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Thread: Exercise and Pain

  1. #1

    Exercise and Pain

    I am t12, 25 years post. Due to a surgery and respiratory infection, I just went 6 weeks without exercise (haven't gone this long since I was a kid.) I noticed one day at about 5 weeks that I couldn't remember the last time I took an Ultram.

    My upper body has been overused for so many years. And when I work out, I have to work my upper body. My back is ususally very tight, hard as a rock. The back pain triggers nerve pain. Exercise sets my pain in motion.

    Since I haven't been exercising, my back is much more relaxed and my nerve pain less intense.

    I need to exercise but don't like taking pain meds if I don't have to and, of course, don't like being in pain. My husband has convinced me to limit my workouts to 30 minutes. That way, I get the cardiovascular without pushing my upper body for too long.

    This is very discouraging!! Anyone else come to the same conclusion? The first 10 - 15 years was not so bad... then it starts taking it's toll.

  2. #2
    Funny, no one wants to broach this topic. Can’t say as I blame you. But it’s a sad fact of life - OVERUSE is a serious problem for most people with long-term, complete sci.

    It wasn’t much of a problem for me for the first 15+ years, but it is now. Once, when I was in my twenties, I did 4 marathons in 4 months. That was stupid! Now, I’m paying for it. Thank God for glucosamine. My husband was a great cross-country runner in high school and college. He put in over 100 miles a week. Now, in his forties, his knees are shot. He’s had one meniscus surgery and will eventually have to have the other knee done. His doc says if he absolutely insists on running, he needs to seriously limit the time and intensity of his workouts or he will cause more permanent damage.

    Exercise will always be a big part of my life. Even after 26 years with sci, 2 pulmonary embolisms, a pneumonia and a pneumo caucus virus (all due to sci), my cardiovascular scores are excellent. I know that can be attributed to swimming. Exercise will always be a big part of my life – but I have to be smart about it.

    So, you can face the sad reality that overuse is an issue for people with long-term sci …. or not. Just don’t let it come back to bite you in the ass.

  3. #3
    Senior Member teesieme's Avatar
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    dahlia~ I like you *grow impatient* when nobody replies right away...<*LOL* at myself...
    "I want to make a difference! However small it may be~ as long as it's a positive one, then this is what my life will have been about and I will go knowing I did my best.~ T.

  4. #4
    Senior Member teesieme's Avatar
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    Btw, I agree that a person has to find a happy medium with exercise. Overuse and overdoing it will eventually catch up to you whatever it may be. My son is benchpressing 310, granted through a different type equipment than prior his injury w/ 265...I have to wonder about that but it doesn't cause him pain, yet. Still he enjoys working out but I worry though with all the transfers and what have you daily besides the workouts in the gym or with home pt...
    I also know of a few people who once they started exercising, their nerve (or phantom) pain went away and they didn't need meds any longer either~ I guess one just has to make sure they adjust as they go with exercise routine, keeping as your hub suggested, a cardio workout at the very least/most. Swimming seems to be one of the best, if not the best all around for the body inside/out for many diseases/injuries, sure wish this was a given for all. Take care~ T.
    Last edited by teesieme; 01-18-2006 at 09:30 PM.
    "I want to make a difference! However small it may be~ as long as it's a positive one, then this is what my life will have been about and I will go knowing I did my best.~ T.

  5. #5
    Thanks, T. You're right, I'm impatient. This has been an emotional issue for me. To be honest, I haven't been able to stick with the program anyway. Who wants to stop after half an hour? My pt hubby will just have to keep rolling his eyes...or else come up with new plan. We are doing a lot more stretching and I've increased my massage to once a week - that should help.

    I don't know anything about the long term affects of body building. I think repetition is what causes the most problems. I'd be curious to know if the governor of our fine state of California has any lingering problems from his body building days. All i know, he's still looking real good for his age (not that he's that old - just that he looks that good) Wish I could say the same for his... oops, wrong forum.

    dahlia

  6. #6
    Senior Member teesieme's Avatar
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    Kudos. Agreement in all areas as well as oopsing wrong forum, LOL. I am still chuckling at myself, dahlia/impatienc(e)...please tell me I am not the only one who found humor in that!
    "I want to make a difference! However small it may be~ as long as it's a positive one, then this is what my life will have been about and I will go knowing I did my best.~ T.

