A Useful Modality for Treating Muscle Pain
My husband asks me from time to time, what is it like, the muscle pain? And every time he asks, I try to use a new metaphor. Plain words never seem descriptive enough to explain what my widespread muscle pain feels like. So I have said stuff like —
“It’s as if my body is burning, just below the skin, all over.”
“I feel like a bunch of people are kicking and punching me.”
“Kind of like there is a hot roller cementing me.”
“A permanent shin splint.”
“Every step feels like I’m walking on broken glass.”
“My leg feels like wood with fire ants crawling all over it.”
“Charly horse! All over my body.”
And so on and so forth.
So what do we do with these types of debilitating, widespread muscle pain?
I do take medication such as Cymbalta and gabapentin, but they have limited effectiveness. I found painkillers really do not help me since it’s not localized pain, also, I would be taking it 24/7, which would not be good. So I do other things to help with my muscle pain. I take very hot showers every morning. I go for massages. I use heating pads.
And when I was no longer bed bound, I tried to do some physical therapy but it did not help my pain. But last fall, I tried restorative yoga and I found it helped relieve my pain immensely. I go once a week to my local studio, where I have learned a great deal from my favorite yogini there. I am able to use some of these poses at home during the rest of the week to ease the pain.
in restorative yoga, props are used to support the body which allows you to hold the pose longer, and help open the body through passive stretching. The props generally used are blocks, bolsters and blankets. These help eliminate straining when doing prolonged seated and laying positions (often 10-15 minutes for each pose). Even while supported, you will definitely feel the gentle stretch and that is what quiets the muscle pain. These classes are also very relaxing and meditative. After each session, I come out feeling completely restored in mind and body.
Long gone are days when I can do a downward dog or hold the plank position with ease. But I am glad I was able to find a way to continue practicing yoga that helps me physically and mentally. If you suffer from muscle pain, whether from lupus, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, or from other illnesses, I highly recommend looking into restorative yoga, either at your favorite yoga studio or at home.