I recently undertook an eight week Pain Management course, as a patient. This was run by the Barbara Walker Centre for Pain Management, a unit within one of Australia’s major hospitals. This course was a combination of psychology, physiotherapy and a medical pain specialist. The value of exercise and movement for pain management was emphasised during this course.
The reason I purchased kyBoot shoes in the first place was because I was struggling with pain in my lumbar spine. In my last article, Reconditioning Your Body, I talked about the negative effects on your body of not maintaining an appropriate degree of exercise. Today I’m going to share a personal experience with my arms – which are quite a distance from my feet, but this illustrates the need for and therapeutic value of exercise. It is worth noting there is an acknowledged link between inflammation and the loss of function over time. Without intervention, such problems as bone erosion may be more pronounced and therefore less responsive to treatment or irreversible, meaning function cannot be regained. Best to act early. The earlier we tackle the problem, the better our long-term prognosis.
This is where my arms come in. I was experiencing pain in my biceps (circled in blue below). I hadn’t done anything to tear or strain them, so what was causing this pain? The doctor sent me for an ultrasound – of my shoulder. What did we find? Calcification and fluid in the shoulder joint. This was causing the pain in my biceps, even though I didn’t have pain in my shoulder. I could feel and hear crunching in my shoulders when I rolled them. I have rheumatoid arthritis (possibly also psoriatic arthritis) so the shoulder inflammation was not totally unexplainable!
So off to the physiotherapist, who promptly banned me from swimming. This did not make me at all happy, as swimming is a regular part of my personal exercise program. I was instructed to do 20 prone shoulder rotations, each shoulder, every day. When I could do this with a 2 kg weight and perfect technique, I was allowed back in the pool. I did what I was told. It took me about three months before I was back in the pool.
I have had no shoulder problems since or bicep pain. I still do prone shoulder rotations, just to be on the safe side. The learning here is early intervention using appropriate exercise restored my shoulder function. I have a similar story about my left knee and cartilage volume, but I will save that for another day. My knee is closer to my feet – and my kyBoot shoes! It is vital that we keep moving. We may very well need to pace up from a low base if that is where we are at. What is pacing? Here is a VERY quick explanation.
Let’s assume for the purposes of illustration that you can currently walk for five minutes before you experience pain.
- Take that five minutes as your Test 1 measurement.
- After a suitable rest, do a second Test. The Test 2 result might be four minutes.
- Add 5 + 4 = 9. To find the average of your two trials: 9/2 = 4.5 minutes.
- Now you need your baseline, your official starting point. This is 80% of your average. 4.5 * 0.8 = 3.6 minutes, or 3 minutes 36 seconds.
- Increase at a rate of 10% from your baseline. 3.6 * 1.1 = 3.96 minutes. Let’s just call it 4 minutes!
Each day you increase by 10%. JUST 10%. Sorry about the maths, but it is necessary!
If you are wearing shoes that help you maintain correct posture, that help your hamstrings lengthen and strengthen (after all those years in heels), you are likely to be pain-free for longer, therefore be able to pace up to reasonable distances in less time, therefore have better and faster results in managing your pain. kyBoot has been invaluable to me in achieving my personal goals.
I must stress, managing chronic pain is not just about exercise. If you have access to a multi-disciplinary team, as I did, I recommend you seek a referral from your medical practitioner. Moving more, seeing movement as medicine (as previously mentioned in Reconditioning Your Body) is a major part of pain management.
As a complete aside, last week I decided I might just wear a pair of very low-heeled shoes to work as they went with the dress I wanted to wear. I popped these fashion shoes on. By the time I had put on my make-up, fed the cat, thrown a load of washing in the washing machine and packed my bag for the office my feet were hurting. Off came the fashion shoes and on went the kyBoot shoes!
One other benefit of being able to walk more is enjoying the things you get to see, like this little chap I ran into last night. Or the beautiful flowers I collect photos of as I walk.
The primary aim of pain management it to maintain or regain quality of life. In my experience, kyBoot shoes will help you.
Website from Robyn Dunphy: limberation.com