What’s Working Part Two

I’ve written about the benefits of NeuroKinetic Therapy in a previous post. For two years, it has slowly brought dormant muscles back online. Frequency Specific Microcurrents used during our sessions have changed my connective tissue. Although these improvements were slow-going, they stopped me from getting worse. But I couldn’t quite figure out how to best exercise these reawakened muscles.

Finding BeFit Movement Therapy (which I also blogged about last year) taught me the importance of focusing on my joints if I want to move better. Building muscle is great, but my joints must be able to bear the burden as well.

Because I’m disabled and can’t move normally, stumbling upon Dr. Tara Tobias’ YouTube channel added another important piece to my puzzle. She offers a variety of prop options and modifications to her exercises to meet me where I am. By showing how to progress through her exercises, I know where to start and where I’m going. If you check out her channel, go to Playlists, where you can watch the videos in order based on what you need to work on.

Not only does she show me what to do, she tells me why she’s doing it, which I appreciate very much. I’m a jerk that way. I can’t follow orders if I don’t understand the “why” behind the instructions given. The good news? People like me don’t join cults or storm the US Capital. The bad news? People like me don’t join the military or become CIA agents to protect their fellow citizens.

This need to understand often keeps me from doing. For years, I would think, “Just go outside and take a walk, dummy.” But every time I did, I would become fixated on my arm that wasn’t swinging, my hip that kept collapsing, or my knee that kept locking. Reinforcing poor movement patterns seemed counter-intuitive. Yet sitting on my ass constantly wasn’t helping either. Now that I better understand how MS affects my body, I’m glad I didn’t spend hours strengthening bad habits.

I finally have a system, and for the first time in eight years, I look forward to exercising. Not because I’m creating endorphins or burning calories, but because I’m slowly feeling my body rehabilitate itself. Using straps, skateboards, bungee cords, gym balls, poles, wedges, and other props, I’m breaking old movement patterns while creating newer, more functional ones.

As for carryover, I notice things when I go grocery shopping. Pushing a small cart around a gigantic store is the equivalent of using a wheeled walker to practice ambulating. It safely allows me to take many steps and integrate any changes that have occurred during the past week. I can feel my brain trying to incorporate what it’s learning, which is exciting and a little freaky, to be honest. I have no idea how far I’ll go in terms of functional mobility, but I’ve got nothing better to do, so why not work on this?

Full disclosure: I’ve never met Dr. Tara Tobias or been a patient at the Orlando Physical Therapy clinic. I stumbled upon her YouTube channel last month. Because my left side is weak, I present more like a stroke patient than someone with MS, so her modifications were exactly what I needed. If you are trying to rehabilitate a body plagued by mobility issues, check out her site to exercise safely.

(Remember to subscribe, like, or become a member of her channel to send some cash her way. She has put a ton of free resources online. Making, editing, and uploading content takes a lot of time and energy on top of running a physical therapy clinic, so share the love if you’re able.)

Featured Image from Unsplash / Jungwoo Hong

4 thoughts on “What’s Working Part Two

  1. Hi Linda I love your blogs because you sound just like me except I don’t have an arm issue as badly as you do yet. I’ve been doing the MS gym for a couple years and Pilates when it was open, and nothing seems to be making my walking or balance better but your blogs give me hope. I found a Nuro kinetic Chiro and I’m going to him in two weeks. I can’t wait till you post your exercise routines and I love Tara Tobias as well even though I haven’t implemented hers regularly! which I know I need to do. Please let me know when you upload your routine?

    Brenda Lytwyn Sent from my iPhone 416-275-7300

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    1. Thank you Brenda. This made my day!
      I’m trying to put stuff out there that helps without being overwhelming. Also, I’m trying to figure out what to post, how to explain it (I’m not a PT and my “videographer” skills aren’t the best). I just want to give people options to try if they’re hitting a plateau or their stuff isn’t working. But in the end, we’re all just experimenting due to this crazy disease. Let me know how it goes with the chiropractor. Tomorrow I’m posting some videos of Dr. Tobias that I’ve implemented. I’ll have to think about ways to describe what I’m doing for my arm (more importantly for you, what I wish I did years ago before it got worse). For you specifically… Do CARS daily (Controlled Articulatory Rotations), stretch, and if you have spasticity or contractures, use an elbow immobilizer to keep your arm straight while stretching. I’ll definitely think about making a video based on arm stuff that I’m doing.
      Cheers!
      Linda

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  2. Thanks for responding Linda, so far my arm is ok, my right hand is getting a little weaker. My main issue is walking like a peg leg pirate, my know bends a little, my foot drops a little, my hip flexor list my leg a little, but nothing I have done has made it better, even a little better. The only thing that was a wow moment was the HFAD (hip flexor assistive device) made by Becker Ortho! Google it!
    I do the MS Gym almost daily, I walk (hobble) about 5 to 9k steps a day but my form sucks! Im a rusher. I should just walk really slow while trying to put my heel down first, rolling over my foot and pushing off…all the while trying to bend my knee.
    I want to implement Tara’s work into my routine but am a little stuck as to where and how to start…but I guess at the beginning! Cant wait for you next post.

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    1. I would go to Dr Tobias channel, click on playlist then check out “walking progressions”. Because you walk with a peg leg I’d also do all of her kneeling exercises so your hip and knee can be independent of each other. Lastly check out CARS and Functional Range Conditioning resources to learn about ways to work on your joints. More important than I ever realized. Oh and I’m not a PT so check with others that know more than me. The above has been working for me and what you described sounds like me 5 years ago – I doubt any would hurt you but seriously – check with someone smarter than me please! Good luck and keep me posted. 🙂

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