Pain, Inflammation, Good Habits, and Essential Oils
I hate to say that I’m lucky to have learned from my husband’s injury and then journey to wellness, but, hey, it’s true.
In 1969, before they were doing successful surgeries on broken necks in Omaha, Nebraska, my husband broke his neck in a car accident. He was lucky that he wasn’t paralyzed and elected to let it go without surgery. His pain gradually increased. A few years ago, his neurologist sent him to a neurological surgeon who suggested it was time to have the surgery. As he went on to get other opinions, I had the bathrooms made wheelchair accessible. The other neurosurgeons said, “don’t do it; he’d end up a vegetable.” One sent him to pain management. He went to three different pain management, and due to the tricky placement of his vertebrae, he couldn’t get shots or pain medication.
One neurosurgeon referred Gary (my husband) to an acupuncturist who’d helped his mother with severe pain. He went to that doctor once a week for a couple of months, then every other week, and then once a month until we moved to Florida. He found an acupuncturist he had seen here for a few months, and he no longer has neck pain. He still doesn’t have mobility in his neck, but the pain is gone.
At the same time, he was tapering down his treatments; I had a significant trauma to my left arm, a compound fracture that required almost 100 screws, several plates, a rebuilt elbow, and a TON of physical therapy. Without whining and complaining, I will tell you my arm is almost 100% functional today (this was 2020).
The secret we learned from the acupuncturist that we applied to what I learned from the physical therapist was peppermint oil.
Hot and Cold
The first thing I did during physical therapy was warm my arm for ten minutes. Then, I’d get a massage, get tortured with movement beyond what I thought my arm would do, exercise, and then, I would cry, go home, and ice it. When I moved to Florida, I continued with the same, but I adjusted because of an insurance failure. I used my hot tub, peppermint oil and Deep Blue Rub (a cream like Icy Hot, only stronger) and then did my exercises. I then went to the physical therapist and heated up again for more heat, massage, and measurements.
When I was in the hot tub, I could bend my arm and wrist for a better range of motion than most people my age without an injury.
I don’t want you to think I did all the work to recover. I had a superstar orthopedic surgeon who had me transfer to his orthopedic hospital where he’d have more special little parts to rebuild my arm better. I thank God for doctors like him who love what he does and enjoy the challenge injuries like mine bring. There is, however, a lot of inflammation and fear after the fact. There was a period when the physical therapist thought they might have to put me under and manipulate my arm to break up the scar tissue. I’m grateful not to have done that.
The secret with the pain was to put the peppermint oil on first and then the Deep Blue. It helped with the pain so fast that you wouldn’t believe it. My mom uses it for her back. I keep her supplied. A few weeks ago I was going to a ladies luncheon with my neighbor, Mary. Mary is a gem among women. She couldn’t walk. She’s been through the ringer with her leg. First she had cortisone shots, then she had some kind of fat shot into her knee, and next is knee replacement. Mary is 81. She couldn’t get into my little sedan, so I drove her to lunch in her SUV. When we got back, I rubbed some Peppermint Oil, then Deep Blue on her knee. I left her and went home. The next day I ran into a friend of hers and a neighbor of mine, and they asked me what I did for Mary, they wanted me to tell their daughter who had chronic pain. Mary texted me and told me she felt like she’d seen a holy man (I’d do one of those eye roll emojis here if I could), the point was, she could walk again and she said she went from 95% pain to 5%. That’s pretty good. She went to the doctor in three days and he told her to keep using the peppermint oil and Deep Blue, they’d put off her knee replacement for another two months. It is miraculous and she’s back to walking her dog again.
Inflammation is when a part of the body becomes swollen, hot, doesn’t function, and/or painful as a reaction to injury or infection.
There are accepted habits to reduce inflammation for better health and quality of life.
- We can eat anti-inflammatory foods. (see the list below)
- We can stop eating inflammatory foods. (see the list below)
- We can stay active. (spend 25 minutes outdoors being active)
- We can maintain a healthy weight. (being overweight creates more inflammation)
- We can manage stress. (breathe in for five and hold for seven and out for ten, four times in the morning and four times in the afternoon) (laugh), (meditate or pray daily)
- We can get a good night’s sleep. (establish good sleep hygiene)
Acute Inflammation can be caused from:
- exposure to an allergen
- trauma or injury
- an infection
Factors that increase the risk of chronic inflammation include:
- unhealthy diet
- poor diet
- hormone imbalance
- sleep deficiency
The Mediterranean diet is the go-to dietary theory for those who want to reduce inflammation. We’ve worked with this as omnivores, carnivores, pescatarians, vegetarians, vegans, and whole-food, plant-based.
Mayo Clinic says that “there is no single anti-inflammatory diet, the general approach is a balance diet full of fresh, wholesome foods.”
- Olive oil, Coconut oil, sesame oil (not whole-food, plant-based China Diet)
- high fiber foods
- leafy greens
- fatty fish (no for vegan, vegetarian, whole-food, plant-based)
INFLAMMATORY (DON’T EAT)
- fried food
- processed foods
- red meat
- saturated or transfats
- Refreshing, cooling, uplifting, and restorative
- Can be used internally, aromatically, and topically
- Example of uses:
–Energy, Increased Alertness
- Purifying and stimulating the conscious mind. It may aid memory, concentration, and mental performance. It may help to decrease low self-esteem and combat insecurity. Aids in meditation to increase intuition.
- Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, astringent, expectorant, stimulant
- Topical – neat
- Topical – dilute 1:1 for children and sensitive skin
- Apply to reflex points and areas of concern
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