Learning to use my body correctly, releasing the restrictions and regaining movement - recovering from decades of fibromyalgia - has taken a lot of TIME and FOCUS. Things that ONLY YOU can provide for yourself.
After my physical 'rock bottom' I knew the range of drugs I had been prescribed (morphine, codeine, paracetamol, naproxen, gabapentin, diazepam)) would a) not magically fix me & b) mess me right up. But something had to change. I had to do something to help myself.
"Use your core" was the only real advice I got but I had no connection with my 'core muscles'. I didn't 'get it', I couldn't feel how my body was meant to function.
I started going to Pilates classes. Afraid of returning to the level of pain and helplessness I'd experienced at rock bottom I took it very gently. Sometimes just lying on the floor and appearing to doing nothing as I tried to work with my breathing and focus on my 'core'.
I found myself doing a few basic exercises at the easiest levels, constantly monitoring my body and its pain. I began to realise just how wrecked my body was - tense, restricted, twisted and compressed.
I I did about 30 Pilates classes in couple of months after rock-bottom. I had several Pilates' instructors, each with a differing approach and perspective. I learned something from all of them, and I'm glad I stuck with the classes that I wasn't keen on the first time round. Each approach gave me another piece of the puzzle to how to use my body better.
It was interesting how over the space of a few sessions a bit of familiarily with the methods made the sessions much more comfortable - my self-conciousness much reduced.
A lot of Pilates videos are available online. Watch a selection. Look for the ones that take it slow. Pilates should be about gentle, controlled movement.
Rewatch the exercise a few times. Pick up on the details. Do what feels right to you.
I also tried to swim every day, being active in water with as much time as I could in the steam room, sauna and jacuzzi - things I enjoy and tend to seek out given the chance. (The swimming morphed into time in the pool, moving as felt natural, using various floats as aids to balance and doing to odd length in between.)
I was developed a constant monitoring of my posture and pain levels. Within a few weeks I began to notice what muscles were activating and of how much movement I lacked. I could feel new muscles working as tried to move correctly and of how I braced my body to do many of the exercises. Having to reset, break the bad habits of a life-time.
Don't try to keep up with a video. Find an exercise you think you can do, stop the video, and have a practice.
Only do the exercises you can do! I couldn't pick up a leg, lie straight on my side .
The roll down... curling action.
Arm front to back and all the way round.
Focus on the mmm
After a few weeks I could feel new muscles activating. I could also feel how much I used the wrong areas of muscle (my neck for a start, feeling the strain as I tried to sit up).
3 months after rock bottom and a lot of rolling down, the blanket of depression lifted. I felt it sweep up my face and over the back of my head as I stood up from a roll down. It was that dramatic. I felt the 'fibro fog' be blown away. It was that amazing. That's the day I started my healing diary and knew I had something important to share. Since then a slow slog to release all my physical tensions and get back to Base-Line healthy.
I was "rolling down" at every opportunity. A simple exercise that felt good.
I could feel 'releases' in my back allowing my to roll-down a little further each time, gaining a little more movement.
Then, about three months after rock bottom, the blanket of depression lifted as I stood up from a roll-down.
It was amazing. Everything felt different. Better.
It wasn't the end of my emotional issues, but from that day on I knew my years of pain (both physical and mental) stemmed from a physical problem. I that recovery was possible.
It was only after many months of work, when I had developed a strong connection to my Base-Line, that I realised how twisted and mis-aligned I truly was.
Focusing on my main muscles of movement and working towards body alignment.
Feeling how to heal guided by my sense of conscious proprioception
Every time I focused on activating my Base-Line muscles I was gaining a little more freedom to move, slowing regaining a full natural range of movement.
I could feel when my Base-Line was as 'strong and long' as I could make it, areas that had been compensating for the lack of support could relax. release the pain I had been carrying around for decades.
Now I feel better than I ever have before.
Patterns were developing as I practiced the roll-down. A little routine of various movements. Movements that felt right, good, natural - guided by my developing sense of Swinging my arms, bending my legs, altering my foot positions, moving my head from side to side...
Healing from my Base-Line outwards
I had no idea how far I could come. How flexible I am now, and how much movement I was missing before. How easy movement is when the body is balanced.Plucking strings. (hamstrings) electric shocks. These were scary at first. Never forced but as my confidence grew and trust in the process. Every so often a full leg twang that made me swear.
It took a lot of time and focus to train myself to activate my main muscles of movement correctly. I had Layer upon layer of pain and restrictions that I had to work through, stored trauma.
Thinking of my Base-Line as a chain of lights to be activated in turn.
As I engage my pelvic floor Base, I think "red".
Then "orange, yellow, green, blue" up my rectus abdominis Line.
I don't think the exact description matters. Find something that works for you - whatever helps you to focus on the right muscles working to build the connection.
My technique developed as I progressed and my sense of conscious proprioception developed.
I have tried to describe my evolving connection to my Base-Line, but it is something to learn about by experiencing, not reading.
I have come to believe that using your Base-Line muscles fully is the basis of the chakra system and that many traditional exercise forms are trying to teach the correct usage of the main muscles of movement.
I am not the first to feel the power of my Base-Line, but no-one else has put it in these anatomical terms as far as I can find.
The branches of each thread connect via the Base-Line at specific areas. The relevant section of the rectus abdominis muscles needs to be active to support each individual thread, and the pathway of the branches free of restriction for the branches to extend fully.
My dysfunction was absolute, every thread of my body was affected which I why, I believe, my recovery illustrated what the problem really was.