Working out the steps

Oh No. Not another one about dance?
This one’s about Multiple Sclerosis. Again.

Overall my health and physical ability have been steadily declining. The decline is because of inaction.

Disabled But Not Really

(sloth and laziness and for sitting and writing and planning and getting all up in my mental for far too long. Here, mentally, at least I am not disabled. My mind for the most part still works.)

Possibly due to a range contributing factors that include time management, MS, experiences of low mood and high frustration.

Noticing Selma Blair stand on the Black and White Carpet with a cane earlier this year, brought to mind the significant journey I have been invited to take part in.

(Unwillingly. At times kicking off. If I were to be 100% honest!)

There has been resistance. Lots of resistance. As the Borg in Star Trek have stated ‘Resistance is Futile!’ And so acceptance has been my next begrudgingly shrugging shoulders move.

Core Work
I would say I am limping into this one, with balance issues, drop foot, lowered centre of gravity, weakness in the back and legs, not to mention the burning pain in what feels like the spinal column near to the pelvis. It’s been an experience of ever diminishing returns.

The aim of writing this piece is to explain what I have done to check and correct the downward health spiral I have been forced to look at.

I contacted a personal trainer that I know and an osteopath. They both put me through my paces exploring my limits, stretching me beyond them and explaining what has been happening to my body. They have both then followed the assessment with the support to help me blow past the limits that my body was attempting to put on me.

Hand Written by Anna Snow, a comprehensive breakdown of what exercises to work on

An example of Anna’s outline.

The MS Treatment
As a 2nd rounder of Alemtuzumab/lemtrada treatment, I had thought that the physical elements of Multiple Sclerosis had been checked off and put behind me. After years of neglect, my body has come back screaming and yelled “Ahem, what about me? Uh uh, uh, that’s right if you don’t pay attention over here it’s gonna be pain!”

Both Daniel (Osteopath) and Anna (PT) in their own way stated that
we should be
(that’s you out there reading these words and me)
putting more importance and time to making our bodies work better. Just 10 -15 minutes a day. For pain free movement.

Daniel even suggested I do yoga. Yoga? I have been thinking about attending a local class for about 2 years. My thoughts are to help increase my body’s flexibility and overall brain body connection. I will let you know how this goes. If and when it goes and if there any of the desired gains made.

Flip It
So the point of all of this is to invite you to take a few moments to reflect on what ails you. Spend some time putting right what is going wrong or has the potential to and get moving to make what troubles you most – better.

As a Consultant, Coach, Counsellor, Supervisor, Writer there is help available for every situation that you would like to tackle so make that enquiry and ask for the help to get better.

Exercise Routine

Daniel the Osteopath further exercises and stretches.

So what did Anna and Daniel do? Anna helped me to identify the root problem – which are my core muscles in my back and stomach areas. She put together some exercises and routines that focus on improving my core strength. The aim here was to improve overall stability, flexibility and strength. As an MS client I found her approach enabling and supportive.

Simple tasks like crunches or lateral planks were broken down and carefully explained with what the benefits of getting into these positions are. As a Personal Trainer (PT) Anna also observed my gait, eating and other exercises I was doing to make sure the routine she had planned was not going to compromise me or add to my physical output load for the day/week. Which would be counterproductive.

Daniel was equally supportive and informative however as an Osteopath his approach was hands on and caused some pain. Okay, hands up who likes prodding a bruise or massaging a sore muscle? Well if you do, this is what I experienced. There were shouts and yells and then serene moments as the muscles bones and tendons were coaxed back from atrophy to life once more. There’s a glute stretch that was performed on me that did all of the above.

Daniel was patient and explained the 4 steps he was going to take to assist me working it out and back to health. The walking assessment and then the assessment of the tender parts of the spine with touch. The muscles that support to gain a sense of what is going on were also carefully reviewed. Not much pain here. Stages 0-1. This part was like a rudimentary vehicle check.

Stages 2-4 Pain and release and sore relief.
This is the part where my legs were stretched and pulled and massaged to ease fluidity of movement. Ham strings and quads were focused on as were my calf muscles. All of this to resolve pain in the back?

Daniel’s Outline
Yup. It’s hard to believe.

The back is the highway for everything you are. It connects the upper body to the lower body. My lower back is where I have been experiencing a lot of pain. Disabling pain. Pain that simply won’t leave. Ibuprofen lightly touches it but doesn’t nullify it. The help of Anna and Daniel have helped a lot!

In short don’t leave getting in to shape until the last moment. When all that can be looked forward to is the end of, the bike ride, swim, row, pilates, kickbox, gym session, walk, sail, kayak, surf, climb, garden, football, basketball, netball, volleyball, badminton session, horse ride, cross country run, tough mudder assault courses. Find enjoyment whilst doing them.

Set small achievable targets and No Matter What it! Do it, sign up for that event be it a park run with friends and attend no matter what, or surf event in SA. The point, your wonderful life is counting on it.

So do it.

When you do, share what you find!

Further thought/practice

Science of Success Hack Your Bio-Chemistry

Tim Ferris The Art of Getting Things Done

TED Talks NPR The Big 5

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