From Knee Pain to Bees Knees

With no apparent reason, my left knee started hurting when I walk. Very noticeably and enough to cause distress. So the self diagnosis alarm went off. What’s wrong? Is it serious? What action do I take?

So this is a little journey to get from knee pain to bees knees. What is the meaning of bees knees? It means really good, or cool. When bees go from flower to flower, nectar sticks to their legs so the knees of the bee are where all the sweet, good stuff is collected. Sounds much better than knee pain. So here’s my process.

  • First, reduce inflammation. That means taking antioxidants and anti-inflammatory herbs. Vitamin C is always great as a basic thing to take.
  • Second, posture check. Slouching or anything I’ve been doing differently? Posture watch throughout the day to improve posture. Maybe a few situps to tighten ab muscles which help hold the shoulders and neck in place. And time to be sure use those arch supports in my shoes to help the situation. I use the Good Feet Store arch supports and they make a huge difference.
  • Third, stretch and strengthen. I used a yoga class to determine if this is postural or an injury. The day after the class, it felt better, so the stretching helped, meaning some muscles are tight and pulling the knee out of wack. If it felt worse, then I would have most likely inadvertently injured my knee and I would not continue to exercise until the inflammation is down.
  • Fourth, reduce stress. I’m not running all over town or doing anything to aggravate the area, and I take some time to sit quietly and slow down.
  • Fifth, improve sleep. Getting my 8 hours. This is when the body heals.
  • Sixth, get help. I scheduled a visit to my favorite chiropractor to target the problem. Since I have determined that this appears to be structural and the other steps did not made it disappear, those steps now provide a foundation for a visit to the chiro that will hold the adjustment.
  • Seventh, self help. Drinking lots of fluids following the chiropractic visit. Staying on top of it until it goes away.
  • In my case, I needed to improve my posture, and the stretch and strengthen step was the most important. Don’t underestimate the importance of doing some exercises that specifically strengthen the muscles that hold the knee in place. Besides yoga, you can do exercises like these to help get things back in place.

    Knees are so important to mobility. If you have chronic knee pain, start with you spine and your feet to see if some adjustments will help. Then add some basic exercises to balance and strengthen the muscles as above. Don’t dismiss the big difference these things can make. If you reach a point that you think surgery is necessary, but sure to learn about single incision knee surgery. The more precise and less invasive, the faster the healing and better prognosis for results.

    Here’s to bees knees!

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    It’s Official: Yoga Reduces Chronic Pain

    I thought I was on the right track, because frankly, without doing yoga each week, my mobility and quality of life would be drastically reduced. On the days I do yoga, I notice a big difference in how I feel physically and mentally. So it doesn’t surprise me to see research confirming that yoga reduces chronic pain.

    A new study done in Canada says that patients reported significant reductions in their pain levels, as well as a mental boost from practicing yoga. The title of the study tells the story:

    An eight-week yoga intervention is associated with improvements in pain, psychological functioning and mindfulness, and changes in cortisol levels in women with fibromyalgia

    My favorite two poses for back pain are demonstrated below.

    Triangle Pose for Shoulder Blades and Lower Back Pain

    Cat-Cow for Neck, Shoulders and Lower Back Tightness

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    Meditation for Body and Soul: Slowing Down the Mind

    This has been a tough year, demanding more of me than I am sometimes able to give. Even with all the tricks in my bag, I can find myself discouraged and get exhausted. A few weeks ago I had the chance to go sit with a yogi coming through town, to meditate and revive the spirit. What a difference it made for my body!

    Meditation has a magical way of bringing things back into balance. It becomes clear how we get caught up in mental patterns that cause us pain and suffering, both physical and mental. Plus we don’t sleep well for worrying, and we don’t take care of ourselves when we are out of balance. Meditation seems to put things back into balance.

    What does meditation do? Simply, it slows down the raging mind that never has a moments rest. When the mind slows down, the body slows, and we can again breathe and rest. Slowing the body slows the mind, and slowing the mind slows the body. Basically, we need to slow down, Bessy.

    How To Meditate
    I have been a meditator for many years. Meditation is simple. The hard part is making time to sit still, and staying there long enough to allow the mind to slow down. Just sit or lie down with a straight spine, close the eyes, and breathe in and out. Notice the breath go in and out. Just follow the breath and allow your thoughts to come and go.

