living with lupus, day by day, moment by moment

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.

My favorite yogini teaching me the lizard on the rock pose, and showing me how to relax

Feeling “restored” after learning to relax from my favorite yogini — here she’s teaching me the lizard on the rock pose.

9 thoughts on “Restorative Yoga

  1. pollopicu says:

    Yoga is the best. I remember when I was a hardcore yogi. I stopped completely only right around the holidays because of hectic work schedule, but I actually have a modest yet designated yoga room in my home. I need some essential oils to get back into the swing of things. My fav is kundalini, check it out, it might help a lot.


    1. Thanks, I’ll check it out!!! I haven’t gone beyond lavender.


  2. pollopicu says:

    Oh no, I’m sorry, Kundalini is a form of yoga that helps/ heals the internal parts of your body. Sorry I didn’t clarify.. but my favorite essential oil is Eucalyptus. So soothing.


    1. Ah! I just looked it up. Kundalini sounds really good. Will research more!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marilee says:

    Hi Linda! The pictures at the studio turned out great!!!

    Here’s a link to Kris Carr’s site w/ info about EFT, aka Tapping, a non-pharma pain relief method I didn’t see mentioned in your blog. It showed up in my in-box this morning along with the link to you. Serendipity? Possibly. It’s not a cure-all, but with no drugs and no practitioner required it might be a helpful addition to your wellness toolbox.

    See you in class soon, I hope.


    1. Hi Marilee,
      Thank you for checking out the post. I will be checking out the EFT to see if it can be another tool I can use. Thank you!!! I hope you had a great session today. My body was not cooperating but hoot to see you next week!! Enjoy the great weather. Xo


      1. Marilee says:

        Class was fantastic as always. Ingrid is genius at creating relaxation! I am so grateful that I found those classes!

        As I understand it, EFT works by interrupting the brain’s habitual patterns, allowing one’s experience to change. It’s often helpful for emotional trauma like PTSD, for example, but it can help with physical pain, too. Anyone with chronic illness or injury is so accustomed to pain that it can be their brain’s default state. The pathways through which pain signals travel have grown into multi-lane super-highways, so that the brain inappropriately interprets all sorts of input as pain. Obviously we do need to feel pain in order to protect ourselves, but it can get way out of proportion.

        I learned in my Feldenkrais training that it is possible to remap the brain. There are various ways to accomplish this, Feldenkrais Method being one. Restorative Yoga is another, using props to take over work your body usually does. Once your brain realizes that it doesn’t have to work to keep you in place you’re able to relax more fully. EFT uses a different tactic, but is doing something similar. It distracts the brain with unexpected physical sensation. In order to keep track of that sensation the brain must stop doing what it has been doing, in this case registering pain. When the pain pattern is disrupted the feeling of greater wellness is reinforced. The goal, of course, is for wellness to become habitual, but even a little relief can mean a lot. I hope this will turn out to be something you can use effectively!



      2. Thank you Marilee, I felt relief just from your description of the remapping process. I like the idea of letting the brain let me (pain) go!


      3. Marilee says:

        Certainly worth trying!!!


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