I suffer from a few musculoskeletal issues, