All posts tagged: RA exercise

Our core and why we need it

  Our core is our foundation. It is the stabilizer muscles. It links the upper body with the lower body. Our core  keeps us upright, agile, and able to perform all the daily tasks that constitute our lives. The core muscles are located in our trunk. Our core is a muscular corset that keeps our organs inside, our backs upright and our bodies able to do their job.  It lets us twist and bend.  A strong core will keep us in good shape as we age and when we are ill. With a strong core we are less likely to fall as we get older. We are less likely to have back problems. We use our core when we do housework and when we play golf. We use our core when we play with our children and when we have sex. The quality of our activity depends on our core. The core comprises groups of muscles with strange sounding names. The rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis; the obliques, front and side,  lower lats, erector spinae, running …

RA, Movement and the Slippery Slope

I need to give you some heartfelt advice that is as close to a warning as I can get. My horrific experience this last year with a hip that was totally worn out put me in a dangerous situation that was as close as I had come to spiraling down the slippery slope to forever. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Those of us who have an autoimmune disorder understand what I mean when I say I have an overwhelming, incapacitating fatigue when I have a flare. Over the last five years I have learned to slow down when the flare signs start to blossom. To take care. So, this last year as the RA pain plus the pain in my hip increased, I did just that. I slowed down. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a flare that passed with additional Medrol and rest. It was a bone on bone raw joint pain that worsened with each passing day. I became debilitated. I was weak. I was living in pain. My doc provided OxyContin and tried very hard to …

RA flare warning signs

Many of us who have RA have premonitions before the onset of a flare. For me, I start feeling chilled. Occasionally, I will check my temperature to see if I am coming down with something and my temperature will be 100.4 F. or maybe 99.6 F. It is a Rheumatoid Arthritis temperature. Additionally, my skin becomes itchy over joints. They are not always the same joints. Sometimes it is the knuckles and sometimes it is the wrists. I am also energetic and have several irons in the fire at the same time. As a flare draws nearer, I start losing my energy reserve. I feel like my battery is draining to a very low level. I knit more, and my baking becomes less creative. I feel duller. I would rather spend more time watching the Great British Bake Off and less time working on research for my current book. I am sinking. For me, it is time to start a Medrol dose pack and let myself slow down. I will still need to go to …

RA Fog

Last month I finally filled out the form for the Arthritis Foundation, made out my $20 check and mailed it in. A few days ago I received my first copy of Arthritis Today. I was surprised and impressed. It is a small magazine, not cluttered by pages of ads.  The focus of the magazine is to be helpful to those with arthritis. It is. There are interesting and helpful articles. I enjoyed the article about Clark Middleton. He was the DMV guy on the series the Blacklist. Funny character. He had juvenile idiopathic arthritis as a child. He had many joint replacements and continues today with methotrexate and a biologic. His is the story of a man who has accomplished a lot while coping with a debilitating disease. The article on Brain Fog reminded me of methotrexate fog. That was a hurdle for me as I settled into methotrexate treatment. I was a sharp business woman. I had to be in order to stay in business for over 25 years. I had always done my own …

RA and Yoga

My first yoga experience was about 15 years ago. I belonged to Riverpoint, a sports and wellness club in Albuquerque. All classes were included in membership price. The evening I was at the club, a yoga class was just starting. I thought I would give it a try. I knew nothing about yoga. No mat and no clue. I walked into an advanced class. I was so very fortunate to have an excellent, progressive teacher. She welcomed me. I was also welcomed by her class.  I took classes with her for about four years before she headed off to Costa Rica. She believed people should start where they are at. She said yoga is not competitive with yourself or with any one else. I learned good form. I bought a yoga mat and thanks to her I still have a yoga practice. The first two years after my RA diagnosis I tried classes and just couldn’t do it. My feet and my wrists hurt too much. So I stopped. Looking back I could have done …

