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40

Knee Pain? Just Say No … Didn’t Work

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Knee Surgeries? Duck, Duck, Goose

inflamed footAccording to two doctors, I need three separate joint surgeries in 2015. My plan is to have zero. And there you have one of my primary New Year’s goals: to try all non-invasive options to rehab both knees and my foot. (Yes, for those of you who have been reading our blog for awhile, that identical twis sis of mine had left toe surgery for the same issue I now have on the right).

Over the next few months look for occasional posts that chronicle my efforts to reduce knee pain and get my active life back. My hope is that my successes, methods, and discoveries help those of you with similar pain.

Any other baby boomers out there with knee, toe, or other joint-related issues? Is osteoarthritis interfering with your life plan for active aging? This was not supposed to happen to me!! I want my life to expand with age, time, income, and experience, not contract.  After depositing in the exercise bank for more than 35 years, I was looking forward to withdrawing more movement, action, and adventure!

Poolside press up

No knees holding me back here..

Lakeside press up

Nor here

Kymberly presses up in CO

Nope, not here either.

After a physically challenging year with chronic pain and the ability to move less and less, it’s time to face reality: ignoring my knee and foot problems and powering through painful workouts just isn’t working any more. Maybe it never was, but I did keep teaching group exercise classes and walking my dog every day! Until a few weeks ago when I tore two menisci in my right knee — the “good” knee. The one that did not have two replacement surgeries already.

Do You Kneed This? I Do, Dang It!

Sooo, I am now starting several new approaches to get my athletic, energetic, comfortable giddy up gait back. These programs and methods include:

  • Starting Physical Therapy – traditional, medical model, science-based, personalized. Started two days ago and already feel optimistic. For one, my left knee is again smaller than my head. So long super sized swelling!
  • Following the Knee Injury Solution developed and offered via videos and written instruction by specialist Rick Kaselj – known and trusted fitness pro, colleague in the fitness industry, inexpensive program, easy to do at home. If you are interested to try his knee rehab program yourself, click the link. Low price, good value!
  • Performing stretches and movement tasks from Move Your DNA, a book by Katy Bowman, MS that looks at the subtle, yet important ways we need to rethink “exercise” and focus on “movement.”
  • Eating fewer foods that incite inflammation – waah haa as this will be the tough area for me.
  • Eating more foods that reduce inflammation – can and will do! For one, the Skinnylicious book Alexandra and I discovered will help with this as will the Knee Injury Solution program. Check out the cookbook by clicking the Skinnylicious link or by reading our post, Fitness, Weight Loss, and Nutrition in 2015.
  • Using glucosamine powder and homeopathic gel suggested by my chiropractor.
  • Getting on my husband’s spinning cycle daily to replace the other cardio activities I have had to cut back on. Low impact, medium intensity.

Doctor, Doctor, I Declare

Kymberly's foot points to a tiget track

Do Your Knees Track? (Do you see the tiger track my foot points to? Do you like my word play?) Oh Meow!

Whew! That’s a lot to take on. But I am determined and frankly, scared enough to try whatever it takes to get my walking and exercising juju back. My doctors have been great about listening to me and working with me to develop protocols to push off surgeries. Yet, my goal is to do MORE once I can walk again pain- and swelling-free. They keep trying to talk me into doing LESS, both now and post any surgery.

Other methods I have tried over the last two years have helped to a degree. I think those efforts gained me extra workouts and managed the pain. But not enough to prevent the recent downturns and tears. Read what I already implemented as you might want in on some o’ dat! Pain Free Movement in 2013

So strap in if you are interested to find out what works and what does not in my 2015 knee and foot joint reclamation project.

Affiliate disclosure: If you buy the Skinnylicious recipe book or Knee Rehab program through our links, we earn a few dollars at no added cost to you. Of course our main motive is to find, test, and curate the products and services best for active women over 50. 

7

What Can You Do When Your Joints Ache and Holler?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Age ActivelyDo your joints ache to the point that you cannot do activities you’d like? Is pain making cardio exercise a challenge? Are your knee joints so arthritic that practically every move hurts them? We hear, feel, and empathize with your pain. (Really, we do. Read our post with more suggestions about reducing chronic joint and muscle pain)

To live more comfortably in your body, what can you do (besides whine, whimper, act curmudgeonly, and grab the stairwell when going down)?

Hang onto your bandage wraps and therapeutic creams as we dispense fit pro advice about ways to exercise cardiovascularly when your joints are HOLLERING!

Rancho poolKymberly: Swim

Alexandra: Swim

Kymberly: Hey, I said it first!

Alexandra: I thought it first!

K and A: We thought it at the same time. Whoa! Twin telepathy. ……. Ahh haa haaa made you look.

K: Now that you wonder whether we really do have twin telepathy, I can tell you what Alexandra was thinking. Nada. But I am thinking that getting into a pool and doing laps or taking aqua classes are the best options. The more of your body that is under water, the less stress on your joints. If pools are not a realistic option for whatever reason – no pool handy, hate to get wet, you only wear a bathing suit in the privacy of your bathtub–whatever–then we have to come up with more clever solutions.

