Thursday, November 19, 2009
I must have overdone my activities this past weekend because now I'm paying the price for it. Initially I felt only mild discomfort and I was able to go to water aerobics Monday and Tuesday. By the time Wednesday rolled around, I was so stiff (and I stretched out after all of my workouts too) that I was limping. I got my weekly medical massage and my therapist noted that my back was full of knots. Since I had an appointment with my pain management doctor later in the day, I asked her if there was anything I should draw my doctor's attention to, during my appointment. My massage therapist said that I had a big diamond shaped area where I had some very deep knots. I took this information with me when I met with my doctor later.
I went to the pain management doctor several hours after my massage. The doctor and I discussed the feedback from my neurosurgeon about my neck/ head and she requested that I go to a headache specialist located about 60 miles away from where I live. (It will take me at least 120 miles round trip when I visit this doctor!) Then we discussed the rest of my spine. I shared with her the information from my medical massage therapist. Upon examination of my lower spine, the doctor was not pleased with some of the deep tissue spasms (big knots about the size of a silver dollar) that I was having. She had to inject two of the largest areas and told me to ice the area for several days. She suggested that I might want to be proactive in my pain management for the next few days. Then we discussed my obsession with using exercise to trigger my metabolism. She said my dedication is admirable and told me to keep at it with a few modifications. No more high step jogging or mule kicks for me! She mentioned that the shots might make me a little tender. She said that I can't do water aerobics until next week but I can do some walking if I'm up to it. The part about "if I'm up to it" should have been a tip off. In my experience, that comment usually means that I'll probably hurt so badly that walking to the bathroom will be a major challenge. I was correct. Then, I remembered her advice to be proactive about dealing with the pain and I took the medication that she gave me.
This morning when I woke up, moving around was difficult so again, I followed the protocol that the doctor outlined for me and waited for the pain to subside. I was able to run a few errands with hubby later this morning but my activity was very limited. Hubby was such a good sport about driving me around! The down side was that when I got home, I needed to crawl right into bed and wait for the pain to subside again. Hopefully I'll be much better tomorrow. I hope getting an injection right into the middle of those knots does the trick because I'm not looking forward to doing it again anytime soon! I'll have to walk very slowly at the team walk on Saturday morning!
Friday, November 13, 2009
This week I was forced by the weather to "change up" my workouts. I did a great water aerobics workout on Monday but the weather changed, due to a passing hurricane. This kept me out of the water until today. Since I was a bit sore, from my 15 minutes of water jogging on Monday, on Tuesday and Wednesday I walked instead. Then, on Thursday, I did an indoor workout in the gym portion of the exercise complex. I did the stationery bike for 51 minutes and the treadmill for 32 minutes (and a 32 minute walk later in the day). I did 4 strength training exercises between the bike and the treadmill. I even remembered to stretch! I was sore this morning from using different muscles. This soreness made me think about the benefits of changing my day to day workout routines.
Sometimes I get into what I call an exercise "rut", which means I'm doing the same workout every day over a period of several months. I know that I start this by having physical limitations which perpetuate this tendency to fall into an exercise rut. During this period, my weight also seems to plateau. I'm sure that there is a correlation between the "rut" and the plateau. My body adapts to certain levels of activity; especially when I do the same thing all the time. After a while, the workouts aren't as effective as they were once. By changing my workouts, mixing them up so to speak, I fool my body and keep it from adapting to any one particular type of workout. This has been an effective tool that I've used in the past to blast out of a plateau. I stopped doing it when I had a series of spinal shots this past summer. I turned to water aerobics in August because everything else caused pain. Water aerobics helped to strengthen my core muscles and increased my flexibility. This is a big plus when you have a chronic disease. Now that I'm stronger, I am venturing out into other forms of low impact exercise. I know that I need to practice moderation as I begin to expand my exercise repertoire. Too much, too soon may cause me to hurt myself or cause me to burn out. So, my mantra will be baby steps, baby steps and more baby steps.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
With stores pushing the Christmas season into October it is often hard to keep our focus on the here and now. Sometimes it seems like the here and now is nothing short of depressing! The economy has tanked, gas prices are rising, healthy food is expensive, health care costs are out of sight and stress is everywhere! How do I achieve a sense of balance in the face of such chaos? We go about at a frenzied pace; working and struggling to achieve some nebulous goal - for what? Are we actually enjoying what we're doing? Are we filled with anxiety and stress? These are questions that I've recently asked myself. How do I want to begin to deal with all of this? What comes to mind is one of the first things I learned when I joined Spark People. I need to start with baby steps. Well, I don't know about you, but my first inclination is to jump in feet first and totally immerse myself; throwing caution to the wind, trying to fix everything at once. Whoa there! Time out! My time on Spark People has taught me that the only thing that approach will do is make me burn out. So perhaps there is another way.
Let's start with baby steps. Maybe I need to change the way I'm looking at things. Okay, I can do that! If I'm to start small, let me begin by looking at the blessings that I already have in my life. Sometimes I go through my day so quickly that I don't even take the time to notice those blessings. In fact, if I'm in the "poor pitiful me" mode, I may feel like I've been short changed in the blessings department. If only I had more money, better food, a nicer house, better clothes, a better job (or for some of us just any job at all), a better social life, more toned muscles, less fat, a better car etc., etc. Am I even listening to myself? What about the fact that I already have a house, car, food, clothes, a body that functions and friends? Don't they count? Maybe I should take a step back here and look more closely at my life.
I think November is the perfect time to re-evaluate my life and take stock of what is really important to me. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, perhaps I need to put my focus back on being thankful and counting my blessings. This morning, for example, there was a beautiful sunrise. The birds are chirping and the fall colors are abundant in all their glory. I live in a country that is founded on freedom; of speech, thought, religion and choices. Wow! That's a big blessing. Our house has electricity and running water. Many areas of the world have no electricity or running water. We are lucky to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I have food to eat, clothes to wear and a car to drive. I have a loving hubby, two darling dogs, a wonderful daughter and my body is fairly healthy. I have some sort of medical care. It may not be perfect, but I do have access to it. That makes me blessed! If I walk outside and look around, I see beauty. The sun is shining, there are flowers, trees and animals. These are wonderful gifts. If I take the time to look, I can see blessings all around me. As I begin to appreciate all that I have, a tremendous sense of peace surrounds me. Maybe this is what I've actually been missing in my life. By taking the time to look at how I have already been blessed, I have found the silver lining in my world. I have only to look for it and it will be there waiting for me.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
I made it to water aerobics 5 times this week! Yay! I capped off my week with a 2 mile walk with our local Spark team followed by walking the mall for an hour and a half. Altogether, I spent a over two hours in motion! The down side is that I'm really getting stiff. So it's off to bed for rest time for me. I will say that I feel energized from all of the exercise. Now if I could just get those joints to stop getting stiff, I'd be really satisfied!
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