I have been reading a book about chronic pain and one of the things that they recommend is doing daily exercise no matter how badly you feel. At this point, I can't even walk 200 feet without being in misery. They are saying that you should do some form of exercise regardless even if it simply raising your arms up and down, rotating your shoulders, riding a stationary bike, getting in a pool, walking, etc.
I was wondering what type of exercises you do to keep those muscles moving? I am looking for suggestions that I might consider doing on a daily basis and also do you do these no matter what your pain level is? If you are a spinney please let me know so that I can see what my fellow back suffers are doing.
I'm not spiney, but I can share what I do. Yes, I exercise regardless of the pain. I take a dose of BT med 30 min ahead of time and go for it. I find it helps to do it with others. It's more fun, more supportive and there's accountability. It helps raise endorphin levels too which can help with pain or at least raise your spirits.
I have a referral for physical therapy to learn what I can do to strengthen my legs and knees, to get the most from my exercise. Maybe you could go to PT to learn the safest, most effective exercise for you?
Hi again DDD, I have comcast cable and in the free section they have exercise t.v and the have some 2-5 minute workouts. I am doing some of the basic yoga and one that is just sitting and doing breathing. I know it doesn't sound like much but I am starting to feel a little more flexible, and the big plus is its releasing some endorphins into my poor bluesy brain. I think I have S>A>D seasonal affective disorder, I get really bummed in the winter so I need all the endorphins I can get (lol)
Cervical fusion C-3,4 June 2004
Lumbar fusion L3,4-5 November 27 2006
I am also a spiney, and it helps to talk with your PT about 'good pain' vs 'bad pain', learn to recognize pain that it is okay to keep exercizing through, and when it is a warning sign that you are over doing it.
I have learned over the years that there are things I cant do, unless I want to spend the next 3 days in bed with ice and a heating pad, My fusion is cervical, so any action that twists that area is out, shrugging motions, lifting my arms over my head, and any repetitive action with my upper body is out, vacuuming can land me in the ER, but I find I can walk up to a mile a day, ignoring the all over ache and the low back stuff, and I dont pay later, and actually feel better if I can do it at least 3 times a week rather than once a week.
I cannot pull anything heavy, so I need help for instance lifting wet towels from the washer and putting them into the dryer.
When I cant go out for my walk, I try and go through each part of my body, starting at my toes, and concentrate on tightening those muscles, then relaxing, over and over, then moving on, I usually fall asleep before I get to my head, lol but you can buy cd's that can help you relax this way, they really do work, again your PT or massage therapist should be able to help you get what you need.
I tried water areobics, way way too much for me, I was in agony for days after, so I switched to NO impact shallow water areobics, and that was fun, helped me a lot, and if you have a local community pool they should offer these classes, I live across the street from a college with a pool, and I only paid $5 a class on a drop in basis.
some pain you work through, and some you dont, over time you will learn to listen to your body, with trial and error, you can keep your body from getting worse from non activity and poor muscle tone and not re-injure yourself in the process.
HTH, and I hope you get on a better med soon, that will help also, right now, I think everything hurts on you, so it will be hard for you to know what activity is okay and whats not.
I think there are some great things in this post. Pepper I think we are reading the same book. We have talked about it before.
I have really been struggling emotionally the past few weeks. Part of the stuff I am supposed to do is to walk. The doc did not mean go out and exercise walk but I actually find it easier to walk a slow 1/2 mile then to walk in the Wal-mart while I point at things and have someone push the cart etc.
Seriously I have been so down that I just started to go out and walk outside around my condos. They get the streets cleaned up quickly.
I have been sooooo SAD. Crying alot. Discouraged about my future and in a lot of pain.
I decided that I shouled get out there and move around because it would be good for me mentally and physically.
You do over time get to know wehn to stop or even when NOT to do anything.
Pver the last week to ten days I have slowly been dragging myself out of the hole of saddness. And I now look forward to the walking. But sometime it does flare it up real bad and it is a hit or miss for the elevated pain from it.
Sometimes it does not bother me and sometimes it will. I never really know so I just do because I gotta do something about the saddness and I am an outside person no matter what the season.
