Yoga for Caregivers: The Natural Way to Relieve Stress & Pain

A couple of years ago, as I jay-jogged across a busy avenue from my parking spot to the building where I worked, I felt a sharp paint shoot up my leg and into my hip. I'd had some nagging pain issues there for a time, but since I have three types of arthritis and am hardly young, this wasn't surprising. Still, it was frustrating.

My mother had undergone double hip replacements and I figured, grudgingly, that my time was nearer than I thought. The hip pain kept getting worse. I found myself wincing as I walked to get the mail. I even developed enough of a limp that my colleagues noticed a change in my normally rapid gait.

I finally made an appointment with a chiropractor I'd seen from time to time. I trusted him, as he knew and respected arthritis issues, and was careful not to do any harm. He manipulated gently and did some acupressure and tapped me in the tight spots with his little rubber hammer. He commented on my tight lower back, not unusual for someone who sits at a keyboard all day.

The treatments helped some, but never lasted. Sometimes, I'd experience numbness the next day. One day, an idea flashed across my little pea brain. "Gee, Honey, you haven't done your yoga routine for, um, 3 years?"

During the mid-70s I received, through a book club, a "free gift" about natural beauty and such. The book wasn't of huge interest to me as I am lazy about such things and still had hippy hair, but I did notice a nice yoga workout. I'd suffered from migraines since my teens, and thought this stretching routine might help the migraines. I've always been unusually limber, so the "workout" seemed effortless. But I did it because it did feel kind of good.

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Over the span of two decades, author, columnist, consultant and speaker Carol Bradley Bursack cared for a neighbor and six elderly family members. Her experiences inspired her to pen, "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories," a portable support group book for caregivers.

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