Physiologic Measures for Prevention and Treatment
There are specific physiologic measures that we believe can prevent the progression of AA and likely achieve some relief and recovery. The measures are classified in major groups based on the goal and purpose of the measures:
- enhance spinal fluid flow;
- reduce retained electricity;
- increase oxygen availability;
- maintain upper (arm) and lower (leg/foot) functions.
- Walking with arm swings
- Water soaking
- Deep breathing and breath holding
- Rocking chair or swing
- Trampoline walking
- Stretching – side-to-side, arm and leg extension
- Magnet rubs
- Copper jewelry
- Sing or whistle
When our AA research and education project began a few years ago it was common to see AA patients who had partial paralysis (“paraparesis”) of the legs and arms. In some cases, the paralysis was so bad that the patient had to use a wheelchair or was confined to bed. Many patients could not raise their arms or legs to their full extension. Unfortunately, about the only treatment these patients ever had was pain medication. Until recently there was no knowledge about spinal fluid flow, leakage and seepage, tissue shrinking, and retained electricity. In recent years as treatment of neuroinflammation and specialized physiologic measures have become known, we rarely see a new AA patient who has partial paralysis of the legs and/or a diminution of arm extension.
How To Improve Your Spinal Fluid Flow
All AA patients will have some disruption or blockage of spinal fluid flow. Good spinal fluid flow is necessary to wash away waste products and bring nutrition and healing power to the inflamed site.
Here are simple physiologic measures to enhance spinal fluid flow. We recommend daily use of at least some of them.
- Rock in a rocking chair or swing
- Walk on a trampoline
- Use vibrator or massager over spine (Back scratchers and scrubbers are good)
- Soak or wade in water
- Walk and swing your arms (“Power Walking”)
- Rock back and forth on your feet
- Rub your spine with copper and/or a magnet
- Nod your head up and down
- Scrub your back with a brush
- Deep breathing (diaphragm) with stomach
Stretches to Prevent Tissue Shrinkage
- Stretch to a point you feel tugging or pulling but not pain.
- Standing is best to stretch but sitting or lying down is OK.
- Stretch your arms and legs into positions that let you know you are tugging or pulling on your lumbar area.
It is the shrinking, scarring, and shortening of nerves, muscle, or tendons that cause severe neurologic impairments such as partial paralysis (paraparesis). The nerve roots of the cauda equina are the first section of long nerves (e.g. sciatic) that reach into your legs, feet, bladder, intestine, stomach, rectum/anus, and sex organs.
Muscles and tendons that attach to the vertebrae and joints can also shrink particularly with chronic spinal fluid seepage.
Here are simple stretching exercises to prevent tissue shrinkage.
1 – Reach for the sky. Spread your fingers, raise both arms straight up. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Raise only as high as you can without causing pain
2 – Side to side bends. Stand with hands on head. Lean right for 5 to 10 seconds, then left for 5 to 10 seconds. Bend only right and left to feel a “tug” or “pressure” in your lower back, but not pain.
Other Helpful Stretching Exercises
Full-Body Stretch Laying Down: Lay down on the floor and do a full-body stretch with arms over head. Count to 10.
Sit and Stretch Arms: Stretch your arms and spread your fingers. Count to 10. Can do while sitting in a car or plane.
Leg Raise While Laying Down: Raise each leg until you feel tugging in your back. Count to 10.
Leg Raise While Standing: Stabilize yourself next to a table or wall. Raise your leg and flex your foot. Count to 10.
Knee Pull While Laying Down: Pull knee back until you feel tugging in your back. Count to 10.
Walking with Arm Swings: the Best Exercise
An AA patient must take walks every day to move spinal fluid and prevent shrinking of nerves and muscles. Walk with toes pointed straight ahead. Swing your arms during part of your walk. Lift your head so that your ears are directly over your shoulders. Breathe deeply. Quit at the first feeling of fatigue. Don’t overdo or push too hard.
Persons with AA should wear supportive, tie shoes such as tennis shoes unless tie shoes cause pain. There are also some shoes that have copper or magnets in the soles. These are excellent to help control pain.
Bare foot is often better for an AA patient than the modern-day practice of wearing thongs, sandals, flip flops, or slip-ons. Non-supportive footwear is a risk in 2 ways: (1) falls; (2) prevents walking with correct posture.
One slip, slide, or fall can set an AA patient back to square one. A fall may tear adhesions which may cause severe pain and healing with more permanent, nerve entrapments and impairments!
Retained Electricity – Must Eliminate
Nerves function and control our body’s organs and structures by transmitting electricity. With AA, nerve roots are clumped with adhesions and scarring so electricity won’t pass easily up or down the nerve root. Consequently, electricity is retained and accumulates.
When electricity accumulates, it causes increased NI and it may suddenly release itself in dysfunctional bursts. That is why AA patients get:
- Shooting and burning episodes of pain
- Leg jerks and tremorsAbnormal electricity retention and release also contributes to such symptoms as burning feet and funny sensations on skin such as “bugs crawling” and “water dripping”.Here are physiologic measures to eliminate electricity. Do some daily.
- Rub your spine with copper or a magnet 2 to 3 times a day
- Wear a copper anklet or bracelet
- Use magnets in your shoes or mattress
- Wear lots of jewelry, particularly copper
- Hold doorknobs or other metal a second longer
- Soak in water (Epsom salts help)
- Pet your dog or cat (Any fur will do.)
- Walk barefoot on carpet or outside on your lawn
You Need More Oxygen
Oxygen is necessary for healing, nerve function, and medication effectiveness. Without enough, you may progressively deteriorate.
Symptoms of Low Oxygen
- Fatigue and Lethargy
- Slow or Forgetful Thinking
- Depression and Feeling of Hopelessness
- Tired, But Can’t Sleep
- Pain Medication Works Poorly
How Do I Get Oxygen?
Oxygen is breathed in through your lungs and enters your blood stream to be carried throughout your body. Whether your pain site is in the spine, brain, joints, or muscles, you must have oxygen for pain relief and healing. The more oxygen, the better.
How Do I Get More Oxygen?
Your base oxygen intake and carrying capacity is what is in your blood when you are quietly sitting or lying down. Anytime you become active, your lungs breathe a little faster and deeper and your heart pumps a little faster, so you carry more oxygen in your blood. The healing and pain relief formula is simply to stay more active than what you are when you sit or lay down. Just increasing your breathing and heart rate will increase oxygen at your pain site.
- Stay active! Walk every day.
- Breathe as deeply as you can with your stomach (diaphragm) and hold it for 10 seconds. Do it while sitting or standing. Do it in a car, church, or at home. Do this at least 10 times a day.