I have been out of my blogging routine for quite a bit but have recently been inspired to start back up again and I hope you will read along with me. 🙂
Starting today, Monday – and hopefully every Monday, I will write about something small chronic pain sufferers can do to keep moving… because I know we have all heard from our doctors at one time or another that you HAVE to keep moving. Feeling frustrated by that? I have been there! You hurt so bad that your hair hurts or it hurts to breathe and your doctor has the nerve to say nonchalantly, “You just have to keep moving.” AHHHHHHH! Made me want to scream each and every time. I did not know where to even start!
Then, at one point in my struggles with chronic pain I spent 3 MONTHS in physical therapy and I learned EASY ways to get moving. Granted I could not do these exercises every day to start with, but as time went on, it got better. 🙂
So, for today’s Move-It Monday, I want to share the first exercise I learned in physical therapy and one that made a significant difference: The stairstep calf stretch.
My PT described it like this when I came in limping to her office: When you are limping or favoring a hip or knee or whatever it is that is giving you trouble that day, your stride when you are walking is impeded. You favor one part, then another part of your body starts hurting, so you try to favor that too and the next thing you know you can barely move because you are hurting everywhere. So, starting with the calf stretch is an easy way to start warming your muscles up and reverse your body’s pain response. This stretch is the first one that you can do to work towards restoring your body’s stride. And she would often say “every thing is connected – more than you may know” AND although annoyed that I had to go to PT to begin with at first, I began to see she was ABSOLUTE RIGHT!
So, the stretch looks like this:
All you need is a step or a thick book or even a folded up towel to put the front half of your foot on. Then, you push your heels down until you feel a MILD stretch – you don’t want to push too far EVER because you could hurt yourself or tear something. Once you have done the heel push and have held it for a second or two, you SLOWLY move towards a standing on tiptoes position IF you can (I could not do that at first). If you can’t do it, don’t feel bad, just try it again the next time. Just do 5 of these down, then up motions slowly and take a break. If you feel like you could do 5 more after your break, then go for it… but don’t do more than 10 that first day. You never ever want to overdo it. You just want a mild stretch and it should not hurt your calf muscle. If it starts hurting, you stretched too far and need to ease up.
So, I am not a doctor or a physical therapist, just a woman with chronic pain – SO please please please do not do this if your doctor has told you not to or if you just don’t feel comfortable doing it. BUT, if your doctor wants you to keep moving and you are struggling with that, then go for it!
I hope today’s Move-It Monday tip is helpful to you – and feel free to let me know in the comments below. 🙂
Stay tuned for the rest of this week. There are more great posts coming your way!
Image courtesy of therapeuticassociates.com