Blog / anti-inflammatory alternatives

Tuesday Update on the ol' hip

I'm quite happy to tell you that I'm doing way way better. I have a dull ache in side of my leg/hip when I sit only but that huge pain in the iliopsoas is gone and I'm grateful to be able to move and walk with greater ease. I'm still moving slowly and it's because I'm really babying this leg. I just don't want to overdo it, I guess. I was in Montpelier yesterday morning visiting with some friends for a spirit circle that we share together. Then I walked around a bit through the library. They were having a book sale and this is like heaven to me. I found several books that needed to come home with me. I had a tote bag with me that ended up getting super heavy. Also while in Montpelier, I had a follow up chiropractor appt so I carried the tote bag close to my body so it would be easier to carry. Thankfully, it is just 2 buildings away from the library. I was definitely walking slowly on the sidewalk (LOVE sidewalks!) :-) and I didn't really care if people looked at me funny. I was going even more slowly because I had heavy books. Of course I was like, "Linda, do you really need to carry heavy things like this?" But the answer was yes. I love the book sale at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library! :-) Leita was happy to see me walking better and when I got on the adjustment table she kept saying, "You are doing so much better!" Then I got on the massage table and she went really deep. She said that my muscles feel LOADS better than they did last week and she was impressed with how deep she could go in them. I got off the table and felt very limber and flexible. I went home and got ready for a workshop I had last night on Green Smoothies. Matt made me a green juice because I was just starting to feel the effects of a deep tissue massage. If you haven't had one, they are GREAT but sometimes they can cause headaches in me if I don't drink enough water. If you think about it, there's a lot of lactic acid that gets released when muscles are getting deeply massaged. So it's good to help flush them out. I came home and drank some water but really was jonesing for some greens to help me get adequate nutrition. I don't ever feel like I'm eating unless there's a lot of greens in the meal. The juice was made of: • local lettuce • local kale • local sorrel (wild edible) • local apples • local cucumbers After he blended everything in the Vitamix, he filtered it with one of our nut milk bags and then added some spirulina to it. It was a delicious green green drink and it hit the spot. Somewhere around 4:30 I felt pretty sleepy. I laid down and took a rest. It felt good to be all cozy in bed. The kids were playing with friends and Matt took the day off so he was with them. It was good timing all the way around. I woke up in time to get to the workshop. This is my last workshop for a couple months. I decided to take the summer off so that I could just have a bit less on my plate. Summer is usually a lot of juggling around with kids schedules and so really, it's just substituting one thing for another, to be honest. So that's really my update. I'm still taking the zyflamends, the magnesium, drinking lots of water, massaging my own muscles, walking and keeping them moving. I'm personally quite pleased with the quicker turn around time on this. I went from total immobility to feeling like I'm able to walk and move and sit and pick my feet up whenever I want. I'm not at all at 100% but in the past with these kinds of things, this would have taken a lot longer to get to this point. I asked my chiropractor about this and she said, "Well, if you think about it, for years your body knew how to stay misaligned. The last two years that we've been working on your back with the exercises and the adjustments, your body is remembering how to stay aligned. So it only makes sense that you are bouncing back faster." She's a great helper/healer/chiropractor. Bless her heart. Today I'm going to the cafe to see how I do. I've got some orders to fill. Wish me luck! OH! P.S. This weekend I finally finished Eat, Pray, Love. It's a really good read. Please join me on the Book List. Time for me to start another book:
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hip/leg update

