Sunday, March 4, 2012


Week four of the Pain Management Program of the Health Region's Chronic Pain Clinic has come and gone. And Bear is a bit more mobile. And in quite a bit less pain. At least in some places.

This week, we are not at the clinic. We are at home. Putting our new skills into practice. Getting through the "everyday" of life, finding out what hurts. It is a week for being very observant of our behaviour.

The most important thing I have learned thus far is how I can get a great workout without having to go to the gym. Now, if you want to go to a gym, and be trendy (and all that good stuff), that's a good thing. But I've found that I can stay home and get a good workout.

That's one of the things on which the staff at the Clinic focuses intentionally. I could go to the gym and walk on the treadmill, or I could walk on one of the treadmills in our apartment building. Or I could walk the hallways in the apartment building. Or I could walk four blocks to the grocery store, and four blocks back home. It's all in the distance you cover when you're walking.

Then, to build up my heart strength (through cardio exercise), I could walk on a stair climber at the gym. Or I can walk up the stairs in the apartment building. Or, I could combine the cardio and strength by walking up a set of stairs, the along the hallway, then up another set of stairs, and along another hallway, then . . . well, you get the idea. It's all in your imagination, this business of how you want to get fit and stay fit. It's just simple — part of your daily life without need for special equipment or extra money. Your workout is a by-product of your daily activities.

And then, what about some weight lifting? Well, there are the weights in the laundry/exercise area of our building. Don't want to do weights downstairs? Fine. Lift cans of soup for your exercise. In the privacy of your own house or apartment. No, I'm not kidding. You can do things like biceps curls or military presses with a can of soup in your hand as well as anything. The total weight is not the important thing; the number of repetitions you do is the key item. But don't try too many too soon.

And what about warm-up and cool-down exercises? Worried about doing them and not having time for your exercise program? Hey, they are part of the exercise program. Bear gets up, has breakfast, has a shower and gets dressed in the morning. (Or, I could feed the cubs — if we had cubs — and get them off to school, and then have my breakfast and get dressed.) Then while my muscles are still nice and warm from the shower (or bath), I gently stretch those muscles and joints, and get them ready for the day.

One of the more useful developments so far in the program has been the goal setting process. The staff actually spend quite a bit of time on goal setting — real, practical, measurable goals, and how you build up to getting them done. I thought I was setting realistic goals. But, no, I was wrong. I was setting goals that turned out to be way too easy. But that's OK — early success is great. So now, I'll start goal three — working on the stationary bike in our apartment, to get ready for hitting the streets whenever the snow is gone. And do my cardio and strength training while I'm biking around the town.

Wow! I have found yet another way to terrorize the neighbourhood!

As I mentioned, this week is our "break week." No sessions at the Clinic. This is the week we try to put it all together at home. (Next week we go back to the Clinic, with all the questions we have about what happened during our home work.) I've set some additional goals for myself, and I'm waiting to see what happens!

One other really crucial thing. You're heard the saying, "No pain; no gain." Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's both silly and dangerous! You don't want pain. You want to exercise until you feel some tension in muscles. More action than that, and you're causing damage. It's that damage I'm trying to undo, through the training at the pain clinic. And, of course as I stretch those muscles, they start to get back into shape, and I'll be able to stretch them more. Meaning I won't feel the tension until I've gone past the spot where you felt the tension before. Now, is that easy, or what?

A major story is breaking in Canada about electoral fraud during the last Federal Election. There are complaints from as many as 31,000 (yes, 31 thousand) people in 50 of Canada's 303 electoral districts. It could get very ugly. We might have to do things all over in a large number of places, two or three years after the fact. It certainly Bears Noting — which is why I posted it over there on my other blog. Read it if you dare!


Rob-bear said...

® Better is Possible: Thanks, Carol. I'm going to keep working on things. Not a good day today, but I was sitting in a frustrating meeting from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. — not smart. Fortunately, I know some exercises that help. I'm also trying some goal-setting around how much I want to put my body through by going to meetings, etc.

Have fun at the gym. And in the rest of what's happening (though it doesn't sound like a lot of fun).

Rubye Jack said...

Wow Bear, this is great news and actually an inspiration for me to start using some of the tips you list here. Who needs a gym anyway!

Rob-bear said...

® Rubye Jack: Right. Who needs a gym?

Tell what you're doing when you're doing it. I love to hear success stories. Not that you have to do a lot. Just that you're doing something.

Blessings and Bear hugs.

The Blog Fodder said...

Sounds like you are coming along quite nicely, Rob. Keep on Keeping on.

Jean said...

This all sounds like a mix of hard work and fun. But if it's getting results, it's worth it.
There are lots of things you can do at home to "exercise", the trouble is, getting motivated and remembering to do them. You sound very positive about it all.

ReformingGeek said...

I'm proud of Bear! Having movement and exercise as part of your daily activities certainly sets up success down the road.

Keep up the good work and have a good bear stretch for me this morning!

ain't for city gals said...

This whole program is amazing Rob! If only doctors would take this approach instead of just prescribing more pills for an easy fix...I often thought this would be a small fix for the health care problem in the US...those that tried through exercise and diet to stay healthy got rewarded through lower premiums. Instead we pay for those that don't...keep up the good work!

