Tag Archives: Musculoskeletal Disorders

The new exercise regime

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The new exercise regime

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.

Warm-up:

Breathe.

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!

Main:

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 :-).

white concrete buddha statue

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Burnout

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I am a people pleaser. I don’t like confrontation and want to help as much as possible. I would like my epitaph to be – she did her best to help and tried to always see the best in everyone. I would like to be that good, though I know I’m not always and I catch myself not being the kind and generous person I want to be and try to change.

I see the anger that others feel about the pharmaceutical companies and solicitors and legal decisions. I am upset and disappointed that things have not turned out the way I hoped, and a bit resentful that my life has changed so much from what I feel at my age it should be – and that others feel they have to look after me. I grieve for the loss of the life I feel I could have had, but I don’t have that anger. I remember feeling anger a long time ago and making myself move away from that as it felt frightening and out of control – and I need control.

But now I have burned out. It took others to recognise it but mostly myself to admit to it. I always feel I have no right and there is always a bit more I could take on, and guilty that I might be putting on to others. But I wanted – needed – to run away. I couldn’t face emails or anything from work. I couldn’t answer the telephone or open letters. I couldn’t respond to emails and eventually each day only the absolute necessities got done. 

It is still a bit like that but I think the Sertraline has reduced the anxiety a bit. I still feel it and it gets to me, but it could be much worse. I can feel a bit more rational and make some basic decisions. I still feel the opportunity to buy our own house with parents – the type of house I never thought we could own, is a bit unreal. I can see my husband and son and parents in law there, but still not me. I feel I am dying and may never get there. I’m not scared as such but feel very sad that the promise of a home of my own or the surgery that might finally help me will come along. It all feels a long way away from me and while there is more manageable anxiety the dark thoughts still plague me – more so when my husband is feeling more psychologically able and productive and things are happening around me but not to me.

I read a blog this morning https://www.thecounsellorscafe.co.uk/single-post/2018/07/03/Is-your-childhood-the-cause-of-your-Burnout which says:

“People pleasers often come for therapy with burnout symptoms. An exploration of the early childhood of these clients can often find that they; grew up adopting the ‘peacemaker’ role within a turbulent household; grew up with strict parents with rules and regulations they had to follow regardless of their true feelings or beliefs; grew up with a parent with a mental health issue which meant they had to be ‘good’ and not create any trouble or added pressure for that parent, putting their own needs aside; or grew up with a sibling with a physical or developmental difficulty such as Asperger’s whose need for parental support was greater than the sibling without difficulties, hence the ‘well’ child grew up compliant recognising their needs were less important.

All these scenarios can contribute to a person’s inability to emotionally regulate themselves and a failure to attend to or even notice their own physical symptoms of burnout. The background and old dynamic of people whose needs were put aside can often repeat itself in the workplace as they put the emotions or needs of others before their own and fast-track themselves down the burnout road.”

This pretty much sums up my childhood and still I have those feelings of being less important, more able to manage alone and not being good enough. Even over the past few weeks while my husband has struggled too, I made him tell the GP at my appointment how he was feeling, and he dropped into a hole. Since then everyone has worried about him. My mum has just stayed here and at least twice has referred to how he is struggling or may be getting a bit better and commented that he might not manage to organise something but I can do that for him. Twice I’ve pointed out that actually, I’m on double the dose of Sertraline that he is, but then back down. It is ok for him to be struggling emotionally and psychologically, but not me, because I’m expected to just get on with it and look after others – like my mum does.

I have enough to look after – her as she continually battles with my alcoholic, selfish and hopeless brothers, who I still suspect of attention seeking as they have all their lives – as my dad did. So I feel I have to be there for her, even though she is many miles away. I have my husband, who looks after me so I feel guilty and feel I have to do as much as I can for him. This is not difficult as we are a team and I want to look after him, but I fear that he may one day have had enough. I have our disabled adult son to try to manage and keep calm. I have had to remove myself from people who have made me feel worse (in the main) because I simply haven’t the energy to manage their difficulties as well as my own. Difficult when my profession is all about helping and supporting other people, so that adds to the guilt trip.

I don’t know where I am going with this. Everything still feels hard but I don’t feel I can tell anyone and bring their mood down too. I feel I am not entitled to be like this. I feel the anxiety still sometimes becoming overwhelming and feel my feet flapping urgently under the water while I battle to stay calm for everyone else on the surface. I need some time alone to revive my energy levels, but struggle to find it – or have space where it is quiet and no one is talking or doing things. It may only get worse when the family living together gets bigger. But just now, just here, I can say how I feel. Would I still feel this way if the disastrous situations with my body had not happened? Who knows. It may be this in reality that has been part of the journey to this point, hard as it has been and still is, so I am trying to look at the bigger picture. But for now I just need peace, calm and to rest.

 

Stoney ground.

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I’ve put off writing today thinking that really I only wanted to write anything when things were good and upbeat. I’m not good at sharing when things are not, and prefer to just hide away. However, that isn’t really realistic and, come next year at the other end (hopefully) of this, then I need to see how things really were. 

I did a bit of housework yesterday. Not much – changed a couple of beds, cleaned a shower room and swept a floor or two. However, I was so stiff in my back and hips overnight I didn’t sleep well and am sore today. I have a pain from my left hip down my leg and into my foot – and it’s my right hip that is being done first. I’m thinking – how am I going to do the exercises and walk and strengthen my right side after my first hip replacement when my left side isn’t any better?

It also feels as though there is more to think about rather than less. I know parents mean well when they want to drop everything and come and stay to look after me, but actually it feels like extra responsibility for me. I have to organise rooms, and house and food beforehand. I don’t like the intrusion in my house and feel responsible for my guests. My mother is worse than I am and I expect an accident when I can’t do anything! It seems just now that it is adding to my jumbled thoughts and workload. I still have other real work to do – even when I’m recovering – that doesn’t stop. I’m not great at entertaining people – I am happier alone – and when I am ill I have not really evolved from a small furry mammal  – I want to curl up alone in peace to heal rather than be fussed, disturbed and talked at. I don’t like attention and I don’t like fuss.

I also feel in much more pain. I can’t decide whether getting this diagnosis and knowing something is to be done has allowed me to feel the pain – to be impatient to be better, and to accept that it hurts rather than putting up with it. Or whether, because it has deteriorated so much more quickly over the last year, that it is just in keeping time wise with what has been happening anyway.

And it makes me tired – the pain. It hurts and it feels exhausting and I want to sleep and have it go away. I just want to sit and cry.

It’s not a good day. It makes me feel bad to even think it, never mind say it. I feel guilty for being so pathetic over something that is not a big thing and will get better. But I’m scared – of the operations, the pain, the anaesthetic, the trying to be better afterwards and not being able to do it alone in my own space and time. I feel guilty when others want to help and I don’t know how to let them, and it feels harder.

Tomorrow might have a different and better path.