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A few blog posts back I wrote about why I’m having to join the gym to help with my neck pain. It seems to have been a long time coming, but after several months of what feels like wasted gym membership fees, numerous conversations about what I should and shouldn’t be doing, and having the confidence to keep going with it all, I’m finally starting my workout journey. I’ve decided to write about it in a new blog series.
I totally get that the reason it has taken so long is because my situation is quite complex, and everyone wants to make sure that I am doing the right workout so that I don’t do anymore damage.
I booked in with a fitness coach this last week to chat things through and see how my local gym can help me. The manager came to speak to us as well and gave some really good advice to the both of us. We came up with a very basic workout plan that is designed to help improve my muscle strength and also help keep my body in alignment.
Like I say, I’ve had mixed advice about whether I should be doing a workout or not, as my 5 years of abnormal sitting has caused quite a few complex problems (see my blog post I’m finally having some proper physio).
I’ve decided that anything is better than nothing, but the key thing is to make sure that whatever I am doing I am doing it correctly so I don’t cause anymore damage. Which is why I booked in with a fitness coach at my local gym, to ensure my technique for each exercise I do is correct.
- Squat (2kg weight) – 3 sets of 12 reps.
- Shoulder Raise (2kg weight) – 3 sets of 12 reps.
- Lunges (body weight) – 3 sets of 12 reps on each leg.
- Row (resistance band) – 3 sets of 12 reps.
- Around the World (2.5kg weight) – 3 sets of 12 reps.
- Around the Head (2.5kg weight) – 3 sets of 12 reps.
- Bird Dog – 3 sets of 6 reps on each leg.
- Yoga Roll (gym ball) – 3 sets of 12 reps reps.
I bet you’re thinking Bird Dog? I thought the exact same thing!
I am aiming to do 3 workouts a week. On the days where I can’t get to the gym, or if my pain is bad, then I can do all exercises, except the Yoga Ball, using my own equipment at home.
Progression and achievement
I am keen to see that over time these exercises will get easier, and I will build in more weight or reps. I also want to finish a workout session feeling like I have achieved something. These may only be small steps after each workout, but over time these small steps will hopefully help me improve my overall body strength and be a part of my maintenance to help limit my neck pain.
70,000 steps a week
I’m also aiming to do 70,000 steps a week. I wrote about this in My 2018 goals blog post, and it is proving a little more difficult than I first thought.
I’ve bought myself a new pedometer to help me, but some days I am really struggling to get anywhere near 10,000 a day. I’m not going to beat myself up, as some days my pain and fatigue take over, but I’m certainly more aware of what steps I am doing, and although I may not hit my targets, having some awareness of my movement is really encouraging me to move more when normally I wouldn’t bother.
My physio exercises
I’m having weekly physio to also help reduce my neck pain. It started off quite bad (read my post The day I cried at my needling appointment), and although it is still quite a brutal treatment I’m having (which they openly admit to), the current treatment is a little more bearable.
I’ve had a few cupping sessions on my back which clearly showed the tension through all the redness. At the moment my physio is working on my left thigh and hip. This sounds strange when the aim is to reduce my neck pain. Basically my hip is out of alignment because the muscle in my thigh is really tight. It is like this because of my abnormal sitting. If this is loosened then my hip will move back to its natural position. It involves some cupping and some elbow work and it is extremely painful. Still not as bad as the needling though so I’m trying to stay strong.
I have to do exercises at home, and for this I have to use a foam roller and a trigger point ball. With the foam roller, I have to use this on my thigh, slowly moving it into different positions and roll gently on it in the same spot for about 15 seconds. With the trigger point ball, I simply place it in a certain painful (tight) spot under my hip and keep still, again for about 15 seconds. In theory it will get harder to find the painful spot, as the pain reduces over time.
Some days I struggle to do 15 seconds for both these exercises, but anything will help, and I’ve been told the more I do this at home, the easier my physio treatment sessions will be.
I’m also using a stepper at home when I can. I thought I could use this when watching TV, or do a YouTube workout each week. I’m keen to do as much as I can (in a sensible way obviously) and to keep things varied so I don’t get bored. I also want to learn new skills and learning to use the stepper properly will hopefully improve my feet and leg co-ordination. And again, it’s about progression and achievement.
I will be writing regular posts about my workout journey and sharing how I’m getting on.
What exercises do you do for your chronic pain? Have you had advice about what you should and shouldn’t be doing? What do you think of my first workout plan?
I’d love to hear from you, feel free to get in touch or comment below.