T Minus Two and a Half Days…

July 27, 2015

…. to hiking. And then more hiking. And then more hiking.

If my gimpy hip cooperates.

Giving it my all, trying to beat this inflamed arthritic flare thing into submission. Hoping that after six months of rehab work–following that series of unfortunate semi-athletic maneuvers last January–I’ll actually be able to log some trail miles on these upcoming trips we’ve got planned. Or not. I hear Yosemite and Norway and Switzerland are nice this time of year, whether hiking or kicking back and letting others do the hiking.

Here are a few shots taken a couple days ago by Scott the Kaiser PT. He actually had a good reason for taking them which had nothing to do with my blog. It’s all about proper alignment when you’re training muscles back to health; the pictures were his idea so I could check my position later and make sure I was doing things right.

You know.

This is a sort of swivel thing I do against a wall, or lying on the floor, or standing awkwardly at a bar. Goal is to engage the joint without stressing it. Keep things moving. Joints like circulation and light use.


I was demonstrating the various re-strengthening exercises and stretches I do. My strategy has been to gently manipulate the hip every which-way. I had a good one, I thought, for adductors and abductors, but he preferred these. He says doing these this way stabilizes the hips and focuses more productively on the target muscles.  Fair enough.

For the adds:


For the abs:


Looks a little instrument-of-torture-ish doesn’t it?

All for the cause.

I’ve got a million more exercises I do; I spend an inordinate amount of time on this. But only have these three photos to share. If you wanna see my list, just ask.

The big, giant, overall objective here in the world of osteoarthritis is to eliminate, as best you can, the inflammation that results from the irritation caused by age-related bone degeneration (and spurs and other random bone bits). This arthritic condition is likely present in many people of a certain age (especially with a genetic predisposition). Even mild bone degeneration (like I have) can lead to a low and chronic level of inflammation. We can probably live okay with that. But if you traumatize this poor vulnerable joint through some kind of over use (who would do that?) it gets more inflamed. The more inflamed, the less able is blood to flow. Whatever micro tears resulted from your weekend athletic forays, cannot heal because the joint got too inflamed and blood can’t get in and out. Everything just bunches up and stiffens for lack of blood supply. Lack of mobility due to inflammation and lack of blood flow are just terrible conditions for our soft tissue.

And if you don’t respect the pain (even if it’s kind of minor), if you don’t ease up, soften up, open up and address it, it just gets worse; it flares to a horrible, tender, unhappy mess. Feels like your muscle’s coming right off the bone. Inactivity and immobility exacerbate the problem. Then there are infinite ways in which our bodies compensate for the pain and discomfort–like a compromised gait, or poor posture, for example–causing even more stress to the joint and all the related muscles, ligaments, tendons, bands and bones, and it becomes a ridiculous domino effect. It is SO HARD to unravel all the damage caused by these compensatory responses to the original trauma .. it’s just insane. And frustrating.

Moral of the story: deal immediately with little pains and inflammation. Take it easy. Let stuff heal. Get body work, drink lots of water. Open that sucker up and let the blood flow. Maybe take some ibuprofen.

At least this is what I think is going on and what the solution is. It’s been a long six months of wrong turns.

This is what I’ve been doing to slow this down and turn it around and get back to my usual (apparently), relatively minor level of handlable arthritis… these are the things that seem to be working:

Physical therapy, strengthening, stretching (this Scott fellow and Hideshi)

Deep tissue body work (the incomparable Kellie)

Rolling and writhing (foam rollers, roller sticks, lacrosse balls)

Heat and/or ice (would somebody decide which it is, please?)

Mega doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen and only for a few weeks at a time)

Rest (or at least significantly reduced activity)

I’ve done all this stuff, too, but the jury’s out on whether any of these work:

Cortisone shot (seemed good for a few days, then what happened?!)

Heat and/or ice (again… figure this out and let me know)

Chryotherapy (sublime, extraordinary, exhilarating… but really?)

TENS machine (a satisfying jolt of pulsing electricity, right to the point of pain and fatigue)

Kinesio tape (a la Hideshi)

High doses of Turmeric (in the pill form)

An anti-inflammatory diet (omega 3s, certain fruits and vegetables, but not others)

Anti-inflammatory creams (honestly, everyone’s got their favorite)

Gin and golden raisins (best of show in the crazy remedies category)

There are some things I haven’t tried (yet):

Acupuncture (curious, for sure)

Chiropractic (some like this)

Maybe more diet and supplement stuff (Adele?)

Glucosamine and chondroitin (Jim’s favorite)

Hip replacement (Kaiser’s recommendation)

What am I missing?

Sooooooo… leave in a couple days for high country hiking and climbing. Right. We’ll see. Then a few weeks of same in Norway and the Alps.

Wish us luck.

2 Responses to “T Minus Two and a Half Days…”

  1. blk4609 Says:

    I loved going to acupuncture at Davis Community Acupuncture Clinic http://www.davisacupuncture.com/
    2860 W Covell Blvd #2, Davis, CA 95616
    (530) 219-0761
    My pain doctor recommended I go there. I also loved physical therapy. also water exercises. So why am I not doing any of those things now? Almost immobile now and even fatter than before.

    • Kari Says:

      Thanks for the link and endorsement.

      It IS hard to get enough exercise when you’re immobile and hurting! Hang in there.

      Me, I’ve gained about 12 pounds in six months? Plus this happened right after the holidays… so I’m almost 20 up.

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