Arthritis has got my back

I love you guys. I really do. I keep saying I’m going to get better at writing more consistently and then I don’t. You keep showing up, though. I look at my numbers after being gone for so long and you’re still checking in, reading old posts and liking stuff I wrote. Thank you.

I’m going to say it again. I’m going to try to write more consistently. To be fair and cut myself a little slack, I always have the best intentions and I always have the best reasons for not writing more. This time there’s another new normal.

backA few months ago the grinding in my back was diagnosed as arthritis. Some of you may remember that I hurt my tailbone back in 2010 or so. It was when we were doing a lot of lying on our backs with our knees pulled into our chest in class. I was teaching at Be Moved and for the school district in Lawrence. We rolled our knees around in a circle giving our sacrums a little massage, then we’d switch directions. It helped my low back and tailbone pain and became a regular part of my teaching. I teach that in absolutely every class. While my tailbone eventually healed, the grinding that I used to hear in my pelvis never quite went away.

Last year I started having intense sciatic pain. Intense. Deep in my hip and throughout the femur. It felt like my bones were bruised. Sometimes I couldn’t find relief no matter what I did. Standing hurt, sitting hurt, laying flat hurt less. I was nauseated from the pain and scared. I couldn’t walk far and when I’m home in Salem I only walk, cause it’s a very walkable city.

Now, sciatic pain is one of the easiest things to heal with yoga. If I can’t help you feel better pretty fast, or if I put you in a position that makes you sciatic pain worse, it means there’s something wrong with your disc and you need to see your doctor, who will probably order an MRI. I’ve only had it happen once.

So I kept doing what I know to do and the pain wasn’t getting better. i got scared. I finally found a little relief in massage and reflexology twice a week. That’s not something that’s financially sustainable for me. The pain was ruling my life.

Finally, in my doctor’s office for another reason, it all clicked for me. I asked her to feel my back. I lay down and she slid her hand under me. I lifted my knee into my chest and the grinding did its thing. She nodded immediately. “That’s arthritis.” S

Now, I’ve had this grinding for almost six years without pain. The grinding is definitely more consistent these days. So I told her what i thought it was-Inflammation from the arthritis pushing something into my sciatic nerve somewhere other than the hip. It’s most common deep in the hip, which is why most of us feel the pain across the low back and often shooting from the hip down to the ankle. She nodded. So, I just need to control the inflammation? She nodded again. We talked about drugs and next steps and I decided that with this new information I would do what I know to do and avoid the drugs for as long as possible, hopefully until I’m way older.

Last week I flew from home to home, from Lawrence, KS to Salem, MA. It’s not a long flight, but enough that two days later I was in severe pain again. I got a massage. I stretched, not because it really helps, but because that’s often what I do when I need comfort. I go to the mat and when nothing else seems okay in my life, I just lie there. Sometimes lying there I’m inspired to move a bit and most often it’s into a stretch.

This week I returned to the Y. I was thinking I’d use the therapy pool and maybe explore the idea of swimming because everyone knows that’s good for your joints and great for your back. I wasn’t quite there, though, so I got on the treadmill and lifted some weights and practiced a few yoga poses. The next morning I woke pain free. Everyday since I’ve worked out and I’ve been fairly pain free.

So, I’m eating foods that help with inflammation, avoiding things that feed the inflammation. I’m adjusting to this weird thing called arthritis (and aging) and figuring out the new normal. I’ll write more, I promise.

Oh, and I lost four pounds this week!


Work with me, online or in person. I’m in Salem, MA until the first week of May and then I’ll be in the KC area. Online appointments available absolutely whenever they fit your schedule. I specialize in yoga for anxiety, depression and now, arthritis. Private sessions are on sale right now! $35 for 50 minutes online., Looking forward to hearing from you!


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