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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 06-10-2006, 09:50 PM   #1
Nikki Young
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My grandma has really bad arthritis, amongst other things. She's had arthritis for years and years now and is on heaps of medication for it and medication for the medication.. She is wanting some exercises or something to do which may help with relieving pain and gaining some more movement. I suggested doing joint mobility stuff, but when i demonstrated some of the movements she said she used to do them when her arthritis wasn't has bad and it tended to make the pain worse in the areas worked, so it kinda put me off the idea of getting her to do some of that stuff.

Her ROM is pretty minimal, shes prety active throughout the day, cleaning the house, making food, looking after my little cousin.. so something light she could do that may help her out. Any ideas would be really appreciated.
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Old 06-10-2006, 10:01 PM   #2
Lisa Ray
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I've had a couple of pretty arthritic ladies who I trained in the past. Swimming and activity in the water was one of the best things for them. It lightens the load on their joints and allows them more freedom of movement without causing them further pain. It worked well for people suffering from fibromyalgia as well.
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Old 06-10-2006, 11:45 PM   #3
Mike Burgener
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nikki...the concept 2 rower does a good job as well.
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Old 06-11-2006, 06:33 AM   #4
Bryan Veis
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I've had osteoarthritis for about 20 years, so maybe I can help here. It is sort of a use-it-or-lose-it disease. It may be that some or all of her range of motion is irrevocably lost. You don't say which joints are affected, but I would guess knees and hips, since those seem to be the ones that really limit mobility. Only she is in a position to determine how much pain she is willing to endure at the limits of her ROM.

Different exercises and stretches can have very different effects. For example, I can do a lot of yoga and martial arts stretches, but the Samson stretch will cause lingering pain for days, making it hard to walk up stairs. But at the same time, I can still do full range of motion squats with no pain, even immediately after doing the Samson stretch.

If she seriously wants to experiment, there are various things you can try. There are no pain-free solutions in my experience, but by working through moderate pain, with a great deal of control, she might be able to increase her ROM somewhat.

First, you might ask whether she has ever taken glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM (methylsulfanylmethane). I highly recommend all three. I'm just an uncontrolled experiment of one, but they seem to work for me. These supplements are gaining more and more recognition from mainstream medicine. It takes time, but they really do slow down (and maybe start to reverse) cartilage degeneration. When I started taking them 20 years ago, my rheumatologist derided them. Several years ago when he re-X-rayed my hip, he was quite surprised to see that it looked exactly the same as it did 14 years before -- no further degeneration. He had long ago told me that hip replacement surgery was inevitable within a decade or less. He asked me what my secret was.

Mike is right; the C2 rower is a good solution if all she wants is a means of getting more exercise. It allows the user to select the range of motion as well as the amount of stress to be applied to the joints. It may slowly loosen up the joints a bit. There is a lot of help and encouragement available to people like your grandmother on the C2 website and forum.

You might also look at Pete Egoscue's book Pain Free. It has a large selection of gentle static stretches that may help - but they are time-consuming, as was discussed on another thread recently. Do you have yoga or tai chi classes available in your area? Those seem to be popular methods of maintaining or regaining mobility for some seniors. Both of them seem to help break the pattern of responding to pain by not exercising, leading to loss of strength, bone density, and balance -- all of which contribute to the high incidence of falls and broken hips among the elderly.

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Old 06-11-2006, 11:17 AM   #5
Richard Paul Ham-Williams
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I have no huge amount of experience with this, however, i would like to put forward a few ideas;

I figure the main goal should be to strengthen the joints muscular supports whilst at the same time imposing minimal stress upon the conjoing bones,right?

If this is the case, bear with me here, it should be obvious that you would need to work the involved muscles in a way that would make them much stronger but in a way that minimilised compressive forces.

How about trying isolation movements in a negative only fashion using specific resistance machines, this way the muscles are worked in the most efficent way possible for strength gains whilst reducing joint compression and thus joint damage/inflammation.

the knee for example, as great as squats are for able bodies and leg strength they maybe be contraindicate for a specialist condition such as this.

Maybe try eccentric only leg extensions and eccentric only leg curls throughout a full ROM (at a slow controlled non jerky speed) paying particular attention to fully extended and full contracted postions, ensuring joint stablising strength is maximised.

I know some of this goes against ascpects of Crossfit, however this person has a condition that requires specific attention?

if you do consider this and try it , i would appreciate hearing any results.

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Old 06-11-2006, 03:20 PM   #6
Nikki Young
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Thanks for the response. I understand there will more than likely be pain involved during the exercises she does. She isn't really looking for a workout, as much as she is after some exercises which will help relieve pain and free up joint movement. Like i said, shes pretty active throughout the day and is finding just doing the house hold chores exausting enough.

The exercises suggested are good.. yogo and tai chi sound look good options at the moment, and although the C2 would probably help, we don't have access to one and i have a feeling jumping straight into that would be too much at the moment.

Bryan, not sure if she has or is currently taking any of those medications, although im sure she is or has.. she's defintely taking something for it though and so i don't feel like letting her know about more medications because it would only be 'another drug to take'. I've recently started getting her to take Juice Plus+ and when i talked to her last week she said she's had the most energy she's had for a long long time, not sure if it's the help from the Juice Plus+ but she hasn't changed anything else in her diet/lifestyle. I'm hoping it's helping and have a feeling it is, because it's helping to strengthen her immune system and improve cellular health.

I might purchase some yogo or tai chi DVD's so she is able to do the exercises at home. A gym is not an option at this stage. Is there any DVD's anyone recomends trying to get a hand on?
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Old 06-12-2006, 07:39 AM   #7
Elliot Royce
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I had severe osteoarthritis in both hips and had them resurfaced about 7 months ago. Bryan is absolutely right in his advice. The "medication" he is recommending is taken by hundreds of thousands of people with no ill effects. It is more of a dietary supplement that helps support cartilage formation. There is nothing artificial in it.

I found that over 4 years the use of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM reduced my pain considerably and I, too, had no physical deterioration of the joint.

As for exercise, I think she should avoid anything that causes pain. You can't work through arthritis pain. Small discomfort, yes. Swimming is excellent and they offer classes for people with joint problems at the Y. Avoid impact activities -- it will only make matters worse.
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