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    Old 03-04-2008, 08:45 PM   #1
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    Pain & Exercise

    Hi all,

    I am looking for some information and/or advice from others out there who are in terrible pain. I was in a car accident a few years ago that left me with some spinal cord damage and awful leg and back pain. I have been seeing a great PM who has done his best to control my pain - sadly it has a mind of its own. I have good days and bad days. A good day for me is when I can actually get out of bed. Unfortunately the good days are becoming fewer and far between. On top of my pain, I also experience loss of feeling in my legs. Sometimes just a foot, other days it is bilateral.

    My question is, what do other out there do to get some exercise? I have gained weight through my ordeal, which I am sure only adds to the pain. I would love to be able to get into better shape, but it seems like I am stuck simply trying to feel better.

    If anyone out there has some ideas as to some simple exercises that can perhaps be done in bed, it would be greatly appreciated. Most days I cannot get out of bed, let alone do I feel up to it. Most of it is the pain, part of it is simply depression. I have heard that exercise can help with both, but I have no idea how to go about it safely.

    So, any thoughts or suggestions would be very helpful.

    Thanks & I wish everyone a pain-free day!

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    Old 03-04-2008, 09:20 PM   #2
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    Re: Pain & Exercise


    Depending on your physical ability, exercise can provide a HUGE benefit. Realizing that you may have some real limitations, you may have to take what I say with a grain of salt....I'm speaking in very general terms.

    Many in exercise field believe in the motto...."A body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest stays at rest." You may think back to the days when you were younger and pain free.....when you stayed indoors or on the couch because it rained or whatever, and you slept during the day (that day) and as a result, didn't feel that great...Because one laid around all day. Conversely, when you were active, you felt better...In general. Applying those same principles to your condition, some type of exercise could be a big benefit.

    Mentally, exercise stimulates your natural endorphins which helps ward off depression and can occupy your endorphins to where you need less meds. When you're on heavy meds, the opiates stimulate (as a side effect) your endorphin receptors and therefore you don't produce your own. This is what causes euphoria in some patients.

    Secondarily, exercise will help with your overall blood flow and oxygen production, which stimulates the cells in your body. Some exercise will also stimulate your metabolism which will help a little bit with your body weight. Conversely, being sedentary slows your metabolism. Those who are immobile have to really watch what they eat, while active people can get away with a much higher caloric intake.

    With all that being said, if you can do even very light exercise, it would be a big benefit. This principle (in general) is why hospitals get patients up & moving after surgery/procedures & etc....They have found without a doubt that patients feel better sooner, heal quicker, and invariably, need less meds, which has a secondary effect re: side effects and how they feel overall. Even for those who are bedridden, you can use heavy duty bands to stretch and work some of your muscles.

    I would talk to your Doc and see what you can and can't do and go from there. I think you'll find that overall, you will feel better. In closing, I have a contract that I had to sign @ my PM clinic, and in it, I had to agree that I would participate in regular exercise under the principle that medical research has found it to be very beneficial and therefore would help alleviate my pain.

    Hope some of this helps, and good luck.


    Old 03-05-2008, 06:43 AM   #3
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    Re: Pain & Exercise

    Hi Cam, I don't suffer from spine issues but I can't use none of my upper body as far as my arms are concerned. But I due have problems with my hips, knees and ankles due to arthritis. I also suffered hairline factures in my pelvis area from a car accident 24 yrs ago and still have problems with pain in my pelvis. I've been unable to work in 4 1/2 yrs now and have been stuck in the house everyday and also had problems with my legs bothering me everyday. Recently I joined a health club through the hospital to get some exercise and hopefully get my legs back in shape. My daughters are wanting me to go with them to NYC. So I knew I needed to do something in order to be able to walk around with them. So far, I has really help my legs get better and they don't hurt me like they used to. I started slowing on like the tread mill and sationary bike, there is also a heated pool for which they have exercise classes in. There is also a whirlpool which is nice and a steam room. For me, it's been a big help getting the circulation going in my legs again and also getting out and being around other people. If you don't feel like doing something like this maybe you could get you something like a treadmill. Also a good exercise for your legs is getting just a utility stool which isn't too high and all you do is step up and step down. You would think this is easy but try doing it for like three minutes that what a trainer did with me. But like the other poster said getting some exercise of some kind would really help you. Maybe your doctor would have some suggestions. I hope you can find a way to get some exercise especially for your legs, you will be amazed at how much better they will feel after a few days of exercise.
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    Old 03-05-2008, 09:42 AM   #4
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    Re: Pain & Exercise

    I was thinking that maybe you could ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist or fitness expert who could advise you on the types of exercises that you are able to do. Sometimes you can go to the PT areas inside of hospitals and work out. The staff can be very helpful and also teach you about each of the machines and how to use them safely. I know the hardest part is actually getting the motivation to exercise. I don't know if I could sign a contract that I would definitely exercise. Of course that would be a good motivating factor to get my butt away from the computer.


    Old 03-05-2008, 09:54 AM   #5
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    Re: Pain & Exercise

    Great advice has already been given here, and I totally agree with trying to get a refferal to a good physical therapist. They can do wonders if they are knowledgable about your condition.

    I found (during many intensive rounds of PT) that when I was having really bad pain and PT was causing pain, hydro therapy helped tremendously. My local YMCA had a PT office right there, so the pool was available to them. When I wasn't able to do the other PT excercises, we went to the pool and did PT (hydro therapy) in the pool. It was great for my pain issues and caused less stress on my body as a whole.

    I would also recommend asking about a TENS unit or an Alpha-Stim unit. These are great to use every day, and are small enough to hook on your belt so you can actually wear them throughout the day.

    Take care, and best wishes!

    Old 03-05-2008, 11:36 AM   #6
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    Re: Pain & Exercise

    You might try a Spa or pool. I am unable to do very little exercise - walking 200 ft is major deal for me. However, when I get in the spa or pool, I am able to move and stretch my arm, leg, and back muscle. I do not try to swim - I just stretch or walk in the shallow end.

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