Think back to your youth. Remember all those admonitions, “Stand up straight!” “Don’t slouch!” Well, they were not just to make you look more beautiful. They were very much health related. A straight spine balances your vertebrae. A slouch puts pressure on all the wrong places. Worse, a slouch is habit forming. It’s easier to slouch than stand, walk or sit up straight.
Fast forward to today and your older, more mature self. You have arthritis. It doesn’t really matter what your posture is; you are in pain now and you’re miserable. And, of course, when you were diagnosed, your doctor told you that there is no known cause for arthritis. And there’s no cure. So you take the pills prescribed because your doctor tells you that they will help the pain, stiffness and swelling of this awful disease. And they do! In the very short term only. The symptoms return. We need more, better, stronger drugs and they all come with horrible side effects.
One of our problems is that we expect creaky joints and stiff limbs as we get older. I mean, we’d all like to be Jack Lalanne but we lack his motivation and determination. So, what can we do? Other than pop another useless pill, that is.
There are a few very simple steps we can take. They don’t involve Baryshnikov moves or esoteric cooking or drinking weeds. Arthritis becomes a habit. We get used to slightly stooping to make movement easier and to ease the pain. That’s the habit we must break.
It takes 21 days to break a habit and make a substitution. So, you’re not going to see instant results, which is what you really want. But you will see results and you will feel lots better. Here are the steps:
- Stop thinking “Oh poor me and my arthritis”. Make small changes. Remember your childhood admonition. Straighten that back. We all know that when arthritis pain starts, you move a little better if you stoop slightly. Desist. It’s a false fix. It will help avoid this if you stretch. Before getting out of bed in the morning, make your toes reach the bottom of your bed. Make your hands touch the ceiling. Five stretches to start.
- When you get up, do five more stretches. You will get twinges. These particular twinges are good for you. Not pain, of course. If you feel pain, stop.
- Into the shower. Back to the showerhead. Let a strong spray play over your neck and shoulders. You think “Oh, I don’t like to get my hair wet in the shower”. Yes, you do. It’s good for you. If possible knead neck and shoulder muscles under the spray. You might not be able to do this at first, but it will come before the 21 days are up.
- As you creak your way around home or office, keep that back straight. Of course, it’s difficult at first. But it gets easier and it has great and long lasting results. And it ensures that you don’t wind up looking like a question mark.
- If you are near a pool, swim. Swimming is the best possible therapy for arthritis. It energizes all our muscle groups, limbs and spine. And it is soooo good for you. Your local county has a senior center and many of these centers have really good lap pools. And it’s FREE for us wrinklies. You go in with your ID, register and they give you a card that you swipe each time you use the pool. So use your local seniors pool.
When you’ve completed 21 days of breaking and substituting, add a few knee bends to your stretching routine. Just simple knee bends. This is not an Olympic try-out. It’s you taking back your mobility. When you feel yourself slipping and starting to slouch, think of every beautiful baby you’ve ever seen and how they sit up with a perfectly balanced straight little back. That’s what you’re aiming for!
About the Author
Patricia is the Irish lawyer who founded Dealon Bracelets, the world’s premier therapeutic bracelet. She is a noted speaker and writer on alternative health. You can reach her at her web site dealonbracelets or, if you have a question, just e mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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