You guys yesterday was very cold and I ached all over right when I woke up. I went to wal mart and walked in there and came home and did a 1/2 mile outside even though the cold was bone chilling. The pay off was that I was happier just because I did feel like I was taking part in my life and my recovery. I had some elevation in the pain but I do think that I was able to handle it emotionally and mentally better.
So pepper I would find out some of the things that people suggested such as getting some info from your doc and or PT as to what things would not be good and what things would be good and then just get familiar with the signal your body sends.
Last edited by HBMod07; 02-03-2008 at 03:22 PM.
Reason: Disclosing location is not permitted
Hi DDP, I have been out of work for 4 yrs now and I so wish I could work. But unfortunately I lost all use of my left arm and almost all the use of my right arm and have recently decided to join a health club operated by the local hospital. I can't use any of my upper body as far as my neck and shoulders are concerned but I can use my lower body. I going to New York with my daughters in a couple of months and I know I never survive all that walking. So I'm slowly getting my legs and knees back in shape so I'll be ready to go. It's been hard because I have real bad arthritis in my hips, knees and ankles but I found that once I go back it helps. It also feels good to be able to get out of the house and around other people. I know right now it's slow going but I know if I just keep at it, it will get better. I hope you are able to find some exercise pratice that will help you. It's better to start now then later on because believe the longer you wait the harder it is.
RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystropy)
Cervical Dsytonia- severe muscle spasms in the neck
Sorry to interrupt your thread, DDP, but I need to give Chrissy a hug.
I am sorry you have been so sad, I have been there myself, and not only is it no fun, depression makes pain worse, and visa versa, it can be such a hard cycle to get out of.
Are you on or have you tried an antidepressant? I fought going on them when I first started CP treatment, but they have helped me so so much, they dont really have any side effects, I just noticed I stopped crying all the time, and was better able to think of the future and make plans without the serious depression in the way.
Either way, you can always come here to us for support, Hang in there and I hope your pain, both emotional and physical, improves very soon.
PS~((((((Steve)))))))))))) thank you so much! what a nice thing to say. I always look for and enjoy reading your posts, you are very insightful and caring. thanks again for the kind words.
Last edited by Fabrashamx; 02-03-2008 at 12:17 PM.
Reason: adding post script
I try to walk atleast 4 times a week and if it's warm enough i love to be in the pool or the ocean. Unfortunetly if the surf is too rough here, the ocean isn't an option. LOL Talk about a workout It definetly makes me feel better and just doing the little bit that i do i managed to lose 33 pds. in a yr. I am very proud of that. It really does help kick the endorphins in and although it may hurt a bit more physically, it makes me feel great emotionally and mentally. Find something that is right for you and try it, you will probably be glad you did. GL & God bless, morgyporgy
God Bless everyone and pray for a pain manageable day. morgy porgy
I know this sounds crazy, but we got a Wii for Christmas, and the Sports disc that comes with it has golf, bowling, baseball and boxing. It's crazy, but it really does exercise the body. I can't do the boxing due to the rods in my back, but we play everyday.
I've seen where they have started putting Wii's in Retirement Homes and Nursing Homes to encourage the patients/residents to exercise!! Waaaay fun though.
A tad bit expensive, when all you really need to do is get out of the house and go for a walk! LOL!!
\lm/ = "I Love You" in Sign Language
12/10/04 MicroD & Hemi Lami 100% Success
09/05 Re-injured post Katrina
06-07 In Pain Mgmt. trying to deal
3/9/07 2 Level PLIF due to CES
My excerising is going to grocery store and hobbeling the isles
I also have a wii and ds, Ds i use brain games which help keep me focused and wii for limited arm movement. Granted at times i use a pillow but it does help.
For many of us a regular program would not work but there are many simple things we can do that does count as movement.
I also use some squeeze balls to help with hand pain and a nerf basketball i toss to a trash can. These are kind of silly but i notice when i do not do my silly things i Notice big time.
