Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Cure for Old Knees

Marlene Dietrich once said, “Careful dress and grooming can take 20 years off a woman’s age but nobody can fool a flight of stairs”.

We are only as old as our knees think we are
Many people believe that it is normal to expect that our bodies are going to wear out and break down.  Is this true in all cases?  Perhaps we give in too soon.  I’d like to share my personal process of bringing my feet and knees back to health.  I am living proof that our bodies can heal and repair and that there is real value in an alternative approach.

Walking the talk! 
 The last three years have been a limp of faith for me. I love to dance.  Five years ago, I decided to take ballroom dance and I now have my bronze level in 7 dances.  I fast tracked with the goal to complete this within three years… high heels.

I have moved my home and office 3 times within the last 8 years and have done extensive remodelling each time.  Read ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’.   I have a gift and passion for designing small spaces. I love giving that part of me free rein.    

Two of these re-locations required 3 months of work each.  As a result, I have had the joy and satisfaction of creating unique and beautiful home and work spaces.  On the dark side, my poor old body has to bear the brunt of these Olympian  projects.  

If my body were a horse I’d have been reported to the SPCA.

This is going to read like the never ending saga, so if you don’t want the morbid details…..quit while you still can.

Move #2
Three years ago on after a stressful move, I could hardly stand on my feet.  If I put one shoe on I couldn't put my weight on that foot to put the other shoe on.  I still had to paint, unpack my home and office and get back to work as soon as possible.  So why did this happen all of a sudden?

The truth is it wasn't all of a sudden.  We are taking about 60 years of history here.  I was looking at acute and chronic elements affecting many major systems of my body:  structural, immune, circulatory, urinary, hepatic, lymphatic and nervous system. 

Arch Supports and Orthotics
I’d like to make a comment about arch supports and orthotics.  Architects will be the first to tell you about arches and how the pressure from above makes them stronger.  Putting pressure from beneath them makes them weaker.  Many people swear by arch support technology, but I have to say that they make no sense to me. I wasn't looking for a crutch.   I wanted my feet back.

What I Chose to do
I made an appointment with my brilliant RMT (Registered Massage Therapist).  She began to work on the structure of my foot, and began to break down and iron out the scar tissue that had built over time in the arches of my feet.  This condition is called ‘Plantar Fasciitis’.  

With Plantar Fasciitis the plantar muscles can begin to shorten and if left untreated, can pull the heel bone forward and down, which then causes bruising when you put weight on it.  Also when you step down and the tissues aren't warmed up, the tissue rips a bit more and the body creates more scaring in its attempts to heal the tearing.  This can be reversed.  During treatments I practically had to bite down on a belt because this procedure really hurts.  This took a few visits. 

Next, I made an appointment with a reflexologist.  She started easing the general structure back to mobility.  She said I had ‘uni-foot’.  It felt like a block of wood.  Over the next few weeks, my feet began to articulate in the way that they were designed.  Then she started on the reflexes.  Many were painfully active.  The significant ones were the kidney and urinary reflexes which were active for many weeks as was the sciatic nerve reflexes. 

The sciatic nerve runs all the way from the atlas wedge in the neck (C1) down the back, divides in two and runs down the legs to the heel.  Most people complain about the pain in their leg or in one buttock, but I noticed the inflamed nerve issues in my heel and feet.  Working with kidney drainage and getting the nerve inflammation down was the piece that I know well, so I put myself on’ a taste of my own medicine’.  Inositol, (a water soluble B factor vitamin) by the way is a big player when you need to get the inflammation down quickly in the nervous system.  I took about 8 to 12 capsules a day for about a week then reduced to about 4 a day.  

After several reflexology visits, and time, and some wise self-care my feet were feeling mint
Move #3
Two years ago I started renovation on an upstairs flat which took three months to become livable.  This required 10 and 12 hour days, 6 days a week.  In addition I was trying to keep up with my client needs. 

I moved before I had finished painting the walls.  Within 5 days I left for a 10 day trip to Texas.  I took the opportunity to rest.  I had 10 hurting digits and knees that felt broken.  When I got back home, only my thumbs were still hurting.  Hurting or not, I launched into painting walls and getting my life settled again.

Last May I was carrying my groceries in a back-pack while I carried my bike up 3 steps onto the porch.  When I put the combined weight on my left leg I heard a huge ‘crunch’ and my knee gave out.  It hurt so badly I thought I had broken something. 

