Monday I had my first appointment with physical therapist, Christine.
Dr. R had sent me for the evaluation. She thought instruction in the warm pool of the Health Plex would help me. I had other motives, too.
- My first concern was stability when walking.
- My second was avoiding losing the flexibility I had worked so hard to maintain over the years.
- My third was getting enough physical activity while dealing with RA fatigue.
Christine talked with me, checked me over. She has already reviewed my chart.
I needed to slow down, she said. Rest is of vital importance. Being extremely busy without enough rest periods was self sabotage.
- Pacing is one way to be sure I had enough energy to do what I wanted to do.
- I also understood that sometimes choices needed to be made. With RA it is not always possible to do it all. Sometimes the only good thing to do would be to rest.
- Resting is a good weapon against flares. It works best to rest so the flare doesn’t happen.
- Usually choosing one activity for a day is enough. A swim. Grocery shopping. Cleaning the kitchen. Another day cleaning the living room. Too much in one day is probably not good.
Swimming is great!
- Being in the water makes the joints feel good. There is less stress on them.
- Laps are good. Sometimes water exercises are a better alternative.
- Remember you will feel good in the water. Don’t overdo as you may be overtired if you do.
- I love the water. I love the way the water moves against my skin. I love the movement in the water. I sometimes wish I were a mermaid.
With RA it wasn’t the swimming that was hard for me. It was the routine of changing clothes and the activities surrounding the activity. Carrying my swim gear bag, towel, goggles etc. Some days I can. Some days I can’t.
Yoga and RA
I have loved yoga for years. I have been to many classes. I can do my own routine at home. Classes keep my form correct. RA changed things. I love downward dog. I could live in that position. It is such a nice release for the body. NO more. My wrists are bad. So all the poses that put strain on the wrists are out for now. Some days I can do a modified yoga. Some days I cannot.
Christine sees me as quite flexible. It did reassure me.
She said my left foot was warm, swollen. She applied electrodes and sent some sort of rotating current through my foot for about 20 minutes. This does not hurt or feel weird. However, while lying on my back, my right shoulder didn’t have enough support and started to hurt although my foot felt better.
She showed me how my toes were not flat on the floor so gave me an unstable gait. My left ankle is also a problem. There are inserts I might try. She said there are many helpful tools. We are going to check them out.
Summarizing my visit
We agreed to meet weekly. She will provide me with resources and literature on next visit. She had been on the RA center team at Presbyterian in the past. She knows a lot about RA. Lucked out again. A physical therapist is a very helpful addition to my RA team.