Hi Yall, Although most docs will tell us the most important thing is to keep moving, there is a difference between keeping moving and excercising. Anyone in PM that has a bad back should have been through at least one or two rounds of PT. The feel good stuf is nice and we learn the right way to stretch and excercise without causing more damage. Eventually people will meet max medical benefit from PT where insurance won't pay for more to simply maintain muscle tone. Although the Pt's are teaching us the right excercises, the right stretches and how to do them properly, Pt's don't push people beyond their own comfort limits. They aren't personal trainers, their job really isn't to undue years of living sedentary or going from surgery to surgery. They give us guidence and the rest is really up to us. If you have been doing this long enough, seen enough PT's and been through enough PM and work hardeneing clinics and programs, We have been tought what to do. It's just a mater of taking that info and putting it to use.
The bulk of what we learn is core strengthening. I have found phsysio balls to be great tools and I'm on my 4th or 5th in 15 years. A good way to check your core strength is try anything that requires balance. Without core strength, standing on one leg is impossible, sitting on a ball and doing a leg lift makes you roll off or even walking without bumping into wals becomes difficult.
Whatever form of activity you find that actually is excercise, if you focus on your core muscles and excercise daily, it becomes second nature to tighten those mucles when you do anything that causes pain. So if walking or standing cause pain, your training your muslces to support you when you wakor stand. If I'm walking or standing my posture is correct and my abs are tight. If I'm on an elyptical or the gazelle, they have to be or I would fall off when I let go of the handels. I've gotton to the point of using treadmills and elypticals without holding on and with dumbells in my hands to force my core to work.
Excersice for us is no different than anyone else as far as most peole over do it, hurt too much from the first few times and give up. Gyms sell thousands of lifetime memeberships for decades for club that holds 1200 people. They know that the majority of people get motivated, start and then give up. How many of us know someone with a treadmill or bike in their house that hasn't been used in years? We don't have that option unless you want things to stay the same as they are now, which really means getting worse as we become more and more tolerant to the meds.
The key is to not hurt yourself in the beginning. Find what works best for you, whether it's treadmill, elyptical, biking, seated bilking or my own personal favorite that changed my life was a Gazelle. That thing you might have seen Tony Little selling on an infomercial a few years ago. Basically your legs swing back and forth in a cross country sking type motion, There is absolutely no impact or pounding down on my spine, Just continous movement with the option of leaning forward and using your arms or leaning back and using your arms. You can do it with legs straight or bent or use it hands free with dumbells and develop some balance and core strength. The big thing for me was no impact or coming down on broken hardware. No amount of premedication with Bt meds is going to mask that pain for me and although it may help some , The problem with taking meds before you excercise, is what do you do after you excercise, take twice as much?
I think it's a reasonable idea at first when you first start out and the worst thing you can do is create pain you can't manage. But if your going to hurt whether you sit on the couch all day, pace around, lay down, sit, stand or walk, what do you have to loose by starting slow, wherever your pain allows. I started at 5 minutes a day on the Gazelle on Valentines day 2 years ago. I walked after surgeries and walked daily, but the problem is, that's not excercise. The farther and longer I went the slower I would end up going and the harder it was to drag my butt back home. So I always had to save enough just to get home. It's a start, but if it doesn't raise your heart rate, you don't break a swseat, if it isn't making your stronger more flexable and increasing your endurance, it's not excercise.
We have to be honest with ourself and realize that throwing cards in a hat, or walking in a gorcery store or vacuming the floor isn't excercise. Just like going to work and walking all day at a job isn't excercise. It doesn't raise your heart rate too peak level for 20 minutes, you don't break a sweat, it isn't building muscle, so lets not fool ourselves by calling card throwing into a waste bin excercise or activity.
The video game thing like a Wi may be helpful with some of it's games, but that game "dance dance whatever" that I've seen the kids do, leaves them sweating and huffing for air. That's excercise.
I'm not saying that anything that keeps you moving and distracted isn't a good thing, it's just not what anyone that understands physical conditioning would call excercise.
No Pt would have ever pushed me as hard as I push myself. I'm not saying doing leg presses 6 weeks post fusion wasn't painful or walking around the block 5 days post fusion wasn't painful, But getting home in extreme pain still isn't the type of excercise that book, an in patient rehab faclity or any phsyiologist is going to call excercise. It's not rebuilding what years of living in pain and being sedentary to avoid additional pain has done to our bodies, mind and health.
