Living with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

The Unbearable Lightness of Exercise!

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to share a realization that made my life much more bearable... I realized that the harder I workout - I mean sweating out of every pore kind of exercise which I thought was impossible a month ago -, the less pain I feel!!! Quite ironic really... I might feel like I can't lift a finger, and I might feel like I can't even take a normal step because of my aching, burning SI, the thing that will make me feel better is moving more and more! A month ago I was crying with pain and exhaustion when I was doing some light stretches lying on my back... But I began pushing myself and doing my exercise no matter what.... And I pushed myself just a little harder every time I exercised... And for the past few days, I'm mostly feeling normal... I still have the SI and lower back pain, but much more easily managed... So I wanted to share my experience... and of course I'm not telling anyone to push themselves when they simply can't - I know I couldn't just a month ago. And there are instances where you could do more harm than good. I'm only saying that when you feel like you can - do it! And as much or as hard as you can. If it is just five minutes of gentle stretching, so be it... and when you are feeling stronger and less in pain, try pushing yourself a little harder, not too much, just a teeny tiny bit more than your comfort zone and a little more each time you exercise... I feel like I broke out of a vicious cycle but I had to push myself for a month until I did... Just hoping this is really the answer and not just a spontaneous remission that will go away soon...

I have also been pushing myself to exercise. I started with a personal trainer in November and it really helps me. A couple of weeks ago I was in the middle of my first flare and felt rough, but I made myself go workout with my trainer and felt better because I did. I mean I almost turned around three times on the 15 minute drive to the gym because I was so fatigued and in pain. I don’t do any jumping or high impact at all. I am trying to get my muscles strong to help with PsA as I age. I am 47 now, and know things will just get worse as I get older!

Well, LL, that is great! I'm wondering....can your physical therapist feel if your SI was out of alignment? Mine could, plus the MRI showed some PsA in one of my SI joints. But, if yours was/is slightly off, that can cause some of your pain and I'm sure the vigorous exercise could be maybe helping it correct itself. Wouldn't that be nice?

Zinnia, I'm 27 and I dare not imagine what things will be like when I get older :D I try to protect myself as well... there are some moves and poses that I'm cautious about... and tonight I learned that pushing yourself is all right but not when you feel like you're about to fall asleep right on the mat (and I'm really scared now of another flare because "I'm about to fall asleep" was all I could think about right before my biggest flares)... because I fell on my butt tonight and that's not a good thing since I have lower back and SI problems! Well, guess I wasn't as strong as I thought... then again, I managed to do the first 15 minutes of the exercise which took away the lower back pain... so there's that... :) but I feel like I'll throw up now.

Grandma J, since I also have scoliosis I wouldn't be surprised if my SI was out of alignment. I mean, everything in my body feels out of alignment :D And when I first began pushing myself to do harder exercises my sacrum and lower back would crack and pop and I would feel it actually realigning I guess, so I'd say it is a strong possibility :)

Ll, after two years of slow gains with the same personal trainer (once a week - week in, week out, no matter how bad I felt - I’ve even been a few times with a massive hangover) I still can’t believe the amount of difference a once a week session makes (the improvement over two years has been massive). I often have lots of niggly tendon inflammation - so I go hard at the weights (for me, anyway) and it’s useful to have 3-5 days recovery, because my recovery is so much slower than a “normal” person.

I still remember though, in the first year of my diagnosis “the gap” when I just couldn’t because my disease control was so poor. With completely rampant inflammation, it’s hard, but the trick, as wise people here have told me, is that as soon as you get any easing in the inflammation, ramp that exercise back up (it’s amazing how quick I lost muscle condition)

It sounds like you are doing a truly wonderful job of this and I’m very excited for you - I still felt very young at 36 when PsA hit me like a freight train - I can appreciate your age is very hard, and to be feeling young, vital (and sweaty!) again is great!

Thank you very much Jen,

Yes, when I'm pushing myself and sweating I feel young and strong again - as I should have been feeling! I'm realizing how truly important exercise is... And as it turns out my blood sugar dropped suddenly tonight so that's why I was feeling like I would fall asleep on my feet and I fell on my butt and was feeling like I would throw up... because then came the shaking and slurring speech and I was lucky that I had someone calm with me who gave me something to eat instantly! Still feeling a little sweaty and confused so sorry if I'm not making sense right now or blabbering or something... It's always something isn't it :D Anyway, I'll get back on the mat again tomorrow!