Sun | Dec 4, 2016

Speed up your recovery from chik-V

Published:Wednesday | December 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Many of us underestimated the pain and discomfort associated with a moderate attack of the chikungunya disease. Such an attack restricts the use of our arms, hands, legs, and feet. The restriction of our movements can result in generalised muscle atrophy, loss of muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, and range of motion. Where difficulties are experienced in moving our body against gravity without added resistance, it is a necessity that help is provided to regain strength, flexibility, etc, to reduce the need for assistance.

Start exercising in a timely manner as soon as possible after the onset of the disease, to increase the range of movement of the joints, reduce stiffness and speed up the recovery process. Do activities that stretch and/or shorten the muscles gradually as you slowly and deliberately go through the routine.

Raise your arms forward, then get assistance to the highest point below the pain threshold. Return your arms to the start position, then assisted as far back behind you without pain.

Raise both arms out to the side then, assisted, to the highest point above without pain.

Bring both arms across the body at shoulder height and have your arms pulled to make a tight hug. Make circles with your arm with the use of your shoulder joint. Assist the arms to increase the size of the circles. Make circles with the arms moving inwards then outwards.

Palms facing front, bend the elbow joints and have your

fingers assisted to touch the shoulders.

Bend your hands backward until the fingers point behind. Make circles with your hands in one direction, then the other; assist in increasing the size of the circles. Make a fist, have your fist squeezed to make it tighter. Open your hand and spread the fingers, push the fingers further apart.

Lie on your back with your legs outstretched. Bend your knees up to your chest. Straighten your hips and knees to return to the original position. Raise both legs off the bed together, get assistance to raise the legs higher. Move your legs apart and get assistance to move them further. Sit with your legs outstretched on the floor, turn your legs toward the middle so that your big toes touch the floor, then turn your leg out to make the little toes touch the floor. Lie on your back, bend your knees so the bottom of your feet are flat on the floor. Slide your heels toward your buttocks. Return to the starting position.

Sit in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Keep toes on the floor while you raise your heels as high as possible with assistance. Heels on the floor and raise your toes as high as possible.

Raise your foot slightly off the floor. Roll your ankle in circles to the right, then to the left.

Curl your toes towards the sole of your foot, straighten them and curl toward your shin, return to the starting position.

n Dr Kenneth Gardner is an exercise physiologist at Holiday Hills Research Center. Email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.com