Author Topic: Any Yoga poses for someone who can't walk or use their legs very well?  (Read 126 times)

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Offline Petzbreeder

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My lower back has been incredibly stiff for several years now. So much so that it actually feels really painful these days. I asked my dad for advice, and he said that yoga poses might help. Due to my disability, I'm not able to walk at all or move my legs very well. Most poses that I've seen require the use of my legs.

When I'm out anywhere, I use my wheelchair. When I'm home or at a friend's house, I crawl around due to the limited space.

The position I'm in when I crawl is similar to the cat and cow pose shown here. Not only do I crawl in that position, I also sit in that position when I'm in my chair too. That pose (or most if not all on that page) aren't going to do me any favours.

I can't stretch my back enough to even do the upward facing dog pose there, even though that looks like one of the easier ones!

Any advice would be great. I don't know where to begin.

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first off sorry for the huge post and a lot to read. i am still learnding so definitely not a doctor/expert/qualified physio etc etc etc and can only mix what i know and do and have and have encountered and so on......so w that disclaimer out the way!

a) i dont know if you could use stretching advice from an MS society website, the uk one had too many people standing but the american (?) one has a couple of leaflets (apologies for link straight to PDFs) handout for active exercises (by yourself) and a handout for passive exercises (with a helper if you can get someone to help). ignore the "for people with MS" if you dont have MS obvs but its more about the actual stretches and instructions. this sort of gentle balance and mobilisation-ish type stuff aimed at reducing muscle spasms and pain and helping keep balance in neurological disturbance generally altho theres some active or passive leg/hip/back stuff in there. this is what i guess is Introduction stuff for if youre real new to stretches or if the yoga stuff takes your body by surprise/ramps up your symptoms some. 

b) this is a wild guess but you may need some form of upper leg exercises on the regimen somehow anyway (as gently as you can at first!) like in this video. the body is a bit crap at telling where pain generally is sometimes (referred pain) and it can sometimes come from stiff hip flexors etc instead of the back too. if you find it a bit hard to keep hold of the leg idk if you do the towel round the leg/foot it and hold both ends of the towel to pull it up thing? i'm sure you can get like silicone bands or something for that. anyway definitely things like hamstring stretches etc with using the hands for sure!!

c) absolutely also know your limits with the stretches! you'll get to a point with it where your body is like "ok thats my limit!" and if its too much, ease it off, occasionally with practice you'll feel that limit shift a bit and you can go a bit further into the stretch but never push it HARD like. i dont know if this makes sense and sounds dumb but as long as youre patient and let your muscles dictate how they want to loosen you can sometimes get it stretched proper out and feel ok after. like you'll ~feel~ the give in the muscles and then you can push further, you shouldnt force it. i dont know if this is worth its own point but i used to do myself so many mischiefs because i was a bit impatient and "no pain no gain" wioth it sometimes

d) as far as actual yoga poses (sorry i took so long to get here lol) as far as poses i tend to like for that area, i wish i had more of my hip/back faves to report!!! and apologies in advance if none of these work but i would say

- cobra!!!!: dont know if this one will be too tight but if your top strength is good then definitely this one just gos the legs can just do whatever
- childs pose????: might be a bit difficult to get the legs in place but im trying to think folded up downward dog principles (usually downard dog does the back but super difficult to hold! idk why. if you fold downward dog up onto the floor you kind of get childs pose which is a Recovery pose anyway) i tend to have my knees facing just a tad diagonally out so i feel a bit of a stretch in the inner thigh area but apologies if this one is too difficult
- twisted belly pose A??? (jathara Parivartanasana is the fancy name cos its hard to find the exact one): dont worry too much about having the knees and legs up in the air bit they say in the beginning, i never do! try to just gently settle into the final pose any way you can cos i find its more about reaaaaaaaaallly geeeeeeently opening the hips up with the twist.
- locust pose: dont worry about getting the lower half if you can't, my fat ass and meloncrushing thighs means i cant keep my legs together like they do in the picture anyway so they kind of splay outwards. its more about trying to use your trunk strenth to raise your body instead of your arms like in cobra pose.
 
im not sure of the super super finer details of the mobility so soz if ive overestimated but idk if theres any local mobility aware yoga groups or disability places with yoga/tai chi/pilates group stuff too?


e) also, if you can somehow find some small weights, DEFINITELY consider bent over rows (best video i could find for chair ones, obvs be careful to take the precautions not to fall out!) but mild weights i find is REALLY good for getting some of the stiffness out of the muscles sometimes. i suggest Bent Over Rows specifically cos theyre a good lower back targeting exercise and if you dont have any weights to hand then water bottles or any heavy objects do as starters. if you do both arms at once thats the bent over row and if you do one arm they sometimes call it a "lawnmower" (lawnmower cord pulling, you know).

those tough 50p shopping bags full with water bottles are good for when you graduate from 1 water bottle (i will only buy Proper Weights when i graduate from water bottles imo) but you can general trawl youtube for some good mild wheelchair weights exercises for the lower back cos depending on how the gentle stretch ---> yoga ---> ???? fares for you then resistance training of some kind will also help imo cos after the recovery phase idk about anyone else but it just oils the joints up real good!!!

f) obvs also not my business but this is just me doing my thing of best practice obligation and wildly estimates your local councils abilities i guess, do you have any adaptions and equipment people/District Nurse people who visit for anyhing you could also mention this to???? theyre also a good first port of call for literally this sort of thing and i only ask cos theres a possibility they can actually refer you to ppl like the physio or orthotics or PTs etc who there MAY be a posibillity can arrange some equipment to use. GPs are always too tired and stressed and just want to give you painkillers always so try to go via district nurses/health visitors etc instead if your gp is being a bit difficult.

if youve gone thru this already and its not avaliable then disregard but there is definitely a surprising range of people to be referred to for this sort of thing. i mean none of this happens very fast of course! itll take aa few months and itll be happening even slower cos of covid but its something to at least get the ball rolling on and possibly free equipment


anyway yeh!!!!!! hth!!!!!!!!! good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!
           

Offline Petzbreeder

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I'll definitely give those a try. I've been doing a few recently, and I'm already noticing some improvement in my back.