A: Try cardio machines that take some of the load off your lower body joints, such as indoor cycling, rowing, elliptical machines (as opposed to stair steppers or treadmills). Take advantage of a group spin or row class. For one, you can have the instructor fit the equipment to you, so you are in protective alignment. You want to be sure that the seat of your cycle is set high enough for your leg length, for example. Nag, nag, nag.

K: Add in some resistance training or Pilates twice a week. Strengthen the muscles around painful joints so that the muscles bear the brunt of the load.

Kymberly after Ranch dance classPerhaps invest in a certified personal trainer or one-on-one licensed body worker (such as a Feldenkreis teacher,  CranioSacral therapist, or MELT trainer). Get your form, equipment settings, shoes, stretching plan all checked by a professional. And I don’t mean us. We’re way too busy bickering about who suggested the pool first.

A: Find a local gym with a “seniors” program (a euphemism for “anyone older than myself”) and take a group low-impact class. The variety of movement will decrease the potential for pain from repetitive stress. Unless you take my sister’s class – in which case your pain will increase tremendously.  Got the last word.

Does your event need education, motivation, and fit-elation? Call us to speak at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Comfortably move your way to our YouTube channel for short videos that will improve your active aging adventure! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

12

What Does Your Fitness Future Hold? Two Troublesome Trends from IDEA

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

IDEA World 2014 and KymberlyWhat’s in your wallet fitness future? What fun fit facts and trends did Alexandra and I pick up at the recent IDEA World Convention for fitness professionals that might affect your active life?

Uh oh, but the two biggest trends don’t bode well for midlifers.

Hurts so Good Bad

1)  Trend one was the focus on dealing with chronic pain.

We baby boomers are the first generation to grow up with exercise as part of our post high school curriculum. Our parents did not transition from youth to adulthood expecting to work out the rest of their lives. (I’m talking national averages here as I don’t know YOUR parents, of course). With our years of continuous movement comes a toll: aches and pains — yes, I did teach up to 20 high impact classes per week back when I was young and immortal.

20140814 IDEA Anaheim Copyright 2014 Len  Spoden Photography.

IDEA Trade Show Shows Off!

In Implementing Anti-Aging Solutions Into Fitness, session leader, Sue Hitzmann asked participants “who suffers from chronic pains that limit your life?”  Out of 200 fitness pros, at least 195 of them raised their hands, myself included. And that’s a group that knows how to move with good form and body awareness. Youch and ouch! Apparently this high percentage of injury sufferers is the new norm, especially for the over 50 crowd.

You can believe that the companies at the IDEA trade show know this, as there were a lot of booths devoted to pain relief. Whether via creams, programs, massages, electrical stimulation, rollers, supplements, or mind/body techniques, the services and products addressing pain were in dramatic ascendancy! So you could say this is a good trend, insofar as solutions are out there. (Yes, I searched for the magic wand for better knee joints, but heard it was on aisle 245 ¾, which I never found.)

lank on a plank at Rancho la Puerta

Moves I want to do: Plank on a plank.

Fitness for the Fit

2) The second trend that whumped me upside the head is the return to fitness programs for the fit.

As Alexandra alluded to in her post, about feeling invisible as she ages hard core is in! “Go Hard or Go Home” is the new mantra. Oooommm, OMG! If you want me to do high impact moves, you’d better be ready to wipe up more than my sweat. (insert incontinence ad here). Back in the 80s and 90s, a common excuse for avoiding the gym was “I have to get in shape before I can head to the gym.” We have come so far since then. Let’s not return, but look ahead at how much tailored movement can help our midlife bodies and minds. Much as I’d love to go back to the future and bring back my younger body all gift wrapped and shiny, it ain’t a gonna happen. I love to work with purpose and to sweat puddles and oodles (I think those words combine to make sweaty poodles: Rough Ruff are you Tough Enough??!)  But if you look again at Trend #1, workouts based on More, Harder, Faster, Louder, Sharper, Barfier actually hurt.

I want to be able to do this: Kymberly hanging from atch at R la PWithout feeling as though I landed in this:

Ranch cactus

Turn the (Heart) Beat Around; Got to Avoid Concussion

Ya feel me? Fortunately fitness professionals are creative and dedicated. They (maybe my sis and I??)  will find more solutions for baby boomers who want to move energetically, work out intently, and age actively. We know it’s possible to do so while increasing body comfort, not adding to our dis-ease . Gravity has its benefits, just not on my joints and face. Am I right? Don’t drop down and give me 100. Stay up! Do what you enjoy and can sustain for your enlivened future!

Does your event need education, motivation, and fit-elation? Call us to speak at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Confortably move your way to our YouTube channel for short videos that will improve your active aging adventure! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Readers: What is your least favorite or most painful exercise?  What trend(s) do you see in the fitness industry? What crazy move do you want to try?

