Monday, February 16, 2009

Home Exercise Program

Today I finally got a customized home exercise program from one of the physical therapists that I've worked with in the past couple months. I was getting frustrated with physical therapy. I've been doing it off and on for over 6 years and nothing has been very benificial. The last couple months I was supposed to go three times a week. At appointments, they'd do some massage, TENS, and apply heating pads. I can do most of that at home, except for the TENS. I wanted to know what I need to be doing activity wise to maintain better physical health. For regular people, 30 minutes of aerobic activity is suggested each day. For someone who has Fibromyalgia, I was told to do 15-20 minutes of low-impact aerobic activity every other day. I was told to never exercise on consecutive days, to only exercise every other day. The physical therapist told me that stationary bikes can be better for fibromyalgics than treadmilss b/c the bikes take some pressure off the spine. We have a recumbent bike, which has an actual seat like a chair, which is even more supportive. Then, he looked at where I most commonly have pain, in my neck and back, and showed me stretches that would be most beneficial for me. He also suggested getting a swedish exercise ball. I do have one, but it's not big enough. The physical therapist suggested one that is 65 cm around. You want to be able to sit on it and have your legs comfortably at a 90 degree angle. He said that most of their patients who have a home exercise program have swedish exercise balls. They're good for stretching out and for sitting on. The PT suggested that I use the swedish ball mostly for relaxation while watching tv. I can use it to stretch my back out, take pressure off my spine, roll around on (slowly and with control), and strengthen my core with. Strengthening my core will help take pressure off of my back muscles. All in all, I was very happy with my appointment today and found out the answers to my questions. When you have fibromyalgia, you'll have spurts of day when you're feeling like you can work out each day, and then weeks when you don't feel like you can do much of anything. The key is balance. Even on days when I'm not feeling well, if it's scheduled as a day when I need to do some aerobic and stretching activities, then I can sit my butt on the bike and slowly pedal for 15 minutes, to help maintain my muslces. This is very important and I look forward to seeing what kinds of benefits that this will have for me.

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