    Your mind may go berserk with all the things you should be doing, so just say thank you, and let it go. The mind is trying to take care of you but is in an overworked state so it doesn’t function well. So be grateful your mind wants to help you, but let it wait. Stay put for at least 10 minutes if possible, but 20 minutes is better, and work up to an hour. Any amount of time meditating helps, really. In studies they have shown that 5 minutes in alpha state can equate to 8 hours of sleep. But it may take a little while to get to the alpha (slower brain wave) state.

    Here are more detailed instructions, and a link discussing meditation difficulties.
    Breathing Instructions
    Difficulty Meditating

    Like exercise, mediation works wonders. As the wise men and women say, just do it!

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    Dem Bones: The Thigh Bone’s Connected to the Hip Bone

    I talked to someone today who was fresh in a foot boot after falling and injuring her ankle. She said she was going to see a chiropractor tomorrow since she was having hip pain too. It reminded me of when I fell off a ladder three feet to the ground and landed on my wrist. I told the osteopath who took my cast off that my elbow and shoulder was hurting. He informed me that the wrist fracture was healed and there was nothing more to say about it. I was still in excruciating pain, and he had no more to say.

    So today I looked up the fun little song that reminds us that all our parts are connected together with our skeletal structure. Understanding this my friends, is critical to your health.

    Dem Bones

    Your toe bone connected to your foot bone,
    Your foot bone connected to your ankle bone,
    Your ankle bone connected to your leg bone,
    Your leg bone connected to your knee bone,
    Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone,
    Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone,
    Your hip bone connected to your back bone,
    Your back bone connected to your shoulder bone,
    Your shoulder bone connected to your neck bone,
    Your neck bone connected to your head bone,
    Now shake dem skeleton bones!

    Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun’
    Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun’
    Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk aroun’
    Now shake dem skeleton bones!

    Disconnect dem bones, dem dry bones
    Disconnect dem bones, dem dry bones
    Disconnect dem bones, dem dry bones
    Now shake dem skeleton bones!

    Your head bone connected from your neck bone,
    Your neck bone connected from your shoulder bone,
    Your shoulder bone connected from your back bone,
    Your back bone connected from your hip bone,
    Your hip bone connected from your thigh bone,
    Your thigh bone connected from your knee bone,
    Your knee bone connected from your leg bone,
    Your leg bone connected from your ankle bone,
    Your ankle bone connected from your foot bone,
    Your foot bone connected from your toe bone,
    Now shake dem skeleton bones!
    Now shake dem skeleton bones!

    Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around
    Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around
    Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around
    Now shake dem skeleton bones!

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    What It Means To Be Alive

    It’s new year’s day 2011 and what a week it has been. My dear friend and business partner went into the hospital just before Christmas and died a few days later… a sudden, unexpected departure. The moments are blurred and rushing by in the flurry of things to take care of, then there are moments when time stops. I think of my friend gone, and then of me still being here. What does it all mean?

    Today I had this moment of total clarity of this gift of life, or what it means to live this human existence. We live on our little piece of turf, bumping into others, creating meaning and purpose and our model of internal integrity. This is the plane on which we learn and experience the highest and lowest states of existence, and then learn balance and love and contribution. The world awaits your contribution.

    I don’t know if we can really know the greatness of life if we only think with our brain. Is there greater connection and comprehension that comes when we are pushed outside of our daily thoughts? There was this moment of clarity of the great gift of life and the great gift of death. Yes, death can be a gift too, with understanding.

    As we get older, we must get used to loosing friends and family since we will all have our time to go. A great being once said that we live this life in order to die a good death. I think that just means that we live with integrity and find a way to be at peace with ourselves and with the world. So when we die, there is more happiness left behind than anything else, and we free ourselves from regret. We can value this time on earth and forget the limitations. We can live our own purpose and make our own contribution.

    Susan, my friend, lived with great integrity. She was a poet and a social activist, giving her best to make the world a better place. And able to smile and be gentle even in the face of adversity. She left too much undone, but her greatest legacy will be all the people she touched with words and actions. I am so sad, but I am so lucky to have journeyed with her. I am still here, so that means she is still here too, with me in spirit. I hope this makes sense to you, and if you loose a loved one, you will let love expand beyond the grief.

    Happy New Year 1/1/11 to my fellow beings still here with me. Let’s live this year with inner resolve to let go of restrictions and embrace possibilities.

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