Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10 (CEB)
Talk About It Tuesday: Rest When You Need To
When my children were infants, I remember the wise advice from some veteran moms saying “Rest when the baby rests.” Thinking back on that time when they were so little and so needy, that was THE best new mom advice I ever got.
So, here is my “veteran” advice to you: When living with chronic pain, rest when YOUR BODY tells you to rest.
I know it is not always a good time when you feel the need to rest and if you can’t rest right when you need it the most, rest as soon as possible afterwards. Our bodies need to rest, that is why we are supposed to sleep every night for 8ish hours – our bodies are not deigned to keep going like robots on no sleep. Sleep is restorative and healing and we need to do it when our bodies say “enough”.
I am not advocating napping for everyone every day because naps can disturb your ability to sleep at night. HOWEVER, if you are not sleeping at night – which is common for those in chronic pain, a nap may be just what you need to recoup and restore your energy so you can make it through the day.
Even if you don’t want to nap, take some time to lay down and rest your muscles and joints when you are feeling the strain on your body. Every little bit of rest can help you with your energy management so you can make it through your day.
Be well my friends and may your day be a little less filled with pain!
Image credit: blog.bufferapp.com
Welcome to Move-It Monday!
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
Chilled to my bones
The weather in South Carolina is taking a sudden turn towards winter. It was so nice earlier today – blue skies and 70° with a nice breeze – we had the windows open. Then the wind clouds rolled in, the temperature dropped, and the wind picked up.
My 13-year old (referred to as Diva on this blog) and I went to the supermarket for a couple items this evening and that wind was quite uncomfortable. Brrrr. It made my joints hurt just being out in it for a few brief minutes and it took me over an hour to warm up and get that pain back under control. Ouch!
This is part of my “typical winter” with RA. Do you find similar symptoms when the weather turns cold where you live? Please share any tips/tricks you have for winter pain management.
Have a low-pain day!