My Morning Routine
I wake up, rollover, ouch! Everything feels stuck. I slowly turn over, moaning. Usually, when I get a good night's sleep, I tend to sleep wrong. I wake up with a sore back (like every morning). The shoulder that I slept on is in agony and feels glued in place. My neck is stiff. I’m afraid to move, afraid to wake up the spasms.
I lie here for a while. Contemplating how my day will go, what can I do to make it better?
After a few minutes, I prop up my pillows and sit up in bed. Again, there is a lot of grunting and groaning going on here.
While in a seated position I start moving my neck slowly from left to right, up and down and then I move my head carefully in circular motions, as advised by my physiotherapist. My neck clicks and cracks as if it were an old cog. Once my neck is a bit looser, I slowly start to roll my shoulders clockwise and anticlockwise again clicking and cracking as I do it.
Next, I stretch my arms above my head and stretch them up like I am climbing a ladder. Then I slowly make small and big circles with my arms. Click, Clack.
After I’ve loosened my shoulders it's time for my back and hips to be stretched. While I am still sitting, I put one hand behind me and stretch whilst my head is turned back. I then use the other hand and turn the opposite way and repeat a couple of times. This brings immense relief.
At this point, I go back to my shoulders, rolling and shrugging them, trying to get as comfortable as possible.
If I feel like I can lie down and get back up again, with relative ease I will know my stretching is working. Finally, while lying on my back I bring my knees to my chest and rock.
It's time to get up
It is time to get up. Before I do anything in the morning, I apply heat to my body. If one of my family members are awake, I will ask them to refill my hot water bottles (I cannot lift the kettle myself). If they are asleep, I will use my plug-in heating pads. These are very handy, but I find more heat comes from hot water bottles, so my heating pads are my back up.
On severe pain or extremely stiff mornings, I fear the stairs. Before I head downstairs, I think do I really need to? I put it off for as long as possible, and once I'm down there it will be a while before I'm going back up. Each step I take I hear a click, crack, click, crack.
After my breakfast, I take my tablets. I have a hot shower to start my day and to loosen my body more.
I am already tired. It’s time to lie down and rest again. After a half an hour rest, I am ready to get on with my day. I make sure to stretch, not just in the morning, but throughout the day too, along with gentle exercises, walks while also incorporating rest so I don’t run out of energy. For now, that’s my routine.
How much about your AS do you share with others?