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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tools in the Arsenal

As my body goes back and forth on whether it likes what I'm doing (absolutely nothing) to what it never wants me to do again (apparently a 1 1/2 mile walk that I consider easy ticked it off but good Sunday night into Monday), I have built up quite the arsenal to attempt to combat the pain.

My chiro offers Bemer therapy which is touted by hardcore athletes as key to help aid in their recovery.  At $50 a pop and recommending several sessions before being able to see the potential benefits, that is not something sustainable for me.  Theirs is a full-length pad that is over $10K for them but I found this one (affiliate link) online that was recommended by other Bemer patients that got good reviews.  It's the equivalent of if I'd gone to five sessions and I get to keep it so that's a bonus for me and the chiro was actually really excited I got one.   I'll be honest, I have no friggin clue if it works because my legs are basically dead nerve wise.  The chiro can go to five with me on his ultrasound machine and he's told me people will literally jump off the table at two.  The pad enhances microcirculation and other patients say they get the same pain relief that Bemer gave them but I haven't really had pain relief with it.  What I did have is that as long as I do 30 minutes, if I have twitching muscles, it will calm that down.  I can also tell you if you lay your head on it for 10 minutes before you go to bed, you will have dreams that make you think you took some trippy drug left over from a bag in your parent's attic.  They say that laying your head on it will also dilate the vessels helping to potentially keep dementia at bay.  You know I'm all over that.

Spiky balls are my saving grace sometimes.  I remember the Mr initially got it for his plantar fasciitis but it was too hard for him to use without feeling like it was going to impale him.  I felt the same way until whatever is going on with my ankle/foot started.  It's almost like this layer of impenetrable fascia has formed and this ball is the only thing that will make it feel a little less stiff.  Luckily, there is a combo pack of both soft and hard (affiliate link) for the days I need to just keep things a little loose or dig until there's no tomorrow.

Starting yesterday, I began using my portable at home ultrasound machine again.  When I had TTS, this was the only thing that really helped the nerves stop firing and I was pretty consistent with it.  This is nothing like the big boy at the chiro but I think the consistent use of this may help with the horrible scar tissue that is rearing its ugly head in my upper gastrocnemius.  It was rock hard after walking Sunday night and actually woke me in the middle of the night into Monday.  This model (affiliate link) is similar to the one I have so I can't vouch for it but it is pretty close to what I have.  I am pretty sure the nonstop PT I have been doing for a year has built up such bad scar tissue that it contributed to the leg horrors of Valentines night because when I push on it, I feel it in my inner thigh a bit.  I MUST be consistent about using this daily so it along with the 50 other things I have to do just to stay upright should only take 4 hours a day.  :-|

If you've been here any length of time, you know what a fan the Mr and I are of The Stick.  (affiliate link)  I've had ours for 4 years and it's a Godsend.  Anyone who runs, exercises at all or just is mobile should have one of these.  Matter of fact, it was right beside me and I just stopped and rolled that hard knot on the gastroc and it feels a little better.  I didn't want to dig in too much since I just used the ultrasound on it too.  It gets in those places that a big ol' foam roller just can't quite touch.  I even got a travel size that is in the car at all times because sometimes I need the relief if we're doing a long shopping day and especially for road trips, the Mr's leg gets fatigued and this helps him big time.  Click the same link above and just choose the 14" one if you're interested.

Another thing that really helps is our vibration board.  (affiliate link) It still amazes me even as recent as last night how you can stretch, release muscles and do all of that fun stuff after a workout and you put your legs on that thing and it tells you right away that you are STILL stiff inside.  There's a 7 minute program that just shakes the hell outta ya and by the end of it, my legs feel so much better from the blood that is getting into those sore spots.  So grateful the Mr found it and insisted on buying it.