  7. #7
    So what is a happy medium as far as exercise goes? How do people with SCI preserve what we got? Exercise seems to be a must--but how much?
    Daniel

  8. #8
    Senior Member teesieme's Avatar
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    Hi Dan. I really don't know what is too much and what isn't. It's been something I have been trying to figure out with the kid for awhile now. All I know or believe is that ab or not, exercise of sorts should be a part of our lives. But that overdoing it can be just as harmful as not doing anything, right? As said in other post, you are new injury and need some healing time but also need to try and keep what you had/can by building personal strengthening program you can do in and out of home. In retrospect, there are things I wish I could've and would've done or hadn't with my son's situation. It's late and I am tired so bear with me as I try to make this minimal for now... I would have insisted or tried to explain the need even more for my son to learn tai chi or something in the area of as I truly believe "positive" faith and belief in oneself is healing in itself. We lived an hour from something as such~ at times I have also questioned his coming back home instead of going to a rehabilitation center offering further therapy/independent living after being released from medical rehab. hospital but he so much needed his friends and to get back into his former life as much as possible (that was healthy too but still...) one main reason being that he would have had up-to-date equipment available to try/use, perhaps opening the doors that I couldn't through the years in obtaining as such. Or I would have taken up the offer to have someone come into the home to offer assistance with therapies, etc...but anyhow, the main thing I am trying to get at is that I wish we would've/could've done more than basic rom, e-stim and standing frame...something with a more natural movement, like the fes bike or glider, etc. Personally, I always wondered about re-training early enough on, in a sense re-minding a.s.a.p. There is more to this but I am tired and overwhelmed with another day trying to get the kid set up for college here in a new state, etc. But if you'd like to pm me, I will get back to you about how we tried to figure this out (still are), tell ya what he's done and where it may have helped or hurt and so on. Take care~ T.
    "I want to make a difference! However small it may be~ as long as it's a positive one, then this is what my life will have been about and I will go knowing I did my best.~ T.

  9. #9
    Dan, I'm not sure about the answer to your question. But I think the best way to figure it out would be to first define the word "exercise"

    I think standing, fes, massage, stretching, etc are all very important. But I don't consider any of these things to be exercise. Maybe my definition is narrow, but if I did all of these things in a day and nothing else, I would not try to convince myself that I got some exercise. (those with good muscle tone may be able to get a cardio workout with fes - I don't know)

    To me, exercise is Work. And to qualify in the truest sense, it involves working long enough to get your heart rate up and keep there a while. A one-hour lap swim is good exercise. 10 sets of 100 at a fast interval till you think you're gonna die is a great workout. Trying in vain to move my paralyzed muscle is valuable - but it's not exercise in my opinion.

    Like T, I'm partial to swimming. It seems to be the least offensive in terms of wear and tear onthe joints, works everything that does work and feels great to move about without a wheelchair. After you gain some endurance, you can leave your chair on the dock and do some serious open-water swims. Just you, the water, and the little fishys nibbling on your toes (just kidding)

    Let me know when you figure it out. I think everyone's probably different, especially when it comes to complete vs incomplete injuries or spastic vs flaccid.

    Dahlia

    P.S. BTW, T, I finally got it.

  10. #10
    Dahlia,

    With absolutely no offense intended, you're crazy! 10 sets of 100? I wish I could do that !! hehe ... seriously though, have you considered the fact that you might be over doing it?

    I agree that exercise needs to be "work." When I was in the rehab hopsital, standing in the standing frame and rocking back and forth made me sweat rivers--to me this was exercise. Holding myself up for 15 sec in the parallel bars, that was exercise. Even practicing transfers were exercise.

    I don't measure it in terms of calories burnt, but maybe level of exertion. I'm 3 months post-injury and doing the physiotherapy 3-4 times a week, plus the home exercises daily. I "exercise" every day. Start off with some stretching and arm/leg movements. I can only walk about 500-600 ft (with assistance of two quad canes) and that takes me 30 mins and prolly two towels filled with perspiration. 5 sets of 25 reps free weights (arms).

    After being discharged from outpatient, I'm not sure how much exercise Ill have the opportunity to get, but I'm thinking roughly 30 mins of "walking" and 1 hour of weights/machines daily.

    How much do other people "exercise"?
    Daniel

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