Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Finally!! Relief....

I've been going to a chiropractor who specializes in joints. In fact, I've got an appointment with him, this morning. I've been using Biofreeze, which, for those of you who don't know what it is, it's sort of like "Icy Hot," and when I've been rubbing it in, I've been using my fingers to encircle the elbow and forearm, and digging into the tissues, I've been "skinning" down my forearms. I've also found a pressure point about an inch down from the elbow, and I've been kneading at it.

My chiropractor is probably not going to be very happy with me, but I have a nearly 100% cessation of pain in both elbows! The first appointment I had, he did a technique called A.R.T., where he applied point-pressure with his thumbs to various points on the elbow and forearm, and had me move my arms in various range of motion movements. That was very effective, and left me pain-free for about three days.

This last appointment, he pulled out some big stainless steel tools and did what's called the Graston Technique, where he applied some kind of lubricating ointment to the skin, and then used the tools to "skin" the tissues, and this is where I got the idea to do it with my fingers, as I applied the Biofreeze. Graston didn't seem to be nearly as effective as A.R.T., but I'll talk it over with him.

I'm thrilled that I'm nearly totally healed. I'm taking a crapload of supplements, though.

In the morning, I'm taking Animal Pak "Lift," which is a joint supplement consisting of about six tablets. I'm taking a fish oil capsule, a multivitamin, an MSM tablet, and a vitamin C tablet. I take the fish oil, MSM, and vitamin C, three times a day.

I'm also stretching my arms several times a day, since I spend most of my day at the computer. I do what's called the "Double Hitchhiker." I stand with my arms straight out and level with my shoulders, thumbs up, like the Fonz on "Happy Days." Then I tilt the thumbs back, back, back, rotating from the shoulders, and when I get my arms rotated back as far as they'll go, then I extend the wrists back as far as they'll go, open my hands up, and stretch the fingers out as wide as they'll go. Basically, what this does is remind the body that the arms rotate from the shoulders. It lengthens and stretches all the tendons, ligaments, and muscles from the shoulders all the way down to the wrists, and opens up the shoulders, chest, and neck. It counteracts the hunched-over and hunched-in position that most of us adopt, when sitting at the computer for long periods of time.

I'm not sure if the supplements are finally kicking in, or if the chiropractic stuff is really starting to work, or if the stretches and kneading are what's making the difference, but whatever it is, I'm just glad that I'm finally healing up. It'll be so nice to be able to go through my days without constant pain, and to be able to really put forth maximum effort in karate, without worrying that I'm damaging myself, or wondering how badly I'm going to hurt, the next morning.


  1. Glad you're nearly healed. Chronic injuries really suck. I haven't (so far) acquired a chronic injury but my husband often gets a recurring groin strain, lower back pain or knee pain. It's annoying for him but he just trains through it until its gone again. Not sure how wise that it but he says that if he stopped training every time he was injured he would never train!

  2. Good news. If you can learn from my mistakes, though, don't think in terms of "healed". It's taken years, but I'm beginning to understand that my lower back will never "heal". I've begun to think about it in terms of "managing" the pain.

    I only say that because I've always had a tendency to treat symptoms. So, once my back feels better, my treatment tends to fall off... then my pain recurs and the cycle starts over. If I stay on the fish oil and glucosamine, and get regular adjustments and massage, I stay healthy.

    As an aside, biofreez is really good stuff. I just picked up a bottle of something called "Enzyme pforesis Ice" by nutri-west. Very different kind of thing. I like it better. It's not as dramatic, but seems to get into the muscles better for me. Smells better, too. :)

  3. Excellent! Although this is a chronic injury, in that, it's taking a very long time to heal, it doesn't appear to be recurrent. I'm hoping not, anyway. I injured it, and without some kind of direct intervention, it's not going to heal on its own.

    My chiropractor thinks that by the sixth visit, I will be totally finished, and if this injury ever returns, then we can jump on it right away and knock it out with one visit.

    He wasn't upset that I'd been working on the elbows on my own. His only concern was that I not do anything to impede bloodflow to the area. (i.e. No constant pressure, no bands or braces, etc.)

    He had the Graston stuff ready to go, but I told him that the A.R.T. stuff seemed a lot more effective, and he said that he suspected it would be, so that's what we did, this morning.

    I'm also continuing my monthly visits to my local chiropractor. I wish he were also a joint therapist, because it would save me a lot of miles and a lot of time, but I rode the motorcycle to my visit this morning, and it was a good day for it.

  4. Do you do rotations, Frank? Your Hitchhiker stretches sound similar. I'd bet that you do but just in case not, for example, when I do my arms I start with my wrists: have my arms straight out, and rotate my wrists in as wide circles as I can manage: 10 times clockwise, 10 times counterclockwise. Then my elbows. Then my shoulders (two sets of 10 when moving my arms in wide circles, two sets with my arms staying at my side.) I also do this for my neck, back, waist/hips, knees and ankles. Takes about five minutes but it really helps with joint stuff. :)

  5. I'll try that, James. Thanks!

  6. Great news! I glad your elbows are feeling better.

    I agree with Steve's comment. Even though my knee surgery was over 3 years ago, I continue to do the strengthening exercises and stretches. In fact, I should do the same with my foot stretches.

  7. :-) Yep. I'm definitely going to keep up with the stretches, and I'm starting some gradual strengthening exercises for my wrists and forearms, too.