Being raised on a horse farm by a sociopath, (Really. Who puts a 6-year-old on a bronc?) I found my way onto a lot of broncs. Like, a lot.
Broken bones, shattered tibia, and more than one instance of cracked/slipped vertebrae – add in the 1,000+ stitches from having my throat ripped out, arm ripped off and the side of my face removed (slamming through fences can be brutal…) the older you get – the more you start to feel like a bag of busted bits and pieces. Groan… And the longer I sit, editing, reviewing, or just plain reading (or knitting, or quilting….) I have a tendency to let hours go by, lost in my work, without getting off my butt and moving around — especially dumb since I have two bad disks in my back. Sigh. So… Not surprising to wind up in hospital this week with screaming agony in my back and hip and down my leg. OUCH!! Like, really – O.U.C.H. So, days of bed rest and lots and lots of Oxy and muscle relaxers, and knock-out drugs, and I decided – well, crap. I took enough drugs during chemo! Besides, there are way too many people out there addicted to Oxy – and I don’t want to be one of them!
What to do, what to do? Well, what I used to do! Not just exercises, but the appropriate exercises. And since we are all writers and reviewers, and sit a long time, I thought I would show you some of the exercises I am doing to lessen the compression on my L2 vertebrae and wipe out the pain. Honestly, it is working Great! You don’t have to have disk compression to gain from these exercises – and they are simple to do and don’t take a lot of time. Whenever you get up and walk around, you can do a few and keep yourself supple!
NOW REMEMBER!!!! I AM NOT A PHYSICIAN, A PHYSICAL THERAPIST, A YOGA SPECIALIST – ANY OF THOSE THINGS. ALL INFORMATION GIVEN IS LINKED BACK TO THE ORIGINAL SITES. About.com states on their website: “Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See Medical Review Board. ” I also referenced the Mayo Clinic website. Take your time, don’t do too much, and check with your doctor before beginning ANY exercise regime.
The doctor at the emergency room just pumped me with morphine – which helped till the morphine wore off… but I have been comfortable all day today after doing stretching exercises. So, I still have my pills for emergencies, but at least I didn’t sleep all day in an Oxycontin induced coma!
Heaven Stretch: Heaven Stretch is an important decompressing exercise that is extremely helpful for preventing and reducing low back pain and improving posture. Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart and your palms together in front of your chest. Take a moment to concentrate on your breathing. Take a deep breath in and slowly reach toward the sky with fingertips pointing up and in.
Breathe in through your nose and keep reaching while holding your breath at the top of the exercise. Hold the stretch at the top for as long as you are comfortable. Then, breathe out through your mouth while slowly bringing your arms down to your sides with your palms facing downward. Make a large circle with your fingertips as you bring your arms down. Return to ready position and relax before repeating exercise.
Spinal Rolls: Spinal rolls are an excellent exercise designed for increasing range of motion in every area of the spine, from the neck all the way to the lower back. Start by taking a wide stance on your mat with your knees soft and relaxed. Then, slowly bend your head, with arms and shoulders hanging loosely. Try to imagine rolling one vertebrae at a time as you reach toward the mat in front of your feet.
Go as far as you can comfortably with knees in squatting type position. Ideal position at bottom of exercise is placing palms on ground while letting head hang loosely to traction shoulders. If you are not able to put your hands on the mat in front of you, simply roll down as far as you are comfortable with arms hanging loosely in front of you.
Reverse order on way up. Concentrate on rolling up the spine, one vertebra at a time. Round your lower back, then the area between your shoulders and then your neck. End in ready position looking straight ahead. Repeat exercise by bending your neck and rolling down again. (This is one of my favorite exercises – feels so good afterwards!)
Butterfly Pose: Sit upright on the floor with the soles of your feet together and as close to your body as is comfortable. Gently press down on both knees with your hands for 30 seconds; repeat three times. Then lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat. Cross one ankle over the opposite thigh, and pull that thigh toward you with both hands. Hold for 30 seconds; repeat three times for each leg.
And strengthening your core is the only way you are going to keep the progress you make! From sportsmedicine.about.com:
The Plank Abdominal Exercise:
The basic plank exercise, also called a hover, is the starting place if you want to improve your core strength and stability. Here’s how to do it right.
Begin in the plank position (see photo) with your forearms and toes on the floor.
Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
Hold this position for 10 seconds to start.
Over time work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds.
I will keep adding in exercises as I get stronger, but just this small bit is already helping!