According to the Arthritis Foundation, it’s proven that regular yoga practice can help reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility and function and lower stress and tension to promote better sleep.
So after 13 years of using yoga as alternative therapy for the physical and mental limitations brought on by my Rheumatoid Arthritis, I recently decided to take my practice to another level by attending a two day immersive yoga teacher training conference with YogaFit in Palm Springs, California.
My long term vision is to help those with chronic disease use yoga as an alternative therapy vs. popping pills to simply mask the pain. So if you know anyone in Southern California interested in learning more about the benefits of yoga for pain management, please contact me.
I was fortunate enough to meet some fellow RA warriors over the weekend. We shared stories of pain, suffering, laughter, courage, fear, hope, loneliness, depression, fitness goals, clean eating tips and most important of all, quality time spent with people who have so much in common with each other.
As the weekend progressed, I jotted down some notes that I’ve wanted to share with you, my dear readers. One of my favorite discussions was built around what we coined #ArthritisStreetCred. Below is a list of just a few things that gives individuals #ArthritisStreetCred.
People accuse you of being dramatic rather than sick because you look just fine to them. The truth is, rheumatoid arthritis is often an invisible disease so you may look fine on the outside, while you’re reeling from pain on the inside
Your pharmacist knows you by name. If you’re like me, you’ve switched medications umpteen million times, trying to find the right potion or dosage to help alleviate your RA symptoms. This requires frequent visits to the local pharmacist. I like to think of myself like Norm from Cheers when I walk into CVS. I apologize to those not born before the early 80’s, as this reference will make zero sense to you.
You go gluten free because it helps alleviate arthritis inflammation but people chastise you for hopping on the trendy diet bandwagon you since you don’t technically have celiac disease. Look people! I’m not going to throw up every time I eat a piece of bread, but I did take a food sensitivity test at my doctor’s office that confirmed my body is majorly adverse to baker’s yeast and flour. And when I eat those things, my body feels crappy. Take that jerks.
There are days you wake up and cannot get out of bed because the pain is too excruciating. There are nights you can’t sleep because you feel like you’re dying and even consider chopping off one of your own limbs to make the pain stop (well maybe that’s going a little overboard). I’m not a parent (yet), so can only imagine the heartbreak of not being able to lift or care for your baby without someone’s assistance. In my eyes, this is the epitome of #ArthritisStreetCred.
You walk with a cane or leg braces, wear wrist braces, knee braces, various ace bandages…. And you’re only 25. This is what I call #ArthritisStreetFashion.
Injecting needles into your own body or getting infusions is the norm for you. Every time I hear someone say they’re afraid to get a shot, I secretly snicker under my breath, especially when it’s a big, strong, man. If they only knew what it was like to administer their own shots on a regular basis.
I know there are tons more examples of what gives our community #ArthritisStreetCred. I’d love to hear some of yours!
Calling all Chicago folks affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis!
Innovations Consulting Group is holding a FREE series of workshops for patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis this Thursday, 6/14 at the InterContinental Chicago Hotel located on Michigan Avenue from 6PM-8PM.
Seeing as though I was somewhat of a runner prior to my Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) diagnoses, I started researching the topic immediately. What I’ve found suggests that if one were to start training slowly and gradually increase their distance and speed over an extended period of time, they could see more benefit than harm to their joints in the long run.
In fact, one of the studies discussed in the NPR article compared two different knee types. The first group of knees had arthritis and didn’t run while the second group had arthritis and continued to run. The second group that remained active had less joint damage than the group who avoided running all together.
Being the skeptic that I am, I began testing this theory last week. So far, I’ve done a few short jogs around the neighborhood. Right now, I’m at about 1-mile and am not experiencing after work-out pains. Let’s just hope that keeps up and that those nasty flare-ups stay away.