It may take a year to rebuild what 2 years of being sedaentary after a failed surgery or onset of a disease has taken from you, but you can rebuild if you find the right way to get real excercise. The kind that makes you sweat, the kind we were tought in PT to strengthen our abs and back or totla body. Everyone has heard of Pilates and people pay hundreds of bucks for an hour with a trainer. All they are doing is different versions of the strengthening and stretching we learned in PT. The superman is right out of the Mckenzie method of treating low back pain and also part of every Pilates workout. "The fun one, where your lay on your belly and alternate lifting one leg and and opposite arm." However if you can only do it 3 times this week and can do it 5 times next, that's progress. Going from 5 minutes to 7 minutes is progress.
Excercise is activity above and beyond what the average person would do in daily life. Going for a walk is great, but it's not excercise, its staying moving. The book your reading is about excercise, not just sustained movement.
I got my Gazele at JC Pennies, although I've seen them at Dicks sporting goods, It cost 100 bucks and I'm on my second one of those. It's real sweat dripping, ardio and exndurance ewxcercise. Letting go of the handles and using dumbells forces me to tighten my abs and use core strength to balance and keep from falling off. Physio balls should be a must have for anyone with a bad back and we have to realizer that it's our job to rebuild what pain, surgery or illness has taken away. We may never get back to the way we were before, but I can gaurentee you won't even get close if you do nothing.
The only difference betwen a profesional athlete and us as far as recovering after injury or surgery is the amount of effort we put into it. Anyone that's played any sport knows that a PT will never ask what a coach asks of their people. Someone mention good pain Vs Bad pain. Well chronic pain isn't a warning signal that something is wrong and muscle pain from muscles we haven't used in years isn't a sign of something going wrong. Unles the excercise or pain causes new neuro problems like loss of bowel or bladder control or loss of reflexes or sensation, we have to expect it. But aren't we going to hurt and be miseable tonight anyway? I sn't that why we take the most potent pain meds ever available.
So find what causes the least amount of pain or impact and move very slowly and gradually up as far as how hard you push yourself, how long you excercise or what type of excercise you do. Pick what method causes the least pain but still alows you to break a sweat. If you need another round of PT to kick start an excercise program, I would bet most docs would be more than happy to get any of us who could benefit from excercise into a work hardening program or into PT for another round.
Thay make 1,2,3,4 and 5lb dumbelss which sell for couple bucks. Adding dumbells to a movement program whether it's strethching, balance, or yoga, only forces you to strengthen your core or you tip over, so our bodies learn to tighten your abs and back if you lift one arm out in front of you with a 2lb dumbell and eventually we learn to keep them tight the entire time we stand or walk if that causes pain.
Simple muscle pain from using muscles we haven't in years is going to increase pain. The thing is, that pain will get better in a day or two and more excercise is exactly what those muslces need to work painful lactic acid out of them.
Between PT, availability of physio bals, dumbells and inexpensive machines or gym memberships, The only thing stopping us from excercising is fear of pain. Once you realize your going to have pain regardless of what you do and you only have things to gain from excercising and pushing yourself, can you actually see how different your life can be.
I actually feel guilty If I don't do somethign every day to improve my situation. I know my back isn't going to get better or fuse from excercsing, but I also know I could be in beter shape and better able to handle the small stuff like standing in front of the sink for 20 minutes or walking through a grocery store for a half hour. For some reason it's harder to stand in the check out for 5 minutes than to roam the store for 20. With a strong core and some real endurance I can tolerate a whole lot more and feel a whole lot better about every aspect of my life. I lost 30 lbs, went from 5 minutes to 30 minutes twice a day with dumbelss and returned to work part time. It took 8 months of daily excercise where I soaked through my shorts with sweat to get to the point of any kind of work being something I even saw as a possible. Without the daily effort, I wouldn't reap the benefit.
