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Old 02-23-2009, 05:23 AM   #1
cherif morsi
Dojo: shooting club/cairo
Location: cairo
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10
Egypt
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Coping with Weak Body Joints

Dear fellow aikidokas

I have been practicing aikido for nearly two years now. I am 37 years old and lately have noticing a sudden deterioration of some of my joints such as my wrists and elbows making my practice quite challenging even if it does not show for the outside viewer. Consulted an orthopedist who told me, while not having arthritis nor gout, that my joints got suddenly weaker from natural causes i.e wear and tear and that is how I am and I do trust this doctor's opinions a lot. He also advised me to consider stopping aikido all together (of course) if I want to avoid being arthritic in the near future. The problem is, as I guess it might be the same for a lot of you folks, I ADORE aikido and I have benefited greatly from it whether physically (a lot more stamina, coordination, flexibility etc.) or phsycologically. I would go on saying it did change my life and my way of thinking.

He prescribed Piascledine 300 which is a natural over the counter prescription that should help restoring my joints strength over time.
He also strongly advised me to start swimming as it is the best natural exercise for strengthening joints and help restore their natural mobility.
As I am not planning to stop aikido, at least not yet, your experiences with dealing with such limiting ailments might help me a lot in trying and concile my ailment with aikido. Maybe improving my ukemi especially in locks and pins such as nikkyu and sankyu???? Your opinions would be of great help.........

Cheers

Cherif
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:06 AM   #2
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 675
Israel
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Re: coping with weak body joints

Ask your partners to work lightly with you, learn to become a very soft and responsive UKe.

Amir
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Old 02-23-2009, 06:16 AM   #3
cherif morsi
Dojo: shooting club/cairo
Location: cairo
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10
Egypt
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Re: coping with weak body joints

thank you Amir

that is part of what I had in mind. I think you are quite right.
On the same note, I believe we should all develop very sensitive ukemi as in very quick responses to avoid unnecessary stress on body joints in order to avoid future problems. I think this part is somehow neglected by a lot of people especially the younger ones

though I would also love to hear other aikidokas' opinions with similar conditions especially concerning how they cope with it on the long term

Domo Arigato

Cherif
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Old 02-23-2009, 09:13 AM   #4
Tomas Grana
Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkai Ottawa
Location: Ottawa, ON
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 11
Canada
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Re: coping with weak body joints

Hi Cherif,

I have practiced aikido for 7-8 years now, and even though I'm a few years younger than you, I too noticed the effect of aikido on my joints. My shoulders naturally lock up in a position often used in practice (think raising your arm to meet shomenuchi with ikkyo), and I sustained a mild tear in one of my rotator cuffs taking (bad) ukemi from jujinage, early in my training. My knees also take a beating from coming up from and down to seiza, not to mention from suwariwaza and hanmi handachi.

I have found that, yes, being a more responsive uke helps (not only your joints, but your aikido progress as well). In my case, complementary strength training has made a big difference, particularly strengthening the muscles around my shoulder. I find my shoulder locks and pops out during a technique much less often. Likewise, squats have helped my knees quite a bit, as well. However, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of stretching after strength training. That may sound like a given to you or others reading this, but I am so often surprised by the amount of martial artists that weight train without stretching afterwards, ending up with hunched shoulders and reduced flexibility. Flexibility is key!

Lastly, I have been taking glucosamine/chondroitin supplements for over a year now, and I find they help me prevent pain in my joints post practice. There is very little peer-reviewed scientific evidence that they work at all, so the effect may amount to placebo, but since I find an effect, and the proposed mechanism of action makes sense to me biologically, I continue to take them (500 mg glucosamine, 400 mg chondroitin, 3x/day, in case you're interested).

Tom
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:06 AM   #5
Michael Douglas
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 434
United Kingdom
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Re: coping with weak body joints

Quote:
Tomas Grana wrote: View Post
In my case, complementary strength training has made a big difference, particularly strengthening the muscles around my shoulder. I find my shoulder locks and pops out during a technique much less often. Likewise, squats have helped my knees quite a bit, as well. However, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of stretching after strength training.
Great advice Tomas!
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:50 AM   #6
cherif morsi
Dojo: shooting club/cairo
Location: cairo
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10
Egypt
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Re: Coping with Weak Body Joints

Thanx a lot Thomas for the input.
I intend on starting weight training, actually re-starting as that is what I mainly did before taking up aikido upon which I almost immediately stopped weight training. Actually, could that be one of the causes of my joints problems??!!! Silly me, forgot to mention that bit of info to my doctor!! Maybe this sudden stop might have affected my joints on the longer run.
I am meant to visit him in two weeks for a follow-up and I hope I won't forget about asking him. It is quite bizarre what is happening to me knowing that I do not "fit the profile" if you know what I mean, always have been and still am a very active person and my wishes is that I stay like that for as long as I can (I have a little 2 years old "monster" ) hence my worries in continuing aikido.
On a different note, did anybody else continue practicing with main joints problems such as arthritis and plantar fascitis(I do have the latter in my right heel!!!!) for example? If any, can you describe your practice experience and how you evolved around it and if I am being greedy maybe give advice to what to particularly avoid.
Thank you in advance everybody
Onegai Shimas