I'm continuing on to give an update on the pain/inflammation that I experienced earlier in the week including what I've been doing to try and treat this alternatively and how that's all going, etc. I'll start by saying that I'm amazed at how fast the body can shift out of something that feels so terrible to something that feels way more tolerable. Yesterday I was moving around the house with a lot more ease. Two nights ago I woke up noticing that I had both my knees up and there was no pain associated with it. I was able to take a shower yesterday, wash my feet, get undressed and dressed again and put socks on. So I'm definitely having a wider range of motion in my hips and legs. I'm still feeling a dull ache in my leg and this is what has been with me the last week and a half or so. Yesterday I was also experiencing sciatic pain which I'm really thinking is because I've been laying on my ass for two days. The other thing I was feeling yesterday was the beginnings of charlie horses in my right hamstring and groin muscle. I'm guessing that my muscles are just a bit worked and it's my job to help them relax and regain strength/flexibility. For the sciatic stuff that was beginning yesterday, I was just massaging down the outside of my hip and leg. I am still taking the zyflamends and they are working amazingly well. I'm eating a vegan diet and a majority raw vegan diet so it's heavy on the greens. That there is no animal fat clogging me up I think is what is helping the most to having this quick turnaround in my body. I can tell you I've had this recurrent pain in my hips over the last 9 years. When I went totally vegan (high raw) and increased my greens is when I started to be able to walk and move again without pain. That is a miracle to me because even while I was doing majority raw for the last nine years, I would occasionally have some kind of meat. When I decided to skip all the meat and add more greens was when I saw a major shift in my health and well being. I'm using the traumeel to rub on as a kind of ben gay. I'm still applying ice packs every couple hours. The massaging, though, seemed to be the most beneficial. That and getting off my ass and moving around a bit to get some circulation going. To help with the charlie horse feeling, again I was massaging my leg but also drank some magnesium Calm (almost a tsp) in a small glass of warm water. I remember reading somewhere about potassium and magnesium helping with cramping and charlie horses and so I figured it couldn't hurt. Also, this was a recommendation from a coupla friends the other day to help with inflammation (one friend is nearly finished with her schooling to be an ND - Go Deanna!) I'm trying to have a dialogue with my body. I don't want to mask over any of the experience I'm having with pain killers because I'm feeling like my body has some important things for me to know and do. I'm not having unbearable pain - it's more like an annoying kind of dull ache. Just the simple act of breathing through the pain has been the biggest way to shift out of it quickly. Even when it was at its worst the other day, I felt a bit like I was in labor because I was just breathing fully and deeply into it and trying my best to experience it waning. It was worse than labor because labor comes in waves, pain lasts for a minute and then goes away for a few minutes before coming back. The pain I had the other day was constant and intense and it was more like the pain when you are transitioning and nearing the time for pushing the baby out. If you had a natural childbirth, then you know what I'm talking about. I found that my body was hurting the more I was trying to move and struggle against i. If I breathed deeply and stayed immobilized, the sharp pains went away. So I'm no dummy, I tried best not to move after that! :-) Funny that both the chiropractor and the ER doctor said when there's an injury the body gives you pain and immobility on purpose, because it wants to protect the injured spot and give it time to heal. Well, that's amazing, isn't it? The problem comes in our heads when we fixate on the pain and think "OMG! What's wrong! Why is this happening?!" instead of breathing and looking for breaks that do come. The body does give us breaks and it does tell us what we need to know if we only shut up our chattering minds and listen. The way that I see physical pain and illness is really just the body trying to get our attention. Basically our bodies begin to yell at us because we were ignoring the piddly annoying things that can occur. I have a deep reverence for the body and all it's wisdom. I am just the student. My body is the wise teacher. The amazing thing is that the body really quickly wants to get to a place of happiness and relaxation (homeostasis) and we tend to slow down that process when we try to numb out, tune out, deal with our minds more or overly fixate on emotions. So my body is responding very quickly and well when I do little things like rub an ache, bring circulation to my tired/overworked muscle, drink lots of water to flush out aches. Thankfully I'm having reinforcements from the chiropractor. She recommended I use ibuprofen if I needed to for the pain (I haven't been needing it since the trip to the ER) but she said, "Remember that sometimes we can do more damage when we mask the pain because we don't feel anything so can overtax the injury and make it take longer to heal." I've been checking in with her to give her updates. I made two massage appointments - one for this Thursday coming up and one for the following Thursday. Leita (the chiropractor) recommended I do this to help the muscles in my body relax and I'll feel even better. So that was an easy phone call to make! I'm also still needing to call and make an appt with the orthopedist. Again, this is the chiropractor's recommendation. She said if it takes a couple/few weeks to get on their calendar, better to make the appt now and cancel it vs. being a few weeks out and this pain is just not going away. I think I've been forgetting to make the appt because I'm feeling so much better (plus I really don't like allopathic medicine.) :-) But I promise I will do it. I have written it down here so I mustn't go back on my word. So that's the latest. I am doing a good job of caring for myself. I am feeling loads loads loads better. It's actually feeling quite good to write this out. This way I can look back on this and see what I've done and the turn around time. I wish I had done this 9 years ago when the first excruciating pain happened. Thank you for reading. By the way, Leita Hancock is my chiropractor. She works in Montpelier and she is a kickass chiropractor. I went to several, as I wrote in the first blog on this subject, in VT as well as in MD when we were living there. Her philosophy is to help get a person to a place where they DON'T require her services and that's why I like her (among other things.) So many places I went were like "OK, you have to see me twice a week, every week for the next 6 weeks and then we'll go once a week after that for about a month and then we'll see where we go from there." When I met her a couple years ago and asked her about this she said that given the pain I was in, she'd want to have me come in every week or couple weeks but she wanted me to do my work of stretching and exercising and help my muscles retain the adjustments. She said she didn't want me relying on her to feel better and that I have to be in charge of my health. And that has been the case and it's a much more empowering place to be.
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not meant to sit still...

