Will my flexibility come back?

Since the RA has attacked my hands fingers and wrists first, I have not been able to practice yoga. Yoga and Pilates were part of my daily routine and I've always been very flexible being able to put my hands flat on the floor and go down into a press up. Now my wrists don't flex at all, as if they are frozen straight. If I do try and bend them the pain is unbelievable. So I cannot practise many of my yoga postures.

I'm hoping that this will improve too, once the medication has started working and the inflammation is under control.

Am I being unrealistic?

30 Replies

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  • Probably. Eventually we all have to accept that we cannot do some of things we used to. But that is not to say you cannot find other ways of exercising or adapting. I used to be very flexible and very good at Tai Chi. I cannot do many of the moves now but with a good teacher I have adapted and so can still enjoy it

  • I do that every day as recommended by my physio. Such a simple thing but it helps so much.

  • When you get up in the morning fill the sink with warm water. Put your hands in and gently exercise your hands. The warm water can be very soothing .

  • My experience is the opposite of Pat9442's. At diagnosis I couldn't do anything, even holding a teacup was painful and my fingers were like stiff sausages. I couldn't bend my knees at all. Now I do Pilates regularly with no problems. I was completely amazed as I thought I would be permananetly disabled - but no (thankfully!). I have to be a bit careful, especially if I'm a bit flare'y, but it's fine.

  • There's a decent possibility that when you stabilise on the medication and the inflammation reduces then you may well be able to regain your flexibility.

    I've had to modify my usual mobility drills and activities. Something that has been *fantastic* for me is Anti-Gravity Yoga (I can never put in a YouTube link that works) but I do the version with a hammock so that you can offload a fair amount of your bodyweight in a number of positions and you do what you can. I managed to keep going with it earlier this year when I'd strained/sprained/fractured an ankle and it's so helpful to me for working around days when I can't get on all fours nor dream of putting weight on my hands and feet.

  • I would loooooooove to try that. Not sure they do it in the depths of Somerset. Could try in my own hammock, haha. Its the price that's tricky. Did yoga myself at home. Can't kneel either due to replacement titanium and plastic knee and lower thigh. Makes yoga a wee bit tricky. X

  • .

    What is antigravity yoga?



    lululemon: antigravity yoga:



    "Antigravity yoga videos" google search πŸ”Ž results: google.com/search?as_q=&as_...


    πŸ™ πŸ€ 🌺 🌞


  • Thank you, @Kai-- I don't know why my YouTube or search links tend not to work but they don't :) (And I don't know why your name didn't come up when I wrote the tag, either - just one of those blips :) ).


    I hugely enjoy AntiGravity Yoga. I am always thrilled by the feeling of weightlessness and sheer playfulness of being in a hammock.

    The hammocks can be hung at different heights so that you can even lie on a floormat or other support, with the hammock just a few inches higher than you, so you can pop in your ankle and move your leg gently from side to side. If you can't manage the weight distribution of (say) a downward dog pose, then you can adjust the width of the hammock so that it takes the majority of your weight. (The hammocks are approx 5m x 3m so you can actually lie in them at full stretch and move around.)

    I'm going to disagree with one of the captions of the first video (the claim 25s in) - you certainly don't spend most of a session inverted. You can invert but these tend to be quite short periods and the instructor will always make sure that you don't have any conflicting health conditions.

    I find inverting is very helpful for my neck as I have a scoliosis there and it's tremendously useful for decompressing that.

    But the bulk of a lesson will be using the hammock as part of the usual poses or stretches like Warrior, Stag, Downward Dog, Cat, Cow etc. And the teachers that I attend always have several options for any movement, depending on how you are.

  • .

    ❀️ it!

    Thank you kindly for beautifully describing the joy πŸ€— of moving in an Anti-Gravity (Hammock) Yoga, ITYFIALMCTT. πŸ™

    Sounds like wonderful stretching πŸ€Έβ€β™‚οΈ (& relaxing) without overexerting or hurting joints/ muscles πŸ•Ί πŸ’ͺ . . . and ability to slide right into hammock (after workout) for a lovely πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ siesta 😴 πŸ’€ . . . 😁 πŸ˜„

    Would love πŸ’“ for these studios to spread πŸ—Ί (become commonplace), so we could readily pop in & give anti-gravity a whirl πŸ’ƒπŸ» whenever we'd like. πŸ˜ƒ πŸ‘

    [Brings back childhood πŸ‘« memories of joyous πŸ€— , free-ing play on swing-sets & hanging upside down πŸ™ƒ from "monkey bars" ( πŸ’ βž–βž– s ) .

    ( 🚫 . . πŸ’ . . 🍺 🍷 πŸ₯ƒ 🍸 s ) 😳 ]


    Additional options for anyone interested in gentle, (brief) inversion (& gently extending/ decompressing spine) for those of us who mayn't have easy access to an anti-gravity yoga studio (or sturdy enough living-room drapes to dangle from 😁 ):

    πŸ™ƒ πŸ“ Body Slant Boards: google.com/search?as_q=body...

    πŸ™ƒ πŸ”ƒ Inversion Tables: google.com/search?as_q=Inve...