Cherif
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:17 PM   #7
bkedelen
 
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Dojo: Boulder Aikikai
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 449
United_States
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Re: Coping with Weak Body Joints

crossfit.com
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:56 PM   #8
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Re: Coping with Weak Body Joints

Quote:
Cherif Morsi wrote: View Post
On a different note, did anybody else continue practicing with main joints problems such as arthritis and plantar fascitis(I do have the latter in my right heel!!!!) for example? If any, can you describe your practice experience and how you evolved around it and if I am being greedy maybe give advice to what to particularly avoid.f
I've trained through a lot of injuries and joint problems, and I've been sidelined by some. I've also got rheumatoid arthritis, but what's indicated for that is radically different than what's indicated for osteo, so let's not go there. What I can tell you is of limited usefulness because it's a constant "it depends". I've learned a lot of tricks to use when something starts acting up, but which of them I use depends on how this particular something feels this time around. So, I can't really tell you, "This is what you do," or even "This is what I do". All I can tell you is some of the different methods that I use, and encourage you to experiment with them. As you learn what they're good for, and also get really in tune with your own body's feedback, your self-care will get better.

So, in no particular order:

1. Ice. This is the most recommended method for pain and inflammation, and the one that I use least. Most times it just doesn't seem like what my trauma wants. Now and then, though, something's got that burn that tells me that ice is the right thing to do.

2. Tape. Some years ago I got a copy of a book called "Athletic Taping and Bracing", and it's been one of the most useful tools I have for dealing with injury. Taping serves to support and protect an injured joint. Many times I've found taping to be the key to recovery, particularly of an injury that is aggravated by daily activity (for example, a sprained wrist that is pretty much better, but that gets irritated after a day of typing on the computer).

3. Anti-inflammatories of the usual sort. Ibuprofin, tylenol, all that good stuff. I'm not getting into religious wars about whether these eat your stomach and rot your liver; my doctor says no and go for it if you need it. Here's the thing, though -- anti-inflammatories aren't pain pills. Their job is to reduce inflammation, and if you wait until you're hurting before you take them, you're not going to get the full benefit. If you have a nagging injury and want to take anti-inflamamtories, take them proactively.

4. Anti-inflammatories of the unusual sort. I take ginger and turmeric on a regular basis to manage my rheumatoid arthritis, and also I take a bunch of it whenever I tweak something. I've found it to be more effective than ibuprofin. There really isn't any limit on how much you can take, although if you take a ton of it at once you'll probably feel a little flushed. Available in capsule or tablet form for convenience.

5. Topicals. Tiger Balm, Zheng Gu Shui, Kwan Loong oil, Taoist healing oil, dit da jow, yunnan baiyao and other plasters...I've got 'em all, I use 'em all. Good for reducing spot inflammation and speeding healing of trauma. Wu Yang brand herbal plasters are probably my favorite for convenience and effectiveness.

6. Activity. I don't know how it is for other people, but I've never gotten better all the way by just resting. There's always a point where my body wants me to resume activity, carefully, and then the recovery proceeds.

7. Interventions. There are things that can be done for some of what ails you. I had plantar fasciatis once -- two shots of cortisone, problem solved.

So that's my toolkit. When something's wrong, my self-prescribed treatment can include any or all of the above. As for which to pick, painful experience is really the only teacher.
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Old 02-25-2009, 03:32 AM   #9
cherif morsi
Dojo: shooting club/cairo
Location: cairo
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10
Egypt
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Re: Coping with Weak Body Joints

Thanks for your intuitive input Mary. Really appreciated
Started swimming today for 15 - 20 intense minutes followed by a few stretches and I can tell you it already feels better somehow.
I think you are right that I will have to try a few combinations of things to do till I can find what suits me best. I am also now quite convinced anybody, as Tomas implied too, should be doing some side strength training alongside aikido especially if you have joints problems and still want to go along the Path.
My doctor strongly advised me against cortizone shots at least for now as these can actually dramatically weaken the joints especially at my age according to him. Though I have the feeling it might be unavoidable at some point!!!
Will keep you guys posted every now and then to share my experience with you as I intend to restart aikido next week hopefully (my doctor will kill me if he knows) but it definitely is way bigger than me but will be much more careful in my practice.
Wish me luck
Again, thanks for all the inputs and future inputs are always more than welcome

Cheers

Onegai Shimas

Cherif
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