Saturday, June 09, 2012
Today was day #4 of taking care of myself during my water workouts. My goal today was to be on the lookout for signs that I needed to change my body posture or position to one that would not stress my neck, head or shoulders. I was surprised that when I paid attention, I could feel a cramp in my left shoulder that went all the way up my neck and into the back of my head. I also got some mild shocks at the base of my skull. These are danger signals that indicate a major problem for me and for my body position.
Instead of ignoring it, which is often what I've done in the past, I immediately stopped and stretched the affected body parts. Then I did an exercise that worked the same muscles but worked them using a different body position. The pain never reappeared. Interesting!!! This was an eye opener for me and I am now clear on what positions I must avoid. I guess a part of me just figured that since I've done so much healing, I should be able to return to doing normal exercising. This was a big misconception on my part according to my neurologist. If I want to avoid injury and pain, I must resign myself to finding alternate ways of working my muscles that don't stress my head, neck or shoulders.
I've decided that I am quite capable of asking the instructor for tips on new non-stressful positions for me to complete my workouts. Today was a prime example. I can't do some exercises from a plank position or by floating on my stomach. I told my instructor that it caused neck pain and she made an announcement to the class that for anyone who felt neck pain, here was a different position. Surprise! Out of 16 participants, at least 3-4 other people switched to the alternate position. Then when we did crunches on our backs, the instructor automatically offered a vertical crunch position. Again, when I looked around, at least 3 other people had switched to the vertical position. Now I feel totally at ease with asking for alternate ways of doing the exercises.
The moral of the story is that you have to do a workout that is right for YOU! Just completing a workout and suffering through the pain isn't good enough. Instead of helping you, a painful workout can actually harm you. Despite what everyone else can do, only do what is right for you and don't give in to pressure to conform. It's your body. It is up to you to protect it. Stand your ground and do the exercises that are right for your own needs. Lesson learned!