Friday, 20 February 2015

Flexiseq Review - Does it Work?

I don't normally review non-kitchen related arthritis things on 'Cooking with Arthur' but over the past year I've been approached various times and through various agencies about Flexiseq - a pain-relieving gel for osteoarthritis. After a bit of umming and ahhing, I recently decided I would give it a go. Having my daughter has been tough on my joints. Lifting 10kg of exuberant toddler 30x plus a day it hard work and whilst my PA is relatively well controlled by the Humira, old mechanical problems like the OA in my back and shoulders have fared less well. I get by with physio and handfuls of painkillers but it's not always enough and I felt open to trying something different.
The idea behind Flexiseq is a simple one; if you imagine that osteoarthritis makes you feel like the tin-man, well, Flexiseq is supposed to act like the oil can. The 'sequessome' technology is claimed to deliver phospholipids right to the joint to lubricate it and relieve pain. 

Having worked in health and medicines policy, I'm inherently sceptical about anything that makes claims to help arthritis but Flexiseq has pleasantly surprised me. 

Morning and evening you spread a fairly large amount of the gel onto the soft tissues around the affected joint and let it dry (this takes 10 minutes). The gel has very little scent and is actually quite cooling and pleasant to use (certainly compared to an ibruprofen or diclofenac gel). My first experience with the gel was applying to to my back: I have OA in my spine and was keen to see if it could make much of a difference. Back pain is notoriously difficult to treat and I'm afraid Flexiseq didn't do much better than any other non-prescription treatments I have tried. I gave the gel a go on my shoulder instead however and found it did seem to help with that. The joint felt more comfortable and less stiff. The effect wasn't enough to stop me taking painkillers but it certainly helped on very difficult days. Finally, I let a friend with OA in the base of her thumbs and index fingers try the gel and she found it really helpful on mornings when her hands were stiff. She noted that the gel seemed to work from the first go but that she didn't feel like it got more or less effective over the course of 5 days testing.

 I think our differing results probably reflect on our suitability as users. I have an underlying autoimmune condition (the psoriatic arthritis) and therefore have widespread inflammation as well as little bonus pockets of OA. I'm used to taking pretty strong painkillers and am physically quite tough on my body (pushing a 25kg buggy up hills whilst singing nursery rhymes for example). For people like me, I think Flexiseq is probably of marginal benefit. However, for people like my friend with a discrete and well defined number of affected joints, then Flexiseq may well be a real help. I know both myself and my friend liked the fact that we didn't have to worry about it interacting with medications and it doesn't cause the heartburn of most inflammatory drugs.

You can buy Flexiseq in most chemists or online. If you'd like more information about it and the research conducted on it's effectiveness to date then visit Arthritis Research or the Flexiseq website.

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