Arthritis? Get Moving!
When I went to the doctors yesterday I didn’t imagine that what he told me would be so interesting I would want to blog about it! Arthritis is so common I was bored even thinking about what I would say at my appointment. In fact the question ‘why am I even bothering to go?’ ran around my head on and off for days before I decided not to cancel. That emotion is nearly as common as arthritis!
I have a bad neck, it keeps me up at night. I am 50 and want to look 40, this does not help.
I have a scan booked in April, this will probably result in physiotherapy. I love telling other people to exercise but don’t like being told to do it myself. Everyone knows I love fun exercise, everyone knows physiotherapy exercises are never fun.
I sat opposite the doctor and felt ridiculously healthy so I spoke quickly in order to give more time to those who really needed help. I had seen them in the waiting room.
I described the amount of pain my neck caused me at night and how even though I knew there was some arthritis there, just like there is in my back which prevents the washing of my feet until after I stretch each morning, this was worrying as it was so painful.
I had to concentrate on expressing the level of pain because during the day I have absolutely none!
He listened intently, doctors are very good at that. He then told me it was classic arthritis.
After I got over the fact that he was not about to fix me, I listened intently which I am quite good at too.
The Interesting bit:
This is what he said. Bones are living things, not the skeleton that we imagine lying in the ground but alive and changing all the time. He did not have the same bones now that he had 20 years ago. So whose did he have then? I didn’t ask that but assumed he meant they were not the same structure.
My bones are wearing out, bad news, but new bits are growing, good news. The new bits are sharp and jagged, ouch. It will take about 3 months for them to round off and be comfortable in my body again. This smoothing off period is known as a ‘flare up.’
I am suffering from a flare up but only at night, why?
During the day our joints are fully lubricated with, well fluid! This is because we are constantly moving. At night the same lubrication is not needed so the joint is dryer which is fine if your bone is not jagged!
Movement then becomes painful and movement is required. Back to trying to look 40……
Another option is to provide the joint with heat. I now have a wheat bag and am thinking of installing a microwave in my bedroom. Yes I can be lazy too!
That saying ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’ makes a lot of sense for arthritis sufferers. I mentioned to the doctor it seemed odd that arthritis should find its home in my body as I am constantly moving, stretching and generally behaving like an overactive child. He looked at me patiently, they are good at that too, and said, “I wish people could be given something to explain what happens when joints age and how stretching EVERY (he emphasised that) day is vital to keep the symptoms at bay. That way I wouldn’t constantly be talking to shocked 50 year olds about their arthritis.”
He then told me a story about an old lady who lived in a nursing home and needed help to get out of her chair. She could not move her neck and was very hunched over. Despite all this she knitted furiously every day. Her fingers were bent with arthritis but they were working. Why? Because she never stopped using them.
What I learnt:
I am a shocked 50 year old.
I need to stretch EVERY day no matter how much my body doth protest!
Physiotherapy targets the problem areas and identifies your weakness. The exercises are still boring but worthwhile.
My classes are still fabulous but there is more work to be done when they are over. I will instil that into all my wonderful unsuspecting clients!
I think I am in love with my doctor!!