I was listening to this video the other day from a holistic personal trainer and he talks about contrast therapy which is alternating cold and hot.  So according to what he was researching, he said by applying cold, it constricts the blood flow to the area and you apply that for 10-15 minutes and then he said to wait say five minutes and then apply warm compresses and that opens the vessels and also releases some kind of repair cells to help speed the healing process and then repeat the process a few times.  I have this pliable ice wrap (affiliate link) that I can wear as I do stuff around the house which works perfectly for the ankle too.  Then I used this microwave heating pad  (affiliate link)to use for the warm compress.  I only started that the night before last so I can't give any kind of report on that method yet but fingers crossed.  It makes sense and at this point, I will take any aid to speed healing.

Speaking of that, he also mentioned speeding the healing of a soft tissue injury, that using grass-fed collagen is a good idea as it helps repair the body.   I bought this stuff (affiliate link) a few months ago but discontinued the use of it when it started plugging me up.  To be fair, I wasn't drinking water very well like I am now so I just started adding that back in.

Since the cramping of mid-month, I've also been faithful about taking my Nature Calm magnesium supplement (affiliate link) morning and before bed which is the #1 thing they recommend for leg cramps.  I have it but didn't take it regularly because it takes so long to dissolve sometimes.  So I might switch to a supplement because I know based on when I track regularly, I am deficient for sure.  I typically only get in 30% of my recommendation and I think I saw the supplement at TJ's is 50% so if I can shoot to get half by supplement and half by food alone then I think that's a good goal.

This is probably only half of the various things I use but they're the big ones.  I wanted to list the things that work best for me to hopefully give someone else out there having leg/muscle issues somewhere to start.  It's not fun but it's good to know there are things out there to help and it's important to consistently re-evaluate what is and isn't working.

What are your go to "after care" products for your problem spots?

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  1. The Stick is the bomb. I love what that can do for my legs on a long drive. It's great to use at a rest stop and refresh my legs for the next, er, leg, of the trip. I love that vibration board too. It can make tired feet feel so much better but after a workout you are correct, it is amazing how it can manage to get your muscles in spots that stretching cannot. I also found our TENS unit to be helpful during my shoulder recovery. I think the biggest takeaway from all this is that we live in a time where you can get a lot of great medical devices for the home that, while initially expensive, pay for themselves rather quickly and provide relief when you need it instead of making you wait until you can get an appointment. If only that full size BEMR pad wasn't so expensive!

  2. It's exhausting just reading about all of these devices you have to use. I hope someone gets you some long-term answers soon about what's going on so that you don't have to spend so much of your time just trying to feel normal.

  3. The main things I use are heat and ice and I have a few gadgets for those. I'll use a TENS machine if I have to, but for the compressed discs in my back it doesn't help alleviate that nerve pain, so I don't use it often. Probably my favorite item (besides my rice thingies) is my foot massager. It has the rolling balls both both the ball of your foot and your heels (which I'll use for the my arches which feels so good) as well as a true heat option. I'll even use that for my wrists and hands when I've been doing a lot of computer work and it feels amazing.

  4. Have you tried gelatin for the joint pain? I took it in hope is would improve my nails (it didn't) but a side effect was a decrease in foot and back pain. It's a bit of work to fit it in so I don't take it every day like I should but when my plantar fasciitis acts up I start taking it again and usually feel better in a day or two. I order it in bulk from amazon but when I first tried it used plain old Knox from the grocery.

    Love my TENS for join pain, especially my back. I've seen the hot/cold recommendation for muscle issues but read that joints are a bit more particular so I only use hot or cold if specifically recommended by a doc. I got the stick when you recommended it a few years ago but the places I need it (calves, inner thigh) are really hard to work on alone and my deary hubby has no finesse when it comes to working on my muscle pain. He's either too gentle or WAY too rough.

  5. Would love more info on BEMR pad. I have a few people pushing them in a MLM group I am in but these people seem to jump from MLM group to the next for the $ and have an interest in selling me one.

    1. The link to mine isn't the brand name one but is supposed to be an equivalent. I'll be honest, I think my legs are so screwed up that I would need at least 45 minutes on it to penetrate the way it would on a normal person for 20 minutes. So I know it has been helpful for others but I don't dedicate enough time to it to be able to feel these remarkable benefits people claim to get. Again, both me and my chiropractor think my legs are a stubborn exception to the rule though. Sorry, I doubt that helped.


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