Author Topic: Advice - Gym Work and Exercise  (Read 860 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ennyl

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 34
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Advice - Gym Work and Exercise
« on: July 07, 2012, 04:47:56 PM »
Does anyone know of any site/info where it gives advice on what and what not to do as regards exercises.  I am 2 years post decompression, have a shrinking syrinx (hopefully, still shrinking - will be MRId in October to monitor).  I visit the gym and also swim and do acquarobics.  Don't do any weights - more like aerobic work really.  Can lifting weights, even heavy shopping, do  harm to the chiari/syrinx areas?  Also, why do they say keep away from rollercoasters, bunjee jumping and all that stuff - which I'm not into anyhow thank goodness?  It would be good to be able to speak to say a neuro-physio who could advise I guess.  Has anyone had any advice from such?  Thanks. :)
17 months post-op - decompression for Chiari1 and Syrinx (C5-T6), which is now shrinking!

Offline nightfall

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 34
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Advice - Gym Work and Exercise
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 06:11:20 PM »
I have read and been told by many chiarians that we shouldn't lift anything over 15lb

Any exercise that doesn't strain the neck head and spine seem to be ok. But to be honest its what you find yourself as to what you can manage just don't over do yourself and take breaks when need to.

I personally use 2.5lb hand dunbells not heavy but they do the job!

Stationary exercise bikes are mentioned often as ok
 
I also do some yoga movements, none that involve head and neck area tho.

The main worry with lifting weights is that it may cause the brain to herniate more. I've not read of this happening but better to be safe than sorry right?

I have not had surgery but these are things i have read from people who have had.

Medhelp a website had a chiari forum and they have posts on exercise and things to avoid also!

Good luck i am currently in same position as finding exercise that suits me with out flaring symptoms

Offline Serenata

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Advice - Gym Work and Exercise
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2012, 06:54:04 PM »
Personally I would have thought the reason the say keep away from roller coasters and bungee jumping etc... would have been obvious, but then I have never liked them anyway and have always thought they put great strain on the neck and back.  Certainly I wouldn't entertain the thought of going on them now I have had a diagnosis of CM, and I especially wouldn't if I had had surgery as I would feel it would put my body to unnecessary risk.

Offline RachC

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 404
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Rachel'c Chiari Journey
Re: Advice - Gym Work and Exercise
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2012, 07:56:37 PM »
I go to a chair based exercise group and we also use the exercise bands and dumbells (1.5lb) and the recumbent exercise bike is the best to use as it doesn't put pressure on your spine......like others have said, heavy weights is not good....swimming has been mentioned to me as something that is good as it gives an all over workout xxx
CM hydrocephalus and syringomyelia diagnosed sept 2009  ETV Sept 09, decompression feb 10, ETV april 10, VP Shunt april 10, syringo sub arachnoid shunt aug 10

Offline fieldhearts

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Advice - Gym Work and Exercise
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2012, 01:00:25 PM »
Hi!
 
I recently went through a lot with regards to exercise and prowling websites, forums, you name it, for answers.
I ended up finding a gym (LadyZone) which is an all women gym and has specific machines for those with back problems as a lot of elderly women come in.
 
They have an upright, sitting abdominal crunch machine which puts a hell of a lot less pressure on your neck. Though this is better than doing sit-ups normally, I still found it to be a bit of a strain on the ol' noggin.
 
Cross trainers are by far better than treadmills as it absorbs any impact which means less bouncing around for our poorly brains. I found this was a great cardio work-out (maybe not using the handles so much as they strain my neck and shoulder a bit, but they have stationary handles too) as well as a recumbant (stationary) bike.
 
Things like that tend to be great low impact, cardio work-outs other than walking that from my research has not many adverse problems.
 
The only reason I stopped doing the others was due to issues which may or may not be to do with my Chiari.
Currently being tested for Postural Orthostatic Tacycardia Syndrome, but my GP might think the heart rate problem could be to do with the funky pressure the chiari has on my spine.
 
Anyway.
 
Lifting arms above the shoulders has a tendency to hurt or cause dizziness/pain so doing strength training, like dumbells or push-downs, may not be advisable. Try using small weights but with high reps instead of heavy weights. Keep under 15 pounds is the advised amount as other members have said.
 