    Keep thinking of it as the pleasure of 'weightless' πŸ•΄ we feel in water πŸŠβ€β™€οΈ 🏊 without having to get wet πŸ’¦ . 😁


    πŸ™ πŸ€ 🌺 🌞


  • You are hilarious!!! However the very nature of being immersed in water rather than just hanging upside down lowers the blood pressure enormously and slows the breathing. The womb and all that. X

  • Good to know, Jules13. πŸ’¦ 🏊 πŸ›€ 🀰 πŸ‘

    Thank you kindly. πŸ™ 😌

  • Funnily enough, at my hot yoga class last night I met a lady who has had RA for some time. She is able to do most of the poses with a little adaptation. Like you can't put her hands flat on the floor yet but is improving. Has got a lot of movement back since the early days and finds the hot yoga particularly good.

    Beverley (NRAS Helpline)

  • I was wondering about mentioning Bikram/Hot Yoga - I'm never sure how well people respond to the different heat and humidity levels (never mind the cleanliness of some facilities :) ).

    My fantasy is to have my own sauna that is large enough to allow me to do my mobility routine :)

  • Everyone is different but this lady found it helpful. I like the heat but I don't do the very hot class. The instructors should be able to help anyone with a health problem and advise.

    I too would love my own sauna :-)

  • Also, I go to a class that is in a purpose built yoga studio and they are very particular about cleanliness!

  • I've been doing yoga stretches in a sauna near me!!! The heat is amazing. Have to stop when other come in obviously. X

  • Oh god. I went to a hot yoga class and as the class went in to warrior pose I felt sweat hit the back of my head from the man behind me. It was vile and I found it very unhygienic. But that was a packed class in London ! Yuck.

  • You can insulate your garden shed and do it. X

  • Thanks Beverley. X

  • My daughter in law teaches hot yoga and a couple of other types of yoga in her studio in Tunbridge Wells and also on paddle boards on a local lake and several swimming pools. She is highly qualified and does yoga for the elderly, disabled and mentally impaired too she has also improved my husbands golf swing as well.A good teacher will be able to supervise your progress. be careful doing it on your own though. She can do the inverted tortoise and is very bendy !! lol x

  • I'm a keen kayaker so I'm especially keen to learn about yoga that is practised with paddle boards. I'm often down in that sort of area for sea kayaking - if you can give me a couple more hints to aid a Google search then I'd be very grateful (if you don't feel it's appropriate to post about your DiL). medway-lady

    Would the phrase

    yoga bright

    be hot or cold, so to speak? :)

  • It's soooooo hard. Yoga on paddle boards you have to have the strongest core. But it's fabulous if you can even stand up. X

  • Yes very hot, hot hot, that's my DIL, a lovely girl and she and my son kayak a lot too.

  • I used to go to yoga classes 3 to 4 times a week before I was sick. when I was sick, I could not even hold a glass or open a door. I could not sit on the floor and squat down. My fingers and elbows were bent and I had muscle wastage and I left with only 38 kg.

    I fight back my filexibility, I listened and followed to my physiotherapists closely. I started very simple and basic exercises where I could catch hold on anything near me to just move my hands up to the pain level I could tolerate. I sat on my fingers to them straight again, I used the pulley to pull my hands up to straighten my elbow.

    After many months, slowly I tested each yoga posts. When I still could not do it, I continue back other exercises that I did and tested the yoga post every week. I was so happy when I could start to do a simple yoga post. Then I could do the most of the basic yoga posts without any problem now. Slowly I picked up Tai Chi 24 forms and I continue this until today. Some days, I will do yoga but most of the morning I will do Tai Chi now. I find Tai Chi is a bit too light for me though, but I sweat a lot doing Tai Chi.

    I am back to my normal life already though I can still feel the difference in my joints. Therefore, do try what you can everyday, you will be back to your normal life again one day if you are consistent enough.

    Below some of the exercises that I did at the beginning of my RA recovery process. I did share a lot of my own experience, you may check them out in my profile if you are interested to know more.



  • Thanks so much Amy.

  • Hi I have recently discovered the Hand Physio/occupational therapy unit at my local hospital...never knew such a thing existed...my rhumatologist referred me...Maybe worth a try. They were very keen to find a way to help me with my problems with writing..

  • Trouble is, I have only seen my rheumy once in 2 months, and the occupational therapist once. She told me to buy lots of gadegets. I just wanted exercises for my hands. X

  • Hi Jules, so sorry your mobility is not good, am sure when medication sets in your mobility will be better. Mine was better after taking Methotrexate and Naproxin, also had a steroid injection when my mobility was bad and that also helped. I am lucky to be able to attend The Robert Jones & Agness Hunt orthopaedic hospital with a centre of excellence for RA. They give you a helpline number to ring if you are in difficulties and you can go in and get advice. So good luck with it all, am sure your mobility will come back.

  • You will be flexible again. With a lot of patience, slow start and gradually progressing with regular exercises I am now more flexible than I used to be. Tai Chi, Pilates no problem. I just have to be sensible (difficult) and not cross the red lines too often. Keep believing! All the best.

  • My wrist was swollen with RA for some months - no other symptoms it was because I stopped my Plaquenil. It took 9 months until my symptoms reappeared and it took 9 months for the plaqenil to work again. I thought when the swelling went away I would be able to bend it. The swelling has been entirely gone for over a year but its still like a rod as it has self fused. Don't want to worry you but to let you know so you get treatment before it fuses ie steroid injection, physio etc. My doctors didnt bother and I wish I had known as I would have insisted on treatment - so I have lost proper use of my wrist but I can still use it to do most things. But agree some Yoga poses are hard and you need to use blocks and other techniques.

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