This is just a little update. Today I've been continuing with the zyflamend, the extra water, the greens, the traumeel, the ice packs and rest. I've been more mobile today which is great although I'm still trying to take it easy so I don't overdo it. I have to say, I'm tired of sitting with my feet up! :-) I think there's reason why we have movable appendages! I so want to move and I am but I enjoy the ability to move with more ease and flexibility. My kids cheered me on when I showed them that I was walking without a cane! They are so cute.

My ass wants to move though. So I'm going to go and rest and hope to move a even more tomorrow.

I guess it goes without saying that I haven't been at the cafe this week. I'm sorry for anyone that has come to find a closed shop. I hope to be there next week! I'm getting there.

The very last thing I wanted to say is that in these times of illness or pain, it's amazing what one can learn from them. I am looking back to even last week when I was way more mobile and being grateful for that time. I'm also grateful for the feelings of pain, as funny as that sounds. It's definitely a unique human feeling - to be able to feel it, reflect on it, recall it and then express it. Do other animals feel pain and go, "Gosh, that really hurt Bob. I can't recall ever feeling a pain like that." Hey, maybe they do, I don't know but as far as I do know, this is uniquely ours and whether it's a good thing or a less than stellar thing to experience from our amazing senses and spirits, it is uniquely human. I'm also incredibly grateful for each moment that I feel better and am amazed at how quickly the body goes towards health. YAY for the human body! YAY for the human experience!


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weak muscles, pain/inflammation and what I'm doing about it right now

