An optimistic title! When I was younger I remember following a lady on television called the green goddess and doing her exercise regime. Well my joggys, nightie …. whatever I end up doing my exercises in – are blue.
Exercise has varied since my second hip replacement. I was I admit a bit more complacent having done it before and just tried to get on with things as normal. However, I have been in varying amounts of pain since week 3. It got worse around the time of the arthroscopy on my knee and physio following that suggested that I had been doing too much and in the wrong ways. The walk up Malvern probably hadn’t been one of my better plans. She tried to help but strictly speaking she was only supposed to talk to me about my knee. I think the tears swayed her!
Since then I have tried to make more time to rest and also to allocate to exercise. Some days are better than others. I had done the set standing leg raise sideways, back and knee lift forward and carried this on on both sides, mostly in the mornings to relieve the stiffness of overnight. When sitting or lying I would add in some leg raises and outward knee bends, but I admit it was a bit erratic.
What alarms me most is that things got worse rather than better. I had been able to sleep on my side for example, but now I can’t do that at all again as the pressure through my hip is extraordinarily painful. I used to lie flat on my back twice a day to pull the muscles/tendons at the front of my legs, and this worked very well the first time round and at first after the second op, but now I can only do it for 10 minutes without severe crampy pains that seem to be right inside my joints. My entire lower spine and pelvis ache all the time and the ache goes down my legs into my calves ankles and feet.
I have slept well for a couple of nights. I have gone back to lying completely on my back with pillows piled up under my knees. However, while I’ll wake lovely and relaxed and pain free after 2 – 4 hours sleep, I then can hardly move at all. Last night was not quite so good and today I am trying to work in a lot of pain. It feels as though the pain is right inside my bones.
I have taken to doing most of my exercises in the mornings to try to ease the stiffness and pressure from lying all night. I do the exercises as above 10 – 15 times each then add in some gentle Pilates. It seems the yoga wasn’t a good thing either and the bending was simply putting pressure on the smaller hip flexors in front rather than mobilising my buttock muscles. I have tried hard since to identify and isolate these muscles when I exercise to try to build those instead, but it is actually quite difficult to do that alone. I wonder how many people have these same problems given that we have no physiotherapy following hip replacements and so no real guidance about what we should be doing and doing it correctly other than a photocopied sheet of exercises. It feels as though the NHS is saying – well we’ve given you a new joint what more do you want? It’s up to you whether you work out how to use it or not!
The gentle Pilates involves the trying to isolate those bum and side leg muscles (you see I know all the technical terms!) the physiotherapist mentioned when she saw me about my knee, but could not do much else. I do 100 L1 (I think) swim, 15 clams either side, 10 side straight leg raises, 3 bridge counting to 12 each time, 5 leg opening stretches (don’t know if it has a name). On my back leg raises are still a problem. I do 10 but isolating the right muscles to do them is my problem, and the right leg is much easier to do than the left. I do my knee exercises too – pushing back into the floor and holding and also bum tightening. I end with some cat stretches on all fours. I have absolutely no idea if what I am doing is too much, too little correct, helpful or not. I do know that when I am finished I am grateful to climb into a hot shower – though feeling a bit pathetic for the hour of fairly intense yoga I used to be able to do.
I keep trying to remind myself on the days that I regret ever starting this that it was getting so much worse anyway. The yoga was getting harder, the joints were no longer moving as easily, the getting up in the mornings to do breakfast were just as they are now – stiff and painful. It is not worse, just not better – yet.
I asked for physiotherapy and am having to wait until the 30th for an NHS appointment. This morning I have called again and decided to pay. It will hopefully be worth it for assessment and advice now. Amazingly when I pay myself I will see someone this evening!