Leg curls aand things like that which strengthen legs were by far the best things in the gym I ever did. They didn't hurt my head and high reps are great for cardio.
 
It's been suggested to avoid bopping around like doing Aerobics or Zumba.
HOWEVER, there are alternatively the aqua versions (aquaerobics and aquazumba) which are done in a lot of places which use the water to displace the impact so would be a lot better.
Also the resistance of the water probably means a more effective work-out...#
 
Sorry, I seem to blathered on a bit but I hope that helps at all!
 
Megan x

Offline Ennyl

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 34
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Advice - Gym Work and Exercise
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2012, 05:26:57 PM »
Thanks to all of you for your advice.  Hopefully, I'm on the right track with the exercises I am doing - I cope with the acquarobics fine as I don't feel any pressure/pain whilst in the water (but I'm careful not to twist too much, because of the syrinx, and also I tend not to do the froglike jumps as I don't want to curl the spine too much).  Do the acqua zumba a bit too - but try not to waddle the waist too much.The aqua dumbells seem good too, as I think they keep the arms toned, as we do quite a bit of arm work - pushing down into the water, but theres no weight being lifted with these of course - they are just like floats.  I also do general swimming too.
 
As to the gym work I do use the the recumbent bike and also the treadmill, but only to walk at a reasonable pace, I never run - think its bad for the knees (especially at my age - 53) so theres no real bouncing of my body there.
 
I'd been having aches for about 3 years in my scapula area, left arm and left breast and they had just given me exercises to do at the hospital physio dept.  Then, after me actually hurting my back doing a particular yoga position at my gym, which resulted in my T8 vertebra fracture, they did a bone density scan and told me I had osteopaenia.  The persistent aches in my ribs led them to doing an MRI at a later date after which I was then diagnosed with the Chiari/Syrinx.  Had no idea of this until then - quite a shock.  You see I have never had the terrible headaches/pains that so many of you seem to have to put up with and this does seem to be a real common symptom of Chiari, I think.
 
Whilst I'm on - does anyone know if Chiari/Syrinx problems can cause probs with the eyes?  My eyesight has deteriorated quite a bit during the last 4 years or so, need glasses for reading, computer work and also my eyes do seem very sensitive to the light as I'm getting older.  Wondered if you could perhaps get peripheral nerve damage in the eye area due to a syrinx - any one read anything?  Think I'll go and get an eyetest done - its nearly 2 years since the last one.
 
I understand now why certain activities need to be avoided - in case the herniation gets worse.  Once you've been decompressed then, is the herniation still there then but lies within the extra space?  Wasn't sure if I'd once read that the cerebellar tonsils can move back up????  Also, what do they say actually causes the headaches - is it the csf pressure in the head - anyone know?
 
Thanks everyone.
17 months post-op - decompression for Chiari1 and Syrinx (C5-T6), which is now shrinking!

Offline fieldhearts

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 81
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Advice - Gym Work and Exercise
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2012, 06:06:08 PM »
Since I have been going a lot of my journey with Chiari alone, I practically inhale scientific journals and information.


So to answer your question about eyesight.
Yes Chiari can effect it but in two different ways; first there is the increase in intercranial pressure which essentially squishes the retina from the back so this has an effect on sight. Additionally, one of the symptoms that comes with it is double-vision; this is both related to the increased intercranial pressure as well as the herniation/syrinx effecting the cerebellum (obviously) but this has links to the vestibular system which controls coordination using hearing (hence some tinnitus) and sight (used as the bodies visual stabilisers).


The other thing I read is that there is an increase in Myopia (or near sightedness) in Chiari patients so objects further away seem fuzzier. In addition to Strabismus, which is weak muscle on the inside of the eye causing a slight lazy eye or makes them not line up properly.


I have all of these, which are either coincidence or more ammunition against my dismissive NS.


Furthermore, I have read a few case studies about the herniation reappearing due to, essentially, the brain slipping back forward into the new space after decompression. Though these case studies are few and far between from what I have researched.


Hope i've helped a little and it's great to hear that your doing lots of exercise and don't have to suffer the headaches! Obviously not great that you have other associated syrinx problems but there is a silver lining in there somewhere :P