P.S. Before I begin, I'm writing about my OWN experiences here. I'm not advising that you do any of what I'm doing. I *am* advising that you look to your own heart and body for the wisdom it carries and I ask that you find some good support for your health in whatever ways they come to you: ND, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc and so forth. Don't go doing what I'm doing and then give me grief about it not working for you. We are all connected and yet we are all individuals so take care of yourself, be your own shaman, your own healer and DO NOT rely soley on the anecdotal information of others... OK, so now that's done, let me get on with my story... So I'm dealing with an old "war wound" - 9 years old to be exact. I gave birth to two beautiful big babies - the first was 9 lbs 8 oz and the second was 10 lbs 2 oz. The second birth was blissful and amazing. I had a doula (my sister-in-law) with me rubbing lavender oil on me telling me I have the strength of millions of women before me. The second baby was pretty low in my pelvis during that last trimester and she shot out like a canon. I had some serious hip pain from that birth that comes and goes. It used to be super bad - 7 years of pretty bad pain. I got used to it though and managed to do what I could although I was no longer flexible enough for yoga or able to walk or ride my bike. (Doing what I could do meant that I was just living with pain. Sitting, standing, walking, laying down, moving all gave me lots of pain. I just kinda got used to it as a lot of people in this world do.) I had gone to several chiropractors and physical therapists in the beginning. When one chiropractor told me I'd be in pain forever, I went to another one. (Don't tell me about forever! Everything in this world changes!) Finally I met a chiropractor that said, "Why would anyone tell you you'd be in pain forever? Everything changes." I replied, "Wonderful! I just found myself a chiropractor!" In the 2 or so years of seeing her, I've been able to get myself to a place where I'm able to walk 5 miles a day, ride a bike, do pilates and other stretches. She helped me to NOT rely on her for help by giving me exercises to do to help strengthen my body back up. HOWEVER, every now and then I have these recurrences of this "war wound." This past Sunday was the most recent one. This actually was the worst one yet. I'm not exactly sure what I did or didn't do. I was having some aches in my hip and front of my leg for over a week. I had seen my chiropractor (whom I hadn't seen for a couple/few months) and she gave me a tune up. I went home and was still having some aches in the front part of my leg where it meets the pelvis but just kept going on. The tightness in that front muscle (the iliopsoas) was just getting tighter and tighter. On Sunday I was having trouble moving my leg and getting into the shower. Picking up my leg to walk up the stairs was a bit tender, too. On Monday morning it was worse and I thought I would get on the floor and do some of the exercises that I learned to help my pelvis. But whatever I did must have made things worse because a couple hours after I stretched, the tightness turned to spasms. The spasms turned to incredible pain. My body became immobilized and I was shaking like an animal after a trauma. By about 9 pm I thought I might go to the hospital because the pain was so great but decided to take an ibuprofen and put on some ice packs. It was clear that there was inflammation and I didn't really want to get poked and prodded whilst in so much pain. So I asked my chiropractor for her opinion the next morning. She asked me to describe in detail the symptoms and based on what I told her she said that if it were her or someone in her family, she'd probably want to go to the ER or an orthopedist to rule out things like tears and fractures. She said it would be good to go and see and be sent home saying it's a severe muscle spasm but better safe than sorry. Matt was very willing to take me because he had never seen me in that much pain than I was in the night before. The kids, too, were wanting me to go to a doctor and see what they can do for me. So I went and I was nervous about getting and x-ray or MRI. To me, these are invasive and I don't want this or any real allopathic stuff done to me unless there is a broken bone or something. To me, that's where the allopaths are at their best - fixing broken bones, helping with emergency things like rashes or major allergic reactions. We got to the hospital and Matt borrowed a wheelchair so I didn't have to walk. Man, those things are great! I was wishing for one at home so I could be wheeled around to and fro, but really, it was a very fleeting wish and not one that I'd ever really want in my house... I met with the doctor and he asked who my primary care physician was. I told him I go to an ND. He asked if I ever go to an allopath and I said I went to an MD but she moved. (I didn't tell him the real reason why I stopped going to her... I'll save that for another time...) Anyway, he did a few stress tests on me and said he feels like I had a few inflammations going on. He pressed into a few muscles and I winced and he confirmed the inflammations. He didn't feel I needed an x-ray and wouldn't go with an MRI unless I was having this unbearable pain for several weeks. He thought because overall, I'm healthy and wasn't showing signs of nerve damage that it was best to treat this conventionally with a prescription pain killer/anti-inflammatory drug and things like going to the chiropractor, putting ice packs on the muscles, etc. He said that I could use ibuprofen but would recommend I take 4 times the dosage on the bottle. (ee-gads! I thought - 4 times! one ibuprofen really fucks up my stomach!) The nurse came in to give me the prescription and discuss the drug. It had a lot of side effects that I didn't want to bother finding out if I might get them. With both this drug and the ibuprofen, I was told it can tear up your stomach (literally and figuratively) so she advised to eat a full meal before taking it. And with the drug, it was advised not to take it for more than 7 days because I guess bad things could happen like stomach bleeding! Hearing the nurse tell me about the drug, I decided I didn't want any of that. Matt was thinking I was crazy not to take something to help with the swelling and the pain. I said, "if there's less side effects with ibuprofen, why would I take something else?" And then I started thinking about ibuprofen and I thought I didn't really want to take that either! LOL So I asked the chiropractor and she said that there are good alternatives for inflammation and she reminded me about a supplement from New Chapter called Zyflamend. "Oh yea! I have that in the cupboard!" And then I remembered that I have this stuff called Traumeel! OH YAY! I don't have to run to a store! And then I remembered about greens and how wonderful they have been to me, healing me in so many ways. Greens are good anti-inflammatory medicine. The chiropractor told me about big doses of tumeric and ginger. She said that tumeric in high doses can be thinning to the blood. She also said that if a person is prone to gallstones, then it would be better not to use the tumeric. So this is what I'm doing right now and I'll keep you posted on changes and on how I'm feeling: The pain is pretty tolerable at this point (it's Wednesday.) It hurts but I have a pretty high pain tolerance (everything gets compared to labor...) I went to the chiropractor this morning and she adjusted me and gave me a good massage. My muscles feel quite weak from the spasms they've been doing and continue to do. I'm massaging them 3 x/day as my chiropractor showed me in order to get circulation going in them. I'm drinking lots of water and liquids. I'm having green green juices. Matt made me one today that had: • local kale • local radish greens • local lettuces • an orange • 2 local apples • spirulina • filtered water He buzzed that in the Vitamix and poured it through one of our V-Shape nut milk bags. It filtered out really well and was really yummy. I gave a taste to my son and Matt had some too. I've taken double the dosage of zyflamend today. 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. I've rubbed the traumeel on me a couple of times. Friends have recommended magnesium so tomorrow I'll add some CALM to my water and see what that does. I've used the ice pack several times today. Today I've been able to sit up again and walk around with a cane. I'm very slow moving and feel highly connected to my grandmother (she used to walk with a cane after she had half her foot removed from diabetes.) I keep saying, "Hi grandma!" as I gimp along with my shiny blue cane. I was able to go to most of the school play today but found that my muscles were shaking uncontrollably when I got there. They subsided and then on the walk home I was all shaky again. This, I'm guessing, is because my muscles are very strained and it is a great effort for me to walk. Perhaps I was overdoing it for today but I really wanted to see the plays. As it was I had to leave for the last part and missed some of my son's play. He was very disappointed and I feel badly about it. He understood but you know how that goes. Since coming home from the shaky walk back, I've been resting. I put a hot water bottle on my back as I iced my leg, pelvis and hips. I put some more traumeel on my leg and I cried out whatever needed to get cried out. I'm feeling good at the moment. My bed is comfy and the company is good. I'm off to clip some nut milk bags now. I'll keep you posted on this pain and inflammation journey of 9 years. :-)
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