Monday, May 23, 2011

Child's Pose

 Last Tuesday morning, as you may already know, I bit the bullet and took a Yoga class.  This morning I am incredibly glad that I did.  I am sure you are thinking "Six days later?  The effects don't last that long!" but that's not it.  Oh I have to tell you- after that class and until I got to work, I felt so good that I called my mom and compared it to having an hour massage.  Of course I got to work and immediately got hit with stuff that killed that effect very quickly- but for a little while it was a small slice of heaven.

     Getting back to this morning; my back has been spasming for several days.  I have this problem a lot.  The lower back, essentially from right hip to left, is constantly tight.  It is thought that RA does not target your spine and this is one of the reasons that my rheumatologist went down the road to diagnose Fibromyalgia.   The rest of my back is always sore as well.  It feels as if it always bruised to the touch and is a nagging pain.  I nailed all of the "touch points" on the fibro test on my upper back when she did it-yay me- such an over-acheiver. The lower back, however, gives me an immense amount of active pain.  Getting comfortable enough to get to sleep is so hard that I have had to change the times that I take my Neurontin and take both at night (rather than one in the morning and one at night and my rheumy is cool with it) so that I can get to sleep. This pain is at its absolute worst when I wake up in the morning.  We have changed mattresses, we have tried the pillow between the knees position (I tend to kick it out in the middle of the night), we have tried stacking my pillows at a slope and also no pillows at all and none of this helps for more than a day or two.  It's to the point that I am grinding my teeth all night again and that means I wake up with TMJ pain and my upper right quadrent of my mouth is inflamed and aching as well. This back pain and grinding teeth is a very large contributor to my insomnia.  The worst part of it is, it hurts so much that I can't sleep- but exhausts me at the same time.  I am not complaining.  I'm really not.  It's just a part of this whole stupid RA/Fibro combination.  I know that there are thousands who have it worse than I do.  I am so grateful for the fact that I can manage this to the point that I am still productive. 

     This morning, as I was laying in bed thinking about slowly getting up, I was thinking about last week's yoga class.  I was thinking about how good I felt last week when I left the class and having a silent pity party and it dawned on me that I could stretch out a little without waking up my honey.  If I moved slowly it would hurt less and it would also not wake him.  Inch by inch I moved into the "Child's Pose" and I could feel the lower back begin to contract and then stretch and relax.  I held that pose (think a modified fetal position, but up on your knees) for) a solid 2 minutes and as my back began to let go I really wanted to cry with relief.  I literally had to bite my cheek to stay quiet.  From there, I stretched back into the Cobra position (flat on your stomach and then push up on your arms to stretch your upper body toward the ceiling) and it brought even more relief.  I did this back and forth for about 10 minutes and when I was done, I was able to get out of my bed and walk almost normally down to the first floor where I am now. 

       I am also considering adding even more gentle exercise to the routine.  My Y offers aquatic Tai Chi on Tuesday and Thursday morning in the therapy pool.  I think it would be very helpful to be in the therapy pool for 2 hours twice a week.  Also- my local Parks and Rec department is offering a new belly dancing class for 5 weeks June to July and as long as I modify if needed- it will be good to strengthen my back and belly. I can rearrange my schedule slightly to accomodate the classes and hubby is supportive of my Wednesday night class (the Belly Dancing) so everything should be covered.  So that is my story.  That is why I am feeling so much gratitude for that first class last Tuesday morning and I cannot wait for the next one tomorrow.

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