RA and Malnutrition

A COMMON BUT LITTLE KNOWN complication of RA is malnutrition.  In fact, it is estimated that more than 40% of Rheumatoid Arthritis patients are malnourished. My first thought would be that RA can cause such overwhelming fatigue and pain that it would be difficult to muster the energy to prepare and then eat a meal. Just to make a sandwich requires unwrapping the bread, putting the slices on a plate, wrapping the bread bag back up, opening containers and adding spreads, meat or veggies, closing containers, putting them away. Sitting down at the table with your sandwich and eating it. Sounds easy enough. But if you are so wiped out by the extreme fatigue of RA or your hands are swollen and ache deeply in a way that is hard to explain, making a sandwich can be an overwhelming task. It is a task that can be skipped. And it frequently is. Additionally, it is difficult to rally the energy to go to the grocery store, get out of the car, walk in,  select items, …

RA Tool Hand Exercises

Another asset in our RA tool box is hand exercises. We need to maintain our flexibility and our strength. Deciding that I needed to be able to do more for myself, I asked my Doc to send me to the Albuquerque Health Plex Physical Therapy Hand Clinic. Wow!  is all I can say. My hands were thrilled with the weekly professional paraffin wax treatment. I learned a set of exercises that will help me maintain my hand function. I do them daily. They can be done anywhere.  Below are instructions for a few. I was fitted for hand orthotics custom made for me. I have them for night use when I am in a flare. My hands are protected while I sleep. I asked and I received. I am also fortunate to have a physical therapy department that is expert in the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Finger Walking Place fingers and wrist on the table palm down. Hold thumb in hitchhiking position. Walk each finger one at a time toward thumb. Return to original position …

Exploring and moving

Do you really want to spend any time walking on a treadmill or  riding a stationary bike?  Indoors? Sure, it’s great if you live in Watertown, NY and you get socked in with snow. It’s also good if you live in a bad neighborhood.  But if you live in Albuquerque( ABQ to us), there is more to be had.    Walking with your camera in the great open spaces. I am a professional photographer. I have all the big expensive cameras with the impressive lens. I also have a seriously progressing Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have been lying low with pain and inflammation. Finally, I am ready to move again.  Baby steps.  Out walking trying to get my legs again, I take an old digital Canon. Fast. Satisfying. Easy. I would never have seen these Sand hill Cranes when walking on a treadmill. I love these guys. Makes my heart happy to see these 4 foot visitors from the North. One of the oldest surviving birds, they mate for life and care for their young for a …

RA tools-Massage

In the proper spirit of being the manager for my RA, I thought about what tool I could use to help manage my RA. Top on my list was massage:  Helps the pain-tense muscles to relax. Stimulates the lymphatics. And best of all is a thoroughly relaxing experience. Today I had an hour massage at ABQ Medical Massage Therapy. It was an Oncology Massage. I have several cancers as well as RA and they do open a few doors. The massage was given by Sean, a senior student. I was directed to a quiet room. Asked if the room temperature was okay. Offered water. And directed to disrobe to my comfort level. I go to my panties. Lay down on the table which was warm and cozy. Covered up with a sheet and a light blanket. When Sean returned, he adjusted my head pillow and placed a pillow under my knees. Quiet music. Sean worked his magic as he worked my body into relaxation. Peaceful bliss. I felt pampered and happy. When I was diagnosed …

Mojo Energy

Today I graduated from my Thrive Program. More energy. More attitude. Better balance. Sleeping improved.  Mojo ascending!   The last couple of years have been tough for me.  RA that won’t settle down. Two surgeries. Two radiation treatments. I needed a jump start to get me off the couch and back in the game.   My plan is working. For the last 7 weeks I have been in a program where I am in a class or working out 5 days a week. I graduated early as the class is normally three days a week for 10 weeks. The great thing about this program is that although it is scaled to physical recovery, it is a thorough workout. This is week eight. My plan changes a little. M W F  I am in group exercise at the Presbyterian Healthplex in Albuquerque. Friday is zumba day. Tuesday and Thursday I lap swim at Defined Fitness. I started yesterday at 18 lengths. This is a lifetime program. It hasn’t been easy. I have been worn out. Have had …