I had the last of the synovial fluid injections in my knees on Monday. Tuesday morning I walked to the polling place to vote and walked back home again. It was no more than an easy 10-minute walk max. I did no cardio Tuesday, but by noon, my knees were swollen like balloons. They didn’t really hurt, but they felt hot like they do when there’s fluid in there. It had to be due to the injections, but I didn’t understand the delayed reaction. I swear my knees have a mind of their own.
I get sad when my knees swell up because I know eventually they need to be replaced. When they get swollen I wonder, “Is this it? Is this the beginning of the end of their natural life?”
When I’m sad, I’m more prone to pain, particularly overall joint pain. I don’t know what it is with arthritis and sadness, but man, when I’m sad, I ache. It’s a bitter catch-22.
What helps get me out of sadness most of the time? Exercise. I decided to not take Advil and to give the elliptical a try. Unlike walking, the elliptical is fairly easy on my knees. I started out slow, but surprisingly my knees didn’t hurt at all. I upped the intensity a little more, then a little more and a little more still until I was at my usual workout pace and I stayed there for 30 minutes. About halfway through, my mood completely changed and I felt happy again, mostly because my knees weren’t as screwed up as I thought. It’s now a few hours later and they’re still swollen, but they don’t hurt. Neither do my shoulders or feet or wrists. Exercise did what Advil would have done only without the stomach upset, the raised blood pressure and the water retention.
We all have achy days, physically and emotionally, when exercise is the LAST thing we want to do. So how do you challenge yourself to do it anyway? And does exercise help ease those symptoms? I hope I’m not the only one!