The proof only comes from doing it yourself. I know it sounds crazy to excercise when you can barely walk, but trust me, it's not going to paralyze you to excercise if your don't have paralisis now. I remeber the first surgeon I saw back in 93 for 2 ruptured discs. I was 28 and the doc said you don't want surgery, you just need to get to the gym and work out at least 3 days a weak. I was 6 ft and weighed 160 at the time and thought working 55 hours a week had kept me in shape. So of course I thought the doc was a jerk and didn't know what he was talking about. But knowing what I do now, I should have bought a gym membership that day and hired a personal trainer to help me with my back.
You wanted specifics Dr. P... Try a Gazelle, a phsyio ball and buy a couple 1lb and 2lb dumbells. Lots of light weight repetition is going to do more than trying to bulk up with heavy weights whether your'e a guy or a girl with a bad back. You can easily spend a half hour a day on a physio ball with a couple light dumbells or salowly increase your time on the Gazelle and notice a diference in a matter of weeks. Or, do nothing at all and plan on your next increase in a couple months. BTW, I Have'nt had a med increase since I stared working out 2 years ago. Do you have something better to do with your time? I'm not trying to be a smart a##, I just know how incrediably boreing and worthlees doing nothing can make you feel.
If you don't know what I'm talking about as far as core strength and excercise, get back into PT and kick start your workout. How you spend the rest of your life and how much effort you put into your own recovery is entirely up to you.
Shoreline i sure appreicate your input but here we agree to dissagree.
If you do some research with various hospitals including walter reede many are using wii and incorportating into their therapy program.
Also for those with severely limited movement , Any movement is a positive thing.
I have lost close to 60 pounds with just walking and very light excersie, and changing how i eat .
Even some of the docs consider doing laundry, lifting wet clothes, and or mopping ,sweeping ,vacuming, can cause a break out of sweat and or start the heart a pumping
( ask any house wife)
I don't really do any strict form of exercise although I do alot more than I used to do especially after going to a pain clinic which was like "boot camp" for pain patients. There were days that I wanted to just get up and walk out of there. But I really was amazed at myself at what I was able to accomplish. I think the biggest thing and the one thing that really works agains someone is not having motivation and having depression. I know that there have been times these past couple of weeks when I was so low that I didn't even want to live so why even think about exercise. But since my ex-girlfriend left me with the dog I have had to go and take him for walks a couple of times a day. I will say that the right meds really need to be there in the beginning. I was to a point where I was only able to push myself 20 minutes of walking at the grocery store. Now, with being on the right meds, I am able to go for 1 1/2 hours before reaching the same amount of pain. My pain is in my feet and it really is difficult sometimes because nearly every possible exercise involves putting pressure or standing on your feet. I know that I have made excuses and I really am going to try hard to get an exercise program into effect. I know that when I vacuum and vacuum all of the steps by hand I really start to sweat and sometimes when I do dishes I push myself to go faster and start sweating so sometimes doing household chores really is exercising and at least it is getting you up off the couch or out of bed. You really just need to realize what your real limitations are and only the pain clinic really tought me just how much pain I can endure (although I don't like pushing myself as much they had us doing). If I do things that involve my feet like walking 2 miles, I am going to pay for it for the 3 or 4 days. But I do maintain a full time job, and deal with working on the 2 other chronic diseases that I have.
My neighborhood has formed a Wii League and play every weekend. I do work up a sweat with the baseball, the bowling, I can't box at all because it's way too strenuous for me. The golf doesn't really do much, and well I just pretty much suck at tennis, but I'm working on my skill level with that. They have just come out with a new "package" that you can buy which is a tennis racket, a baseball bat and a golf club made for the wii. Several of the neighbors are buying it to make it more "competitive" and more like the real game.
There are a couple of games on another disk we have that I just can't play because of the nature of how strenuous they are. My goal is to work up my strength to be able to play them. Call me crazy!! Know this though, I'm not going to damage my $150,000 surgery!! That's for certain.
I also walk two miles down the beach every day (in the sand)! So that's a good thing too. Started doing that when I started losing weight. I just love me some beach!!!
\lm/ = "I Love You" in Sign Language
12/10/04 MicroD & Hemi Lami 100% Success
09/05 Re-injured post Katrina
06-07 In Pain Mgmt. trying to deal
3/9/07 2 Level PLIF due to CES