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Exercising with Autoimmune Issues

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Old 03-03-2006, 08:34 AM   #1
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Default Exercising with Autoimmune Issues

Hi everybody, I see a lot of threads on here about fibromyalgia and arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. I'd like to start this thread to solicit ideas about how you deal with exercise when your joints and bones are painful. When you have a flare-up, do you adapt your regular exercise routine in some way? Have you received help from a trainer or a physical therapist or a doctor to design an exercise program especially for you? Are you finding that exercise helps you or hurts you?

I have a type of arthritis that primarily affects my fingers and toes, wrists and ankles. I can't do any exercise that requires me to put my body weight on my wrists or toes. When I have a major flare-up, I have to decrease the miles that I walk and the general intensity of my exercise. Sometimes it takes me 3 or 4 days to recover. I'm debating about trying to find a trainer who understands arthritis or trying to get my doctor to prescribe PT.
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Old 03-03-2006, 09:08 AM   #2
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hi dinah i have arthritis in my knees and hips, so i know what you are going through.have you tried taking tylonol arthritis before you
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:24 PM   #3
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Hi Hefty! I don't really lift much. I walk, do the machines at the Y, do some light weights at home, and do exercise dvds. I do like Tylenol Arthritis though...I'm allowed to use it to supplement my other meds. I use the store brand...much cheaper.
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Old 03-03-2006, 12:31 PM   #4
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I have fibromyalgia and am pretty much always in pain. My approach over the 28 years that I've had this is that I'm going to be in pain whether or not I exercise, probably less if I do. So I just do it.

When I work with clients with arthritis, we modify many exercises to accommodate specific problems, but most find that working through flares helps rather than increases the severity of the pain or the length of the flare.

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Old 03-03-2006, 05:07 PM   #5
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Thanks, Mel. I'm hoping to find someone to work with me to do just that. I've had this since I was 25 (I'm 56 now), but I only started exercising in the past year since I quit smoking. It gets frustrating to be so enthused about my new lifestyle and then have these days of hardly being able to lift the coffee pot, much less my weights. My rheumatologist says "Rest when you have flare-ups", but I'm just not a resting kind of person. Thanks again.
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Old 03-05-2006, 08:20 PM   #6
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I have fibro, have had it for a couple years now. I spent 8 or 9 months in Physical Therapy.

I like to work through the flares. I find that strength training to strengthing my weak areas or trigger points really helps me. My shoulders are bad areas- I tend to get pain in them, muscles spasms, etc. So we started strength training on those. It helped me a lot. I find that when I am having swelling and so forth (like in my knee due to an injury from the fall) it helps to do more stretching and less impact type stuff.

When I do experience pain during a workout I like to take a minute to lie on the floor on the mat and rest now and then. I also do a couple of crunches while I am down there. After a few minutes I get back up and go on with the workout. After a few days I find I feel better, so the workout stays. Small pains help make big ones go away.

I have heard a lot of good stuff about hydrotherapy, and I am thinking of looking into that.

When my heart rate or pulse is up, as it gets when I have an infection, then I rest. That is my signal to not go too far. I think you need to learn limitations too. I also have Baclofen if muscle spasms start to get too annoying.
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Old 03-06-2006, 07:50 PM   #7
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Good info, Kyethra -- thanks. I saw my doc today about a BAD flareup in my wrist. He put me on prednisone for six days, which I don't like but it will ease the inflammation quickly. Then I have to go see a surgeon. I also talked to him about physical therapy to design a program for me and he was all for it. Thanks for all your help!
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Old 03-11-2006, 08:16 PM   #8
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I work for a group of Rheumatologist and they prescribe and advise patients to do water aerobics, or even walking in water.
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Old 03-11-2006, 09:04 PM   #9
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On another site, I saw a post about designing an Alternate Exercise Plan for those days when you know you're not up to your normal routine. If you can only do 10 minutes, that's what you do. You mark walking or running routes that are shorter or flatter. You know which dvds are less impact or easier. That way you have a plan all ready to go and you can know that you did something and didn't just sit around feeling sorry for yourself.
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Old 03-23-2006, 12:55 PM   #10
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I have auto-immune hepatitis and am waiting for a liver transplant. At times the pain over my right shoulder and right flank is unbearable. On these days I take a muscle relaxant or pain pill and try to walk slower on treadmill. I have found that the exercise does not increase the pain, or necessarily relieve it . It makes me feel better just knowing that I still did what I could do. Sometimes the flare-ups last for 2 weeks at a time. I am on prednisone everday and this tends to make it harder to lose weight. I have lost 73 lbs. so far with only 16lbs. to go.
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Old 03-26-2006, 02:50 PM   #11
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Lilybelle, what a great weight loss even with all your issues. You should be proud!
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Old 03-27-2006, 07:15 PM   #12
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I have severe arthritis, fibro and the pain is just unbearable at times. I go to the gym and take a water aerboics class 3 times a week that is taught by the arthritis foundation. It is great and the instructors are taught to help you with your form and keep you from hurting yourself but helping you do as much as you can. After I am warmed up from this hour of exercise, I hit the track and put in 45 mins of a brisk walk. On days I don't have my class, I walk briskly for an hour. This does not hurt my body and seems to help keep me more flexible. When the pain is real severe, i take oxycotin before I start the exercise.
At hoime, I do belly dancing and pilates with DVDs. I have had these disorders for many years and, at the age of 54, I find I need to move or my joints freeze up even worse than if I don't keep moving.
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Old 04-02-2006, 07:59 PM   #13
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Fluffy, thanks for your response. I've had this for many years, also...since I was in my 20s and now I'm in my 50s. I was thinking the other day that I've probably not had a day without pain since then. But I started exercising about a year and a half ago and I'm finding that not only do I get stiffer if I don't, but also I get depressed and feel sorry for myself if I don't. I've started taking Tylenol arthritis super-duper strength during the day, and that really helps me with my exercise. The Mobic that I take at night doesn't do too much except work on the inflammation, I guess. I'm also on Areva and Methotrexate.

They don't have that arthritis foundation program in my town. But there is a physical therapy gym that my doctor might refer me to.
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