at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Bending the LAWs

I've been struggling with decreased mobility, stiffness and some pain with use in my LAWs (Little Arthritic Wrists) for some time now.  Even though they are not so inflamed and painful from rheumatoid disease as they once were, I'm suffering the results of the damage done.  At my last visit to the rheumatologist, my doctor suggesting that I try physical therapy to try to regain some functionality and range of motion in my wrists.  Even though there is already damage done, I want to get the most out of whatever my wrists have left to offer.  To be honest, I was a little bit skeptical about physical therapy because it felt like when I tried to bend my wrist the joint would simply get stuck, since there's not much room for my joints to move anymore.  Of course, that didn't keep me from being optimistic and telling my physical therapist that I wanted to be able to do a push up again!

I started physical therapy for my wrists last week, and have now been to four sessions.  I am actually pretty amazed at what we've been able to accomplish so far.  She measured how far my wrists could bend in all four directions on my first visit there.  Now, bear in mind that my first appointment was at 7:45am, so my joints hadn't had much of a chance to get moving and loosen up for the day.  However, looking at the measurements from that day versus just yesterday, there are already some big improvements -- particularly in my flexion and extension.  As an example, I think both wrists were originally in the 35-40 degree range for extension, and they've since increased to 55-60!  I've been doing stretches and exercises at home to get my joints moving, maximize the range of motion and gain strength in my wrist muscles.  When I'm at PT, my therapist will work on mobilizing each individual wrist joint.  I'll tell you what -- my wrists feel great right after she's done!  

Functionally, I'm not sure I've gained a lot yet, but my wrists do move more easily in all directions, with less pain.  The only thing I have to be careful of is not pushing myself too far.  My personality is such that I want to do the BEST that I can and see just how far I can bend my LAWs or just how much weight they can bear, etc.  But, pushing things too far will just trigger the inflammation to come back and reverse some of the progress that's been made.  So, I will do my best to keep up my range of motion and strength exercises without pushing myself to the point of pain.  I'm going down to one PT session per week now -- for who knows how many weeks.  I may not be able to do a real push-up when I'm done, but I feel pretty confident that I'll be able to do a wall push-up soon.  If I do, I'll send proof.  Wish me luck!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!