PMR and exercise: What helps you?

Posted by jcaffrey47 @jcaffrey47, Jul 17, 2021

We are told that we have to stay active but what does that mean? This issue became very real for me when I attempted to swim the crawl stroke in the swimming pool. I was feeling pretty good at the time. The prednisone had kicked in and I swam the equivalent of two laps. The next day my shoulders were on fire and I was suffering a full flare; my first. Maybe everyone reading this will say that I was foolish to do any exercise that involve my shoulders and that I should limit my exercise to other parts of the body like walking or maybe biking. Let’s start a dialogue and find out what exercises work for all of us.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) group.

@jcaffrey47 – I agree, I think it's important to exercise when you have PMR. My PMR has been in remission now since 2018. The key thing I've learned from my two occurrences of PMR is that exercise is important and I feel better when I get 30 to 60 minutes a day of exercise in but I also have to make sure I don't overdo it. Even though my PMR is in remission, if I do too much exercise, my body lets me know the next day. I have Teeter FreeStep exercise bike that I try to use for 30 to 60 minutes a day along as part of my exercise routine.

The Arthritis-Health site has some good strategies for copying with PMR here: https://www.arthritis-health.com/blog/3-strategies-coping-polymyalgia-rheumatica-pmr

I used to like to walk but my lower back issues make it difficult to walk any distance which is why I use my exercise bike in place of a lot of walking. I also have a Teeter FitForm Home Gym that uses resistance cables for different muscle group exercises. I don't use it as much as the bike but probably need to have a similar daily routine with it also.

You are not foolish to involve your shoulders in an exercise but sometimes it takes an experience for one of life's learning moments. I think it's important to exercise all of your muscle groups.

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@johnbishop

@jcaffrey47 – I agree, I think it's important to exercise when you have PMR. My PMR has been in remission now since 2018. The key thing I've learned from my two occurrences of PMR is that exercise is important and I feel better when I get 30 to 60 minutes a day of exercise in but I also have to make sure I don't overdo it. Even though my PMR is in remission, if I do too much exercise, my body lets me know the next day. I have Teeter FreeStep exercise bike that I try to use for 30 to 60 minutes a day along as part of my exercise routine.

The Arthritis-Health site has some good strategies for copying with PMR here: https://www.arthritis-health.com/blog/3-strategies-coping-polymyalgia-rheumatica-pmr

I used to like to walk but my lower back issues make it difficult to walk any distance which is why I use my exercise bike in place of a lot of walking. I also have a Teeter FitForm Home Gym that uses resistance cables for different muscle group exercises. I don't use it as much as the bike but probably need to have a similar daily routine with it also.

You are not foolish to involve your shoulders in an exercise but sometimes it takes an experience for one of life's learning moments. I think it's important to exercise all of your muscle groups.

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Thanks for starting this group!
Before diagnosis and prednisone, with full onset PMR for months, I managed an hour walk everyday. It was slow because my legs were so stiff and walking did not eliminate stiffness (PMR restricts blood flow). After the walk, I was pretty exhausted. On days I couldn't walk, because of rain, I peddled while watching tv. PMR symptoms eased up after months but had incredible neck pain. Exercises from Physical Therapist, which had worked for me before, didn't help much. With a diagnosis of GCA, I was prescribed a high dosage of prednisone and neck pain miraculously disappeared. Prednisone thins the bones – so it's important to keep doing weight bearing exercises. Now diagnosed with osteoporosis, I've found the Pilates and other exercises I was doing that involve spinal flexion (the C curve, abdominal curls, the hundreds, cat, etc.) and side stretching (the swan) can stress the spine and cause silent compression fractures. There's so much to keep in mind, but we just have to find the right balance of intensity and the kinds of exercises that don't cause flare ups or worsen our conditions. Overhead exercises for shoulders may be a trigger, but maybe lateral exercises are okay. Work the abdominals without doing curls, which are pretty useless anyway. Be conscious of lifting techniques that don't put the spine at risk and get in the habit of using them. Resist the urge to do too much or power through when we know we've done enough, but better to keep moving than stop. Rest when tired. Our bodies have brought us this far. It's time to cut them a break.