 

 

13

Try CranioSacral Therapy to Relieve Pain

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Thailand Sculpture from Grand Palace

How my foot and knee pain made me feel.

Who has heard of CranioSacral Therapy? Anyone tried it? When my foot and knee issues recently got extreme I gave CranioSacral Therapy (CST) a skeptical whirl. (A local, qualified CST offered a Groupon special at just the right moment to touch my thrifty heart). After three sessions, the pain in my boomeritis knee and foot are barely noticeable for the first time in years. I even lost 4 of the many stress pounds I had put on despite great exercise and eating habits.

Chronic Pain and Exercise

As you age, do you also have aches and pains that come and don’t go? Did you know that a huge percentage of fitness professionals and active people suffer from chronic pain? This pain epidemic seems to be a silent one in the workout world. Are you someone whose ongoing pains affect your ability to exercise, be comfortable in your body, or enjoy once-beloved activities? I know I’m in that category. If so, then consider whether CranioSacral Therapy (CST) might work for you.

What is CranioSacral Therapy

Craniosacral Therapy, or cranial-sacral therapy, is a form of bodywork that focuses on regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and acknowledging that we are mostly made up of water. Using a light and precise touch, the CST practitioner finds and corrects imbalances in the cerebrospinal fluid and structures surrounding and protecting the brain and spinal cord. This in turn relieves tension and releases restrictions throughout the body. The concept is rooted in the belief that your body ultimately knows how to heal itself. Or in layKymberly terms: you lie still on a massage table, let your mind wander, maybe take a nap during the session, as the CST bodyworker holds your feet or head or sacrum, for example. It looks, feels, and seems as though not much is going on aside from loud stomach rumbling. More like gurgling, in my case.

What CranioSacral Therapy Is Not

No, it’s not a massage nor acupressure. No, chanting is not involved. Yes, a good CST practitioner is sensing and tracking your cerebrospinal flow. Yes, it’s sounds very oooweee woooeee, especially for a cognitive sort like myself. But I was willing to keep an open mind, plus I was desperately in pain and other solutions had not yet gotten me back on my (wanna be comfy) feet.

Rancho la Puerta pool in my California Footwear Del Mar sandals

Even the pool at Rancho la Puerta could not put out the painful fire in my right foot.

Teaching my step classes and powerwalking got to the point that every step was agony. The pad of my right foot felt like it was on permafire; my perpetually puffy left knee would keep me awake after a day of any cardio exercise. Sitting too long also made my knee throb. No way did I want to quit working out; in fact, I ached (pun intended snarfle snarfle) to exercise even more intensely, especially as menopause took its weight gain toll. My podiatrist suggested surgery; I went alternative medicine rogue.

Other Options to Exercise Through or With Chronic Pain

Keep in mind I had already seen Alexandra go through a similar foot surgery, with all its challenges. Ditch that route! Read about my prior attempts to seek pain free movement. I tried different shoes (helped quite a bit for walking, not for step and cardio classes though); orthotics (also helped with the foot pain but started causing other imbalances and compensations); foam rolling (also helped, but only temporarily); supplements (also made me feel better, but only when I remembered to take them daily and forever). All the options I tried were temporary, but nothing was solving the underlying problem — my movement patterns were somehow off kilter.

Kymberly mountain walking in Ahnu shoes with sore foot in Santa Barbara

That’s the foot that is the culprit! The Ahnu shoes helped. CST helped more.

And I am not alone. Chances are good (bad, really) that you and many women you know — especially baby boomers — suffer from joint and muscle chronic pain. If you are like me, you are not wanting to slow down or do less. If anything, you want to do more. I do, anyway. I have big travel plans and the new house we are building has a set of entry stairs I plan to climb into my dotage. I wouldn’t mind competing in some sport again either. Such as Dancing With the Stars, for example!!!!! Or running and playing soccer. A Boom Chicka Boomer can dream. Especially in the middle of a CST session.

Lots of options exist to manage pain. Alternative medicine and non-mainstream therapies are coming into their own for good reasons. The method that seems to be working for me is CST. (Another method I just discovered and am excited about is called MELT, but that’s another story. And radio episode and blog post. Stick with us at Fun and Fit if you are looking for more discoveries about aging with less pain.)

Do a search on CranioSacral Therapy. Check the qualifications of any CST practitioners you are considering. Be willing not to fully understand the process and to listen to what your body signals when lying still. Bottom line – are you in less pain after a few sessions? Finally I can say that I see light and sweetness at the end of my long pain tunnel. Yes, I already booked my next CranioSacral Therapy session. Let me know what you use for your “Get Out of Pain” card. Aces — not braces nor ace bandages — for us all!

Got an event coming up that can use professional, edu-taining, motivating speakers ? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Flow over to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness with maximal impact yet minimal joint issues! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Not painful at all! Please also follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.