Today I had my first one to one session with a local Yoga teacher. I had been inspired to give this a go after hearing a number of other Dystonia sufferers saying they managed to do it and enjoyed it. The teacher was lovely, she believed in completely looking at my body as a whole and worked out what I could do, not what I couldn’t! This to me was important as it took away the feeling of being disabled. For me interestingly enough I found that my hypermobility was my main issue more than my Dystonia during the session, as I had to work on controlling my flexibility so that I did not over flex the pose.
Research has shown that the benefits of yoga for movement disorders include improved strength, flexibility, balance etc. This is something that I am working towards (minus the flexibility) as due to my muscle spasms I am aware that the strength in places like my legs will not be as good as they were before I was ill. I never had a sense of balance, so if I can gain that then I’m not going to complain!
I found the whole experience to be actually quite relaxing. The fact that my Dystonia only played up a handful of times meant that I could really enjoy the session and appreciate what I was doing. My teacher was surprised at how much she could get me to do, this pleased me as I felt like I was achieving something. She explained as we went along what each pose would help with and what muscle it would stretch. By the end of the session we had a whole routine put together that I will do for half an hour every morning. I am hoping that by doing regular Yoga my muscles will get used to being stretched often, that way when it next does one of its extremes spasms – like the one that damaged my knee ligament – I won’t do as much damage to my body and I won’t be in as much pain. As much as I hope I never have to deal with that sort of extreme spasm again I know there is a good chance I will have to. I am extremely interested to see if this will help.
I am not the type of person who likes to sit around all day doing nothing, I like to challenge and push myself. Sometimes I do not recognise my limits and I push myself to far but I would rather try than give up. Yesterday I had a session with my personal trainer. Despite feeling ill and having awful spasm for several days I decided to go ahead with the session as I felt slightly better. I am so glad I went ahead with the session as it was incredible.
At the start of the session I was a bit worried as we were going to try to do boxing. I was concerned that my arms would act up and that I would have a lot of spasms, however I will never let my Dystonia stop me from at least trying to do something, because if you never try then you will never know what you are capable of. It was the most fantastic session as my hands did not spasm once! I had a teeny tiny arm spasm that wore off very quickly, but I don’t really count that.
I still feel like I am still on high from the session, it was extremely therapeutic as well as a good work out. I am completely astounded at how well my limbs behaved, it has filled me with joy as it was a fantastic achievement. My arms were not to great later in the day but I did not care as I felt like I was sitting on top of the world.
As an able-bodied person I never tried boxing, I brushed away from the idea of it, declaring that my lack of coördination and my ‘girlie’ attempts would be embarrassing. So I am actually rather thankful that because of my Dystonia alien I got to try boxing out. It was an amazing experience, and I don’t think my punches were ‘girlie’ at all. Over the last few sessions I have realised that I am stronger than I thought.
I feel extremely lucky to have found a personal trainer who is not scared of my condition and who comes up with inventive ways to get me working out e.g using a crutch with him putting resistance through it to do a chest press. Without his fantastic help I am sure that my spasms and my body would me in a far worse state than what they are at the moment. His work outs keep my body moving, which helps give me that extra bit of mobility. His help has given me such confidence in myself and my ability to deal with my spasms. I never thought I would enjoy working out, unless it was on a horse, and now I love it. I love my daily work outs and I am always looking forward to my weekly session.
I know each Dystonia patient is different but I would defiantly recommend looking into a personal trainer to see if they can help you. You may or may not benefit from it, but if you never try you will never know.
This video will show you how I use a TENS machine to counteract the spasms. By placing the pads on my arm and putting the TENS machine on full power it causes the relaxed muscles to contract, which in turn forces the spasming muscles to relax.
The signals the TENS machine sends, forces the muscles to pull my hand upwards (you can this several times) and forces the hand to relax.
Please ask if you have any questions.