Mixed Myopathy Diagnosis
My Dad has lost muscle strength and muscle In his legs and keeps falling over (he is only 65).
Answer from Justine
Thank you so much for reaching out…..I can only imagine this is a scary time for both you and your dad.
I did some research on myopathy, and you are right – many kinds! I do think getting the diagnosis will be very helpful. In the meantime, I have some questions for you. I don’t want to just throw out a bunch of suggestions without knowing a bit more about your dad and the history of his body.
- You mentioned he has had back problems since he was in his 20s…what kind of issues? Disc damage, stenosis, etc. – that will help me give advice on what NOT to do 🙂
- Also, does he have any other diagnoses I should know about, such as an autoimmune disease? I ask as that can be a player in some types of myopathy.
- Has he been struggling with fatigue? (A major player in some types of myopathy)
- You might ask him if there is anything else going on that is not normal for him.
- What muscles are affected? All leg muscles, or mainly the quadriceps?
- Is he having pain?
I would think one of Sherry’s gentle chair classes would be really good. I would avoid standing poses or a mat class (for now) since falling is a risk. There are some standing poses in the chair classes, and he will have a chair to hold onto…..if he gets fatigued, ask him to sit back down.
I am including a link to a chair Yoga class with me as well, it says it is for osteoarthritis, but there are many other benefits 🙂 I chose this because of the repetition for the joints, and to avoid cumulative stress on the body from long holds.
Inflammation can be a component of myopathy as well. Breathwork/pranayama would be very beneficial…for SO many reasons! To quell the inflammation, and calm the nervous system, I would suggest Sitali inhale (inhaling through a rolled tongue, or like you are sipping through a straw if you can’t roll the tongue) and alternate nostril exhale, exhaling as you lower the head which adds to the calming effect on the nervous system. Then inhale raising the head, exhale through the alternate nostril while lowering the head. Repeat. Even doing this for a few minutes has a powerful effect….he could do it a few times a day if he finds it helpful.
Lastly, since you mentioned his outlook….I have to suggest Yoga Nidra. This is a link to a practice with Richard Miller, PhD – he is one of my teachers and is just amazing! It is an wonderful practice that has helped me tremendously. If he enjoys it and wants more, you can get mp3 downloads on Richard’s site, www.irest.us
I look forward to hearing from you.
Answer from Sherry
Just following up on Justine’s answer. I know you are living in a big question mark right now and you so want to help your Dad. I know I would feel the same with my Dad. What I want to add into the conversation is that the state of our mind and spirit is just as important to nurture when we are going through these unknown times. All these thoughts and concerns lead to worry, fear and anxiousness. That is not a state we want to hang out in for very long periods of times without a reprieve. It taxes the nervous system, which will eventually weaken if we don’t give it rest.
These scary and trying times are inevitable, but it takes a bit of conscientious effort to detach from those thoughts. I call it “compartmentalization” of our life experiences. Which to me means putting a part of our mind’s focus and energy somewhere else, at least for a period of time so we can detach and break free of the heavy weight. I do this through my Yoga practice. When I can spend x amount of time moving my body, following the flow of what my body is telling me it needs and wants, and breathing into tight sensations and letting go when possible. I come out of those times feeling lighter, freer and more energized to tackle whatever I need to tackle in that particular compartment of life.
I feel my Chair Yoga classes provide this respite to many who are going through hard times (body, mind and spirit) by just helping them re-focus on good things, good sensations and a bit of light-heartedness. There is nothing like a smile, a laugh or a giggle to help us feel better… for even a few moments.
Blessings to you and your Dad!