I have been wondering for some time how I can do some exercise to help my other areas of arthritis – essentially everywhere – without dislocating my hip. I have tried walks, but it is not far before I am in too much pain in my spine and exhausted. The pain lasts too, which is rather off-putting to try again. I was reluctant to go to the local swimming baths. Besides them being slippery and noisy, my husband would not be able to be with me to shower and change in case of difficulty. It is also cold. By chance, we heard of a local farm that rented out their pool. The three of us have been going weekly for a few weeks now. It is quiet and is like having a private pool. The water is warm and salty rather than chlorine. Swimming and floating there is a blissful relief from most of the arthritic pain.
I have done yoga though since I was seven years old and got up on Sunday mornings before anyone else to follow the yoga routines on tv. I’m reasonably sure the lady was called Lynne and that it was about 7 – 7:30 on a Sunday morning. I tried to do these myself for the rest of the week. In addition, as I got older, I would spend my time listening to the Top 40 on Sunday evening and spend this time in gentle exercise and stretching too. I was always flexible – hyperflexible even – which is most likely the main cause of my problems now.
So in addition to swimming, yoga was the exercise I missed most. I have thought over a long period of time what I can do to still manage some of these stretches safely. For the last few days, I have built up a new routine while not as challenging does give some stretch and strengthening relief and is something that can be built on. I doubt I will ever be doubling down to the floor again, but with a yoga mat, a chair, a gym ball, 2 x 1kg weights and a couple of cushions, I have a plan.
Gentle arm raises to the side and over-head x 3 stretching spine.
Raise arms to Mountain pose – bend gently left then right x 3.
Raise arms forwards and with full lung gently stretch back in Sun Salutation. Bend forward slightly lowering arms and holding hands behind back pull up to stretch behind – movement x 3.
Arms out to sides at shoulder height. Turn palms upwards. Bend gently to the right bringing left arm over-head towards the right palm. Hold for 8 seconds. Repeat movement to the left.
Roll shoulders back then forward 3 times each.
Neck – forwards and backwards, turn side to the other side, bend one side to other side x 3 then roll neck fully in both directions.
All this works on my spondylosis, lordosis and scoliosis – with my trapped nerves in neck and shoulders and my recently acquired occipital neuralgia!
Holding a chair, bend gently into lunges to both sides, Downward Dog with legs wide and leaning arms at chair height – not floor! – stretch the spine in Cat, then lower to the floor gently.
On each side: Clam x 8 and Side Leg Raise x 8 in 3 blocks. With no abductor muscle on my left, this is little more than tensing the remaining muscles and with a pillow between my knees to stop me rotating forwards and dislocating my hip.
On front: Cobra – hold for 8 seconds, followed by Plank held for 8 seconds, and Swim 8 times each leg. Repeat sequence 3 times.
On back – knees bent and gently rolling sit-ups – just enough to stretch – dragging hands from waist to knee as a guide (to be honest I couldn’t get any further now anyway!) x 8, Bridge held for 8 seconds. Repeat routine 3 times.
Pillow between knees and lift both legs together. Slowly lower (Clock) to a count of 8 and repeat 3 times.
Sit: Use a cushion to push the pelvis forward and settle into postion where the back is straight. Sit with legs wide and stretch hip tendons. Pull right leg into cross leg position. This is my stiffest hip and knee now so I relax into the pose then pull a little bit further. Release then repeat with left leg. Having had no hip joint here for two years and no abductor muscle it is easy for this leg to flop into a cross leg bend. Relax then pull right leg back to stretch and train into full cross leg position. Relax into soles of feet touching and pull back carefully to stretch tendons again.
Stretch up into sitting mountain pose. Rest arms at breast height on each other and push together – 4 up and 4 down – repeated 3 times.
Pull arms behind back, hold hands, pull up and hold for 8 seconds x 3 repeats.
Roll onto front and repeat adapted downward dog along with cat stretches leaning on a chair before lifting up back to feet. I can’t do this on my hands and knees because my knees are too sore. My left knee is already a full replacement and my right knee is about ready for one.
Gym ball and 1 kg weights. Sit on the gym ball. Raise weights in hands 8 times to either side, 8 times in front to side – like a chest pull – then above head 8 times on either side. Hold weights while doing a gentle figure of eight rotation in both directions 8 times. Repeat – yes you guessed it – 3 times!
Stand and sit on a chair for short meditation to cool down.
It took me about 45 minutes to do this morning and that feels about right. It doesn’t relieve the pain completely, but it does feel better and that at least I am doing something to help myself.
Bear in mind I have no qualifications or experience beyond what I have learned works for me. When I get to see a physiotherapist again next week I will ask if what I am doing is ok and see what else can be done to strengthen my neck particularly to help the occipital neuralgia. However, it is very calming – and that is an excellent thing :-).