Archive for the ‘Inflamation’ Category

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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    Mobility and Disability

    Fall can be a demanding time of year. First, there are the social happenings: holiday events, family gatherings. A whole lot of moving around. Then there are the leaves to rake, potted plants to move… weather related changes. I love the yard and garden, even though what I do is limited.

    I may I complain about the extra yard work and about finding the extra time for all the holiday hoopla, I am grateful that I can do them.

    I lived with constant back pain for years. Being mobility disabled is a real life changer that you may already know. For my sister who is wheel-chair bound from a motorcycle accident, it is a big deal to even go to the store. My niece’s husband who underwent unsuccessful back surgery has days lost to morphine. A friend with unresolved back pain is rarely able to come to community events.

    So I keep at it. I keep using the 7 steps on pain-in-my-back.com. When my back starts aching or hurting, it is asking for help, which I willingly give. It is my partner in staying mobile.

    A very wise being once told me,  “Take care of what matters.” My mobility matters, so it is worth taking care of. Rather than complain about the inflammation and pain the day after raking leaves, I take arnica and do back stretches. I am grateful that I have the strength and mobility to rake leaves.

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    Weekend Warrior – Oh, My Aching Back!

    A neighbor was having a garage sale and I decided to tag along. Time to clean out the closets and garage! I started at 7 pm Friday for a sale starting 9 am Saturday. Yes, you guessed it, lots of lifting and moving into the wee hours of the night. Not good for the old back.

    When the alarm rang Saturday morning, I could hardly move. My lower back was in pain. My legs and arms were sore. But I had to get up, after all that work to get ready!

    Once the sale was over at 1 pm, I counted my riches and contemplated what to do to ease my back pain. Should I go straight to bed, or keep moving? I had taken some herbs and an aspirin before sleeping, which I know helped keep the inflammation down, but I was limping and moving slow. My right side was getting tighter and my lower back was really aching.

    I decided to go to my 2 pm yoga class at the health club to try to stretch out the muscles that were tight. It worked perfectly. About half way through the class, doing the triangle pose, my lower back  cracked naturally as something went back into alignment. All the stretching helped to release the tightened muscles and bring balance back to my spine. I felt so much better.

    I showered, went to the store, then went home and took a nice nap. I was still so sore I had to cancel a Sunday massage, but my back was no longer in pain. By Tuesday I was ready for the next stupid weekend warrior trick!

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    Oh My Aging Back!

    Well, I had another birthday this week. That how it goes, they just keep coming along. But there is good news, despite my age and my back conditions, I have a very active life!

    The truth is that I have less trouble with back pain these days than I did 30 years ago when I was so young! For years after the first car wreck, I had constant back pain, and it seemed like back pain would be a permanent condition. But alas, that is not the case.

    Even 5 years ago, I would go down with extreme back pain for weeks at a time, sometimes for months. My back would go out of socket, making it difficult to sleep, and requiring constant chiropractic care.

    But the last few years, I’ll get a twinge of back pain, jump into action, using the steps on the main pain-in-my-back.com website, and I’m good to go in a day or two. Sometimes the pain subsides in hours. So the difference as I’ve gotten older is that I made a commitment to take care of my back. I schedule my yoga classes like a meeting, and even give up dinner dates sometimes. It is my physical therapy. Plus, there are things I gotta do on a regular basis. Little things that make a BIG difference.  Here’s what I gotta do:

    • Keep the inflammation down with diet and herbs.
    • Watch my posture standing and sitting.
    • Stretch the muscles to keep things in balance.
    • Strengthen the muscles to stay balanced.
    • Reduce stress in lots of little ways., and do things that make me happy.
    • Get good quality sleep, and enough sleep to be refreshed.
    • Get help when needed from a chiropractor or massage therapist.
    • Keep my self-care commitment.

    See, simple. Over time the injuries can get worse, or can get better. Slow steady progress has reaped great reward for my previously aching back. Happy Birthday, you sweet young thing!

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    Yoga For Back Pain: Why I Love Yoga

    If there is one thing that I would have to say has sustained and helped me the most, it would be yoga. My real progress on bringing back pain and structural problems under my control came when I started doing yoga on a regular basis. A friend of mine who also sat at a desk all day, woke up one morning and couldn’t move. She went into total panic, jumped into surgery, and now is permanently mobility impaired. It was a wake up call for me. It was time for serious intervention.

    I took stock of my habits and my chronic pain and the acute pain flareups that would put me under for days or weeks, even months at a time. I committed to counteracting my chronic bad posture habits with yoga 2-4 times a week to stretch and strengthen the muscles and connective tissue. In short order I felt an amazing difference. The weeks I did yoga, the pain subsided. If I got too busy and dropped out this gentle regular restorative exercise, I would usually lapse into chronic, then acute back pain.

    Yoga stretching gives the most immediate relief. For me it is like getting a 1 hour massage.

    Yoga strengthening takes longer, but it is critically important. Muscle strength is what helps to hold the structure in place. Muscles are strengthened by holding a posture, like standing on one leg, then tilting forward into the dancer pose. You just hold as long as you can, and the time keeps increasing as you get stronger. Leg strengthening really helps balance and mobility.

    And last, yoga relaxation at the end of each class is a time when the mind and body settles into a moment of peace. It is incredibly refreshing.

    At first some yoga postures will feel odd and may reveal a tightness that is painful. A basic yoga principle to to take it slow and always work at your own pace. You push into the discomfort, but back off the pain. So done properly, it should not be painful. I remember at first that my feet and ankles would restrict certain movement. Those things totally worked out over time. But I am still always pushing into my own places of discomfort to release the tightness.

    I recommend going to a class where you can just follow and learn. At my health club, I can go to all the yoga I want. The classes make it fun and keeps it simple. You will find different yoga styles and different teachers, so just find one you like and make sure it is a time you can look forward to .

    I found a good overview of yoga at the link below. I hope you’ll check it out and consider treating yourself to yoga classes.

    http://nccam.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm

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