After more than a month, I finally made it back to the swimming pool this morning!
When I got sick a little over a month ago, with a bout of laryngitis that lasted almost two weeks, I knew exactly how everything was going to play out. First, I was going to stop going to the swimming pool in order to nurse my cold. While doing so was absolutely necessary, this would be a double whammy; my rheumatoid arthritis activity would increase both because of 1. my viral infection and 2. my lack of exercise (which has proven to be oh so helpful during the past year.)
So as my rheumatoid arthritis worsened over the past few weeks, I wasn’t really surprised at all. Throw in cold and drizzly weather than lingered for weeks after the official end of winter, and it was just the perfect mix for increased pain. And as the inflammation increased in every joint, the muscles and tendons started in on the fun as well. As my shoulders were particularly affected, the pain and inflammation quickly spread into my neck and shoulders, leading to a complete contracture of all of my back muscles.
(Which, if there is anything more painful than having rheumatoid arthritis active in every joint, it would be having your all of your back muscles try to continually shrink into something the size of a softball, all while rheumatoid arthritis is active in every joint.)
But I’m happy to share that this cycle is finally coming to an end. I’m once again standing in the corner of the swimming pool for an hour each morning, doing gentle range of motion and stretching/flexibility exercises. All of my joints, and my back, are happy campers. And to make it even better, the warm spring weather has finally arrived!
A lot of people have asked me how I am able to swim without making my rheumatoid arthritis worse. The fact of the matter is that I don’t actually swim, in the traditional sense. (Although I do occasionally dog paddle a few laps.) Instead, I stand at the deep end of the pool, and do gentle water exercises at my own pace. These exercises focus on warm-up, flexibility, range of motion, aerobics, and strength training. While I’ve invented some of my own variations, many of the exercises that I perform in the pool can be found in the following book:
Water Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Effective Way to Reduce Pain and Inflammation While Increasing Flexibility and Mobility
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease affecting 2 million people. Symptoms differ from person to person but the most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are inflamed joints, pain, stiffness of the joints, and a feeling of the joints being on fire.
Water Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis explains how water exercise helps relieve the pains and restrictions caused by rheumatoid arthritis. The book will explain how exercises, in general, and water exercise, in particular, are excellent ways to maintain flexibility and mobility and reduce the pain and swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!