Staying independently mobile is a critical part of managing hidden mobility disabilities. We need to stay moving in order to maintain flexibility and strengthen joint musculature for support and stability. Yet if we move or exercise too much, we can experience intense pain from pressure on vulnerable joints and/or inflammation that is debilitating. So we need (if possible) to move/walk daily, but only as far as is comfortable. Make sure your daily movement is within your personal limits, but do move!
If you start to have pain:
- S TO P the activity. It doesn’t help to “push through” the pain and increase joint inflammation or breathing difficulties.
- R E S T. Taking pressure off of joints or really catching your breath, even if the rest is 1-2 minutes, can help position you to become mobile again.
- A D J U S T. Alter movement patterns to briefly take pressure off of impaired joints—like “dancing” while you are standing at the stove or sink.
The effects of HMD are variable from day to day. Part of self-care is assessing yourself each morning:
- What is your pain level? If it is high, try to avoid snapping at people.
- * If you already are in a lot of pain, should you stay home and cancel outside commitments?
- If you are going out today:
- How far can you walk comfortably (how many school buses)? Do you need to make arrangements to avoid walking too far?
- If you are going to have to stand, do you need to take a seat cane with you?