Exercise is good for you!
But this is the only kind of exercise I thought possible or desirable when I was first diagnosed...
Not very helpful!
But then, like so many people, I'd been told that pharma was the answer, that pain was pain and that the pain caused by my condition could be “killed” by pills. Sad, but true.
Even sadder is the fact that there are still so many people in that leaky boat. Because, about fifteen years ago, the SS Pharma set its course for one hell of an iceberg - neuroscience. Now, all those years later, not only do we understand pain better, we realise there's so much we - the patients - can do to actively manage how we feel. We understand that the drugs we've been taking can actually make things worse - not just in terms of harmful side-effects, but in actually making pain sensations worse.
And "exercise" (or movement, or becoming active) is one of those things that can help. And help enormously. Ironically, it was the first thing I stopped when my own condition (inflammatory arthritis) first reared its ugly head twenty-plus years ago. Because the disease all but stopped me in my tracks.
It took years for the treatment - which became increasingly aggressive - to begin to stabilise the condition. But it did. It even started to go into remission. I slowly became able to move without agonising pain. But did I? No way! I didn’t resume any of the things I’d had to stop because I was scared of ending up back at stage one… I wrapped myself in cotton wool. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Because not moving then became part of the problem. And the whole downward spiral of increased pain leading to even less movement would begin again. It didn't seem to matter how many times I was told by others that I really ought to try and be more active. It didn't matter how many simple exercises I was given.
Because I was never told the neuroscience! My body told me that it hurt to move, so I stopped moving. Until, one day, I read a book. And then, a few months later, attended a talk. And the author of the book and the speaker at the talk just happened to be one of the world's greatest - as well as most engaging - pain specialists.
It would be stupid of me to try and sum up what he said. For a start, it can be quite complicated. Second, it can be mind-blowing. But third and most importantly, he - Professor Lorimer Moseley - does it far, far better himself. Pain isn't the straightforward on/off alarm we used to think. It's much more complicated... and far more fascinating. Really, really, fascinating.
Just listen to the man himself...
You won't regret it!