Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Feeling the Pain and Modifying my Yoga Practice!
It’s Maureen, yoga teacher, nurse, friend, mom, wife, and above all human being. A human being with hips, hips that have lots of stuff going on. You can check out my previous posting to hear more about the science of it.
Today I am feeling really hopeful and it is easy to write about this. I have decided to stop taking the NSAIDs, anti-inflammatory medications on Monday. I had taken the NSAIDS from June 2nd till June 13th or about 10 days. The pain and inflammation definitely responded. There were some upset gastro intestinal tract issues that made it so I could really only take the medicine with food. I typically eat between 6 AM and 6 PM. I would take the medicine during this time and then have a long period without the medicine. What I began to notice is two different things.
- I was eating more because of the stomach upset and felt some of my concerns around overeating and gaining weight surface.
- I was noticing that as the pain medicine wore off, my hips felt worse than before I had started taking the medicine on June 2nd. I realized when I took the NSAIDs they made the pain go away and I did not hear the edge of where pain was as clearly, and I was being fairly active in my range of motion and amount of activity. When I am without the pain medicine, I can more clearly hear my body and respond to stay within the limits of my range of motion and activity level based on pain and fatigue.
As I began to do this, my ego really surfaced when I was to teach my yoga class this week. I love to do the practice as I call out the practice. I love to feel into my body and express what I am experiencing and que the participants to notice their own experience as they explore in their practice. This time I knew the self-compassionate thing to do was to honor my limits! The standing poses I was not going to take a full stride, the sitting poses, I would not externally rotate my hips any further than my body signaled was safe. I felt a sense of inadequacy in being the teacher and not being able to demonstrate the poses in as full an expression as I historically could. I had to really center into my own experience and give myself huge self-compassion to say this was hard, I am not alone at facing physical limitations in my body, and because this was hard, I needed to send as much kindness my way mentally and physically as I could. I had to be present to feel my pain edge and have a full intention to honor that. The “no pain no gain mantra” was not going to work here!
I reached out to several yoga friends, and was so thankful for their reassurance of my belonging to the tribe, to my circle of friends and family. This increased my sense of safety tremendously. I realize I need to do this periodically to support a healing mindset. I will take one practice at a time and work on solutions to care for my needs and support the practice of my yoga friends one class at a time, evolving the practice as my awareness ques me.
Being more willing to feel my pain edge, I had a memory surface. I recalled after giving birth to both of my boys, I had this same feeling, lots of hip instability and pain. I chalked it up to having given birth and thought it was normal from all the relaxin hormone that loosens the joints. This time as I recalled the pain memory, I realized that I had read that this kind of injury, femoral acetabular impingement with labral tear, can happen after the trauma of birth with an epidural and the lithotomy position. Just what I had! Yes I was scared about the pain of child birth and took an epidural both times. I won’t be having any more child birth experiences to try the other way, but what I realized is along with the numbing of my body from pain, came no ability to feel how to keep me and the baby safe during childbirth. Pain lets you feel from the inside! No one from the outside can replicate this information. Pain is not bad, it is information!
Why am I hopeful! Well I healed from both childbirth experiences, although I never had MRI scans to prove at that time I had labral tearing, my body tells me that did happen. Thankfully, my hips became stable again; I respected my limits by feeling my body and adapting my activity and how much I would lift. This happened relatively quickly, within 1-2 weeks. So I am 12-15 years older than when I gave birth to my sons, but I am hopeful I can heal the labral tear again with listening and respecting my body’s messages. I will also continue to nourish myself with the best possible nutrition and lots of water. You might be thinking I am too Polly-Anneish, I will assure you I am aware that this repeated damage in my hip joints makes me very aware that all of these risk factors add up to more risk for continuing arthritis and potential for hip replacements as my least favorite doctor informed me of. I love truth, which means accepting the difficult news and the good news, and using both to help me make the best choices for my life in this moment. Fear of hip replacements was paralyzing me physically and mentally and I know that was not living in the present! I am not paralyzed!
So today I will feel the pain and take this information moment by moment to act with discriminating wisdom.
May you be Happy and Free,
This Orthopedic Surgeon’s website has been a helpful resource for me.