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@tsc

Thanks for starting this group!
Before diagnosis and prednisone, with full onset PMR for months, I managed an hour walk everyday. It was slow because my legs were so stiff and walking did not eliminate stiffness (PMR restricts blood flow). After the walk, I was pretty exhausted. On days I couldn't walk, because of rain, I peddled while watching tv. PMR symptoms eased up after months but had incredible neck pain. Exercises from Physical Therapist, which had worked for me before, didn't help much. With a diagnosis of GCA, I was prescribed a high dosage of prednisone and neck pain miraculously disappeared. Prednisone thins the bones – so it's important to keep doing weight bearing exercises. Now diagnosed with osteoporosis, I've found the Pilates and other exercises I was doing that involve spinal flexion (the C curve, abdominal curls, the hundreds, cat, etc.) and side stretching (the swan) can stress the spine and cause silent compression fractures. There's so much to keep in mind, but we just have to find the right balance of intensity and the kinds of exercises that don't cause flare ups or worsen our conditions. Overhead exercises for shoulders may be a trigger, but maybe lateral exercises are okay. Work the abdominals without doing curls, which are pretty useless anyway. Be conscious of lifting techniques that don't put the spine at risk and get in the habit of using them. Resist the urge to do too much or power through when we know we've done enough, but better to keep moving than stop. Rest when tired. Our bodies have brought us this far. It's time to cut them a break.

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My PMR was diagnosed in January and since then I've tapered down from initial 40 mg Prednisone to just one mg. recently, but find myself waking with a vague all over stiff and painful feeling. I'll try going back to two mg. today. Since I first was diagnosed I walked every day, first just a bit then regularly 2-3 miles every day. Also YOGA every other day. Made a mistake and did 6 1/2 miles one day about two weeks ago and paid for it with a pulled muscle inside my left thigh. I had walked too fast and too far and left knee hurt like heck, couldn't walk on it all all at first. Now it's nearly healed and things are getting back to normal. I can walk almost normally now again. The important thing here is the YOGA !!! I've practiced and taught yoga for several years now and I'm convinced of it's benefits. Pay no attention to the pictures of 20 something sleek gals doing impossible things with their perfect bodies. Try yoga as a beginner … maybe just mastering calming breathing in the beginning … maybe in a chair if sitting on the floor is a problem. Learn both to stretch and to relax. Find a good local teacher, if that is impossible, go on YouTube, search "yoga with Adriene" and follow her lead … she is fantastic !!! Then try her practice for a specific thing, such as yoga for legs or yoga for back. But please try yoga … it's been so good for me both mentally and physically. After practicing about ten years, averaging four one hour practices a week, I now can do a headstand, and can do all the balance poses rather well. BTW, I'm 76 years old, pretty average, retired from retail business, and a Vietnam vet. Thanks for listening.

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Hi cgent, yoga has been so much a part of my life these last 10 years but suddenly I got PMR and last 4 months have been out of commission. Finally on prednisone and today for first time I’ll be heading back to gym for a class. Excited but scared but I also would repeat what you said to others about giving it a try. I never mastered the crow but my balancing was good 😊.

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I couldn't think of the name of the pose you just mentioned … crow, also sometimes called crane, is rather difficult. I can do it for about half a second 😉

Breathing is the most important beginning in yoga. Learn to sit, on the floor "criss cross applesauce" relaxed, or if that doesn't work for you, then sit in a simple church type folding chair with no arms. You might try "box breathing". Inhale gently, softly, count 1-2-3-4 … then simply hold for 1-2-3-4, then exhale 1-2-3-4, again hold 1-2-3-4 … repeat softly, slowly again and again till you feel a a sense of calmness come over you. GREAT !!! You've accomplished a nice beginning. And for you think you're so tough military types, I've been told that Navy Seals go through this when they're facing an intense mission. Have a great day 🙂

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Hi @cgent, Thank you for the private message. I hope you don't mind but I thought I would answer it in this discussion because you brought up a good point about men being resistant to trying yoga even though it could really be helpful. I've done chair yoga a few times that I picked up from a meeting I went to at the Minnesota Neuropathy Association before they disbanded. Mostly for me it's a matter of dividing my time into things I like to do or really enjoy doing.

