I am back from a glorious trip to the East Coast for a college reunion, then to England to visit friends and do a long walk through Yorkshire and Westmorland. You can read about these meanderings at www.EmpoweredGrandma.net.
More and more people my age (Ill turn 77 in three weeks), give up adventures like this one because of arthritis pain. I have serious arthritis in my knees, hips and back, but manage to continue this type of physical challenge. Others my age keep going at tennis, hiking, walking and biking. How do we control arthritis pain so the activity we love is not torture, but rather, pleasurable?
Build strong muscles to carry your joints. You can do exercises that work all the major muscle groups of the body (e.g., legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms), and work them without stressing your joints. With a trainers help, you can use the machines in a gym to accomplish this. I am working the a trainer at a place called Xgym in West Seattle. PJ Glassy has two other Xgym facilities in the Seattle area. Go to his web site to check it out. In 21 minutes two times a week I have gained more muscle strength than in any other program and it costs about half as much. Find a way to build muscle and the creaky joints will love the support.
Build strong muscles, was what my neurologist told me 24 years ago when I first injured my back. The Xgym process has done this better than anything I tried in the intervening years.
Do Stairs to build stamina and strength. If you are a woman, you want to include more grape vine stair climbing than straight up and down. We women have wider hips and the pressure on our knees causes uneven stress on the joint.
By facing up or down the stair case side-ways, with a shoulder leading and not the nose, the muscles on the inside and outside of the knees do more of the work and the stress on the knee cap is minimized.
Balancing activities help overcome the unsteadiness that joint pain can cause. Tai Chi, yoga, Zumba and other group exercise dance are helpful. Stand on one leg and lift the other knee and hold for as long as you can. Walk backwards; side step with the grape vine step on the flat; do heel-toe walking. These all improve balance.
Resistance Exercise Helps Knee Osteoarthritis
Resistance exercise is any exercise where muscles contract against an external resistance which can come from dumbbells, weight machines, elastic tubing or bands, soup cans, your own body weight, or any other object that forces your muscles to contract. This will strengthen muscle groups around affected joints, stabilize and protect affected joints, and improve mechanics of the joints to reduce stress on the joints.
I like to take a Theraband and tie it around my legs just above the knees, and walk sideways around the living room and down the hall in a slight squat position, keeping the pelvic floor facing down. No tilting the back forward. For more information, check out http://www.arthritis.com/arthritis_exercises.
Pain is inevitable, so how do you manage it? Many of my hiking friends take an Aleve or other pain killer before the hike. I do not like taking over the counter drugs or prescription medication for pain if I can help it. So far, the Shaklee Pain Relief Complex has worked sufficiently to keep the pain from becoming unbearable. I find that slow walking in a, museum or chatting while slowing down to observe birds, flowers or talk to a farmer or other hiker, or pausing to window shop is the worse thing for my pain. If I keep going, I experience less pain. If I stop or slow down, the pain comes on with a vengeance. Is it the endorphins from movement? Is it the distraction from making the effort? I dont know, but it is true for me that stopping or slowing down is worse. Now give me a wall or bench to sit on and I am happy to stop. One Aleve can probably take most arthritic people who hike or play tennis through the day. I put 5 6 Pain Relief Complex in my pocket and take one at a time at half hour intervals until the pain is lessened. What I know for certain is that moving makes me happy and forget about chronic pain.
I choose Pain Relief Complex because it is a combination of herbs that create a natural Cox 3 and 5 LOX inhibitor with no bad side effects on the stomach. Please check out my resource page for further information and click here if you are interested in trying this natural remedy for chronic pain.
Let us know your strategy for dealing with chronic pain when you are doing the activity you love and just refuse to quit.
Be well, do well and keep moving.