are so prevalent, the general population hear about them and assume that RA is a lifestyle illness. The number of times I have heard about magnetic bracelets, miracle potions etc – I used to get angry and upset about it, now I just feel disappointed that people don’t make the effort to find some reputable sources of information. Maybe because the reality of RA treatment is so boring. I have had some family members be really hostile and condescending about my treatment too, so I have all but lost contact with them. On the bright side, my Mother (world’s most amazing lady) has taken out a membership with the Arthritis Foundation of Western Australia (even though she does not have RA – her mum did) and has had a range of booklets and support group brochures sent to me.. she gets it!! I am joining a support group next Wednesday night that meet once a month for dinner. Reading about your gloves makes me teary, it’s an act of love from your Mum who, like many people watching their loved ones suffer, just wants to do something to show that they care. Kind regards, Karen.

  • Wren moderator author
    5 years ago

    Hi, Karen! I think most people suggest these “miracle cures’ out of a sincere wish to be helpful; they’re usually uncomfortable about how to respond when we tell them we have an incurable disease and are in pain. So when they hear about something like … oh, glucosamine comes to mind… and they hear about how it helps so many people, they naturally want to tell us about it.

    And, when we balk, they wonder if we really want to get over it or not. I have a very dear friend who, for years, has suggested homeopathic rememdies, etc., and even positive thinking, as ways to cure my RA. Oh, if only!! These days she rarely even asks how I am. But I’ve made sure she knows how much I appreciate her concern.

    I’m glad your Mum is supportive, and that you’ve found other who are, as well. That’s a big part of winning the battle we fight with this disease.

    Thank you for stopping in and taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment. I hope you’ll be back soon! 😀

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