Rob-bear said...

® Blog Fodder: We're making good progress here. Thanks.

Maybe hurt times come again no more. Won't quite be true, but hurt less is possible.

® Jean: Lots of things one can do — even vacuuming (hoovering) or washing dishes. If you know a way that won't hurt you while you're doing it. Yes, I know how to clean up, safely (in terms of my body).

There are lots of things that can be fun, if you can do them without hurting.

® Reforming Geek: Thanks. I have learned how to be a mover (and a shaker, but that's another story).

Bear stretch instead of Bear hugs? Well, if you insist. (I always think hugs are more fun!)

® ain't for city girls: Thanks. This is actually what I was working on when I was writing my Master's thesis — the multi-disciplinary approach to pain management.

And in your US insurance, they should have higher premium levels for those with problems like obesity and smoking.

Rosaria Williams said...

Oh Bear, you sound so much more positive! It must be your new resolve to manage pain, get on with your life with the flexibility and strength you can muster. Great hints for the rest of us.

Rob-bear said...

® rosaria: Thanks. The "trick" to doing this is to know where to find the resources. And then how to make use of those resources.

I have a plan around that. (Yes, I have a plan around a lot of things; it's just that this is coming as a high priority item.) Stay tuned.

Just Two Chicks said...

It sounds exhausting... but like it has been very good for you :)

I love that you'll be riding a bike around town!! I miss bike riding...

That's terrible about what's happening in Canada as far as politics... I'm staying away from politics for now. It's way too frustrating.

Frances said...

Bear, I am very glad that you are already feeling good results from the Clinic's treatments.

I enjoyed your comparisons of gym vs home methods of getting the muscles, etc., going. Come over to my shop and we can add lots of other effects to the mix. No need for any gym memberships for any of us.

You do know that Bruce tune, Born to Run. I think we were born to at least keep moving!

Best wishes.

Lydia said...

Wow, you are learning so much and teaching here, which I thank you for because my chiropractor isn't (can't be, I guess) as thorough as your clinic. I do have an appointment with him tomorrow, and look forward to it. That's saying something, because at first I dreaded it.

Leaving tonight impressed that you are actually planning on biking this summer. Bikes and I were never quite a good match, so I will work on being an even better walker week by week.

Have enjoyed your bear tales about the clinic and look forward to reading how they synthesize your home week when you return.

Chatty Crone said...

I am glad for you as you sound that you are getting better. I agree don't re-injure yourself. I exercise at home too. sandie

That gentleman's lady said...

Oh Bear! Get yourself sorted and keep yourself healthy please :) Hugs to you. You seem to have an interestingly quirky routine worked out :)

cheshire wife said...

It is good that Bear is using his own initiative to work out alternatives to the gym. Keep on exercising!

Amanda Summer said...

i've found that walking can be very good exercise, as well as climbing stairs. you're right - you don't need to go to the gym to get a good workout.

a bear on a bicycle - now that is a sight i'd like to see ;-)

About Last Weekend said...

These are all good points as if we walked everywhere we wanted to go we would all be in great shape. The only thing is I'm not disorganised enough and don't leave enough time. Last year we read about a local person who walked absolutely everywhere in his life. He looked very happy.

Retired Knitter said...

Hey, thanks for visiting my blog. Hopped over to see who you are - a bear! Wonderful. My first bear-reader!
Enjoyed your postings. "See" you again soon.

Diana said...

Hi Bear,
It sounds like you are making all of this a habit, a good one! I ride my stationary bike for 25 to 30 minutes almost everyday but would like to ad some more. You learned some good ideas, thanks!!
Love Di ♥

Gossip_Grl said...

I had to go to physical therapy yrs ago. I used to leave there in pain. Could never figure that out.

Rob-bear said...

® Just Two Chicks: The process is tiring. But I'm getting accustomed to it.

And yes, I'm going to pedal my ass around the city. Wait! That sounds, um, well, improper. But more improper to peddle one's ass around town. (Bear starts to blush.)

And yes, politics are depressing.

® Frances: Yes. Doing things that are part of, or related to, our everyday life can help us stay fit.

Am thinking "Born to be Wild."

® Cheshire Wife: I'm doing reasonably myself, and sharing as many ides as I can in order to help others.

The Broad said...

This post is so inspirational. You sound so positive and hopeful and that is wonderful to read about. I'm going to make use of some of your helpful hints as well -- got plenty of cans to grab hold of that's for sure.
Now I think I'll mosey on over to your other site and find out what's going on in Canadian politics!

About Last Weekend said...

So sorry, I thought I'd left a comment last week, maybe I didn't push the right buttons. Sounds like you live in such a tall building that is exercise in itself. Amazing about the electoral messups - I would have thought that Canada was immune to that sort of thing (bit like NZ)

Rob-bear said...

® About Last Weekend: On behalf of Bear's Editorial Committee, I thank you for the note. Bear is currently indisposed (as is explained on Bear's "Chrome" blog.

We will bring this note to Bear's attention as soon as possible, Jody.

Mary Italic, for Bear and his EC