Getting the inflammation down is the first thing.  Putting a bag of frozen peas on it and using homoeopathic Arnica helped.  After this injury I started to experience wicked leg cramps when my knees were flexed that did not respond to magnesium supplementation.  (For the keeners I will list all assorted products used near the end of this article.)

Lucky for me I know really clever people in the healing field.  My colleagues (RMT and Electronic homoeopathy) helped me figure out what was going on.  The chronic bit was scar tissue that had built up over time to the point where my knee was pushed slightly out of joint.  When I put the weight on it that fateful day I crunched through the scar tissue.  I was left with stretched and misaligned tendons, ligaments and cartilage. I couldn't put any lateral flexion on the injured knee at all.   This made trying to sleep a whole lot of fun!

I also had circulation congestion (bruising and blood clot) issues that were chronic (ageing) in my legs which was the underlying issue in the cramping.  This congestion also can contribute to restless legs. Kidney drainage (congestion) causing swelling and fluid in the knees was also a root concern.  There were a list of usual suspects (infections such as bacteria, parasites, mixed infections and their TOXINS in my system and especially getting stored in my knees).  I also had to address the poor circulation to my extremities.  If the blood is not flowing well, the healing potential body in the local area will not detox well or receive nutrition well either.  There was still scar tissue needing to be broken down in both my knees.

The key modalities were massage therapy, reflexology,electronic homeopathy, nutritional, herbal and homeopathic therapies.

Here is a list of products and why
I didn't take them all at once, but this is the general list of players over the last 10 months:

Prickly Ash Combo – herbal - circulation

Cleavers Combo - herbal - blood, lymph, liver, kidneys

Borage Combo – herbal – adrenal, immune

Nettles tincture – herbal – blood – minerals

Glucosaplex – natural anti-inflammatory with kidney drainage built in and a highly absorbable glucosamine

MSM Glucosamine – connective tissue nutrients for repair to joints

Unda # 25 for arterial and circulation clean up

Unda # 33 for clean-up of peripheral circulation

Unda # 258 – joint drainer – liver and kidneys

Pinus Montana – herbal/homeopathic to stimulate repair of joints and bone surfaces.

Anti-inflam – herbal – to reduce swelling

Vegan Protein – building blocks for repair

Essential Fatty Acids – anti-inflammatory and lubricates the joint surfaces/ nervous system nutrition

Hyaluronic Acid – increase synovial fluid in joints

Cina homeopathic/Oil of Oregano/Echinacea Mix 1 – infection fighters

Vege Greens – detoxifier and general nutrition

Liquid magnesium – feeds muscles

Juncturinum Plex – helps stimulate repair of joints and bone

Super Cal Mag – minerals

Flora Salushaus liquid cal-mag – highly absorbable minerals and nervous system nutrition

Sinew Plex – nutrition for building and strengthening connective tissue

Topical creams:
I started out using Trammel gel.  This helped for the initial swelling.  Then I switched to arnica topical cream and Now brand MSM, arnica and Glucosamine liposome lotion.  I used Minute Muscle Relief cream.  I have Guinea- pigged almost everything my suppliers had available during the last 10 months.

Here is the mixture that worked the best for providing comfort and healing - swelling, pain, re-sprains, re-strains and bruising (circulation).  Apply morning and night or as often as needed to find relief.

Arnica cream - 1 part (Unda)

Minute Muscle Relief cream (Peaceland) – 1 part

Devil’s Claw cream (Genestra) – 1 part

PharMax ‘delivera’ compound base cream (Seroyal) – 1 part


Resting the injured part of our body is often the missing ingredient.  Wisdom prevails.  We need to determine what approach will speed the healing process.  Do we push on through or do we give the injury total rest. 

Re-injury is the factor that slows down healing.  Few of us have lives where we can rest completely.  I tried to find the healthy balance where I was able to rest my knees (the local area) but get enough movement to promote and enhance circulation and lymph flow.  Keeping muscles strong and toned prevents undue strain on the associated connective tissues.

I'm back on track, wearing flip flops, or bare feet (my favourite).  I'm biking, walking and playing with horses.  I can trust that ol' knee to get me safely in the saddle.  

A Desire to Heal
The path of healing chronic issues isn't for the faint of heart, but when we truly desire to heal,  it is a matter of patiently peeling though the layers in priority. Take it a step at a time; work with what presents itself and then as each layer resolves, go deeper.

Whew!  This was wordy.  Great that you stuck with it to the end.
Keep well_  Nelda

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