Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Grooving to the Move: Seven Points of Locomotion. Part I by Celeste Cooper

We all know the urge to slump, metaphorically and physically. Here’s an example. We have good intentions for exercise. We think about the many different types, weight lifting, jogging, kick boxing (oh, sure), walking, water aerobics, Zumba, sports, the tread mill or other contraptions, or integrative eastern movements, such as Yoga, T’ai Chi, and Qi Gong. Sometimes, we actually attend a class, or two, or as in my case, buy the latest DVD.  We do it with good intentions. We play the DVD or get on that treadmill a few times and then……  Hey! Where did my mo-jo go?

Staying tuned into an exercise routine is a universal problem. That’s right, universal, meaning it happens to nearly everyone. Those of us with chronic pain issues are not the only ones to pull away from our well intended desire to “groove to the music.” Following are seven key points to consider.

First, understand the urge to slip up is not yours alone. Exercising with a group or being in an online contest keeps us motivated.  For some of us, joining a club isn’t possible, so how can we motivate ourselves?  Experiment, find something you really like to do, or form a team. Our peers can be very motivating.

Second, try to think of exercise as movement therapy, find ways to incorporate movement into a day. It can be as easy as setting a timer and getting up and doing a few stretches and walking around. Sitting in a recliner? Reach over and touch your toes every few minutes, and roll your head. Getting out of the shower? Use your towel with purpose; put your foot on the commode, cover down works best. ;=}, and stretch your back with purpose as you dry your toes. Dry your backside using tall stretches with your right arm, left arm stretching down, repeat other side. Taking the stairs can be difficult when we have problems with hips and joints, it’s unappealing and it can be a fall risk, but have you thought about rocking several times a day, or sitting on a large Yoga ball and bouncing? How about washing a few windows or reorganizing tools or kitchen cabinets? We all have better days, right? Think about increasing your task load, and then break it down into manageable pieces. Moving can improve our environment and give us a feeling of self accomplishment. 

Third, if what we do makes our pain worse, we are more likely not to do it. We’re smart enough to know that if we don’t move, our muscles will waste, and joint pain and arthritis will get worse. That should be motivating. If you have fibromyalgia, your muscles will set up like concrete restricting joints and locomotion. Hmmm, reminds me of words to an old song “Everybody is doin' a brand new dance, now (Come on baby, do the Loco-motion).”

Research tells us that chronic pain in general, regardless of the initiating event, is due to the presence of myofascial pain syndrome. (Read more here.) Physicians have been mystified as to why some patients with the same condition have chronic pain and others don’t. Few understand what myofascial pain syndrome is or the degree of pain and dysfunction it causes, unless they are a sports medicine doctor, chiropractor, physiatrist, or integrative pain specialist. Exercising muscles with myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) can not only make the primary pain worse, it can create more trigger points in compensating. In this case, treating MTrPs before exercising or moving is necessary.  A muscle that is restored to its normal resting length, then strengthened is a happy muscle, and that’s what we want, right? 

In Part II, here, we finish up with the last four key points:

4) Personification of the three rights, right kind, amount and time.
5) Live by your convictions.
6) Know your body.
7) Appeal to your sensibility.

All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

Celeste Cooper is a retired RN, educator, fibromyalgia patient, and lead author of the Broken Body Wounded Spirit: Balancing the See Saw of Chronic Pain devotional series (coauthor, Jeff Miller PhD), and Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection (coauthor, Jeff Miller PhD) She is a fibromyalgia expert for Dr. Oz, et al., at Sharecare.com, here, and she advocates for all chronic pain patients as a participant in the Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy, here. You can read more educational information and about her books on her website, http://TheseThree.com

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