There are several yoga discussions on Connect that don't have a lot of participants but that maybe due to the discussion title and/or the purpose of the discussion a member started. If yoga is one of your passions, there is nothing wrong with starting a new yoga discussion to help with a particular health condition or gender. Here are the discussions I found by typing yoga in the discussion search box on the Connect home page.

— Men's Health > Does Yoga Really Help in Sexual Wellness?: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/does-yoga-really-help-in-sexual-wellness/
— Joint Replacements > Started back to yoga and now knee is sore. Ugh: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/started-back-to-yoga-and-now-knee-is-sore-ugh/
— Heart & Blood Health > Safe yoga poses for heart patients: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/safe-yoga-poses-for-heart-patients/
— Digestive Health > Yoga or Tai Chi for IBS: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/yoga-or-tai-chi-for-ibs/

If you want to share your experience and knowledge about yoga, just pick a health group and start a new discussion. Since the title may be the first thing a search would find, you might want to have a narrow focus on what you want the discussion to cover like the discussions listed above.

Did you have particular men's health condition in mind for a new yoga discussion?

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John !!! Yoga and SEX ??? Oh my !!! Yes ;-). Don't know about the rest of you, but wife and I are both 76 and … 🙂
One reason I love yoga so much is that it can be a gentle meditation breathing exercise for one person but evolve into a physically demanding workout for another. If you think you're pretty fit, check out a book called simply "Yoga fitness for Men" and if you are nowhere near that then just begin with a few simple stretches. One of my favorite poses is called pigeon … several variations are all great.

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@cgent

John !!! Yoga and SEX ??? Oh my !!! Yes ;-). Don't know about the rest of you, but wife and I are both 76 and … 🙂
One reason I love yoga so much is that it can be a gentle meditation breathing exercise for one person but evolve into a physically demanding workout for another. If you think you're pretty fit, check out a book called simply "Yoga fitness for Men" and if you are nowhere near that then just begin with a few simple stretches. One of my favorite poses is called pigeon … several variations are all great.

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Somehow I knew you would like that discussion! 😁

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I've done yoga in the past as well, but I have a confession to make, I found it boring, at least the classes I attended here. Heresy, eh? Through the years, I used a pretty good Yoga DVD from Stott Pilates called Simple Stretches which I did often before PMR hit me bad, and I couldn't manage mat work. Overall I preferred the high number of exercises we did in Pilates classes and their quick pace. Now some of the yoga poses, similar to the Pilates, are contraindicated for those with osteoporosis. I loved pigeon as well, but it's one to avoid with osteoporosis. I have to research a good program of exercises to supplement walking everyday.

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Ok … Ok … several people have posted "like" to my comments … but where are YOUR responding comments ??? Are you too shy to mention yoga or (sex) ??? 😄😄😄
I'm looking for more comments on yoga … I'll be teaching practices on the 28th and 30th this month when Sara flies to Texas. 3:00 PM at the park 😁

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@cgent

Ok … Ok … several people have posted "like" to my comments … but where are YOUR responding comments ??? Are you too shy to mention yoga or (sex) ??? 😄😄😄
I'm looking for more comments on yoga … I'll be teaching practices on the 28th and 30th this month when Sara flies to Texas. 3:00 PM at the park 😁

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@cgent – Sometimes there is not much to say even when you like a person's post 🙃 (nope that's not my up the wall yoga thing). Someone mentioned yoga being boring. I'm not going that far because I know folks who really love it and it does help them. For me personally, I would rather be checking my eyelids for pinholes 😁 or listening to my beard grow.

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yeah sometimes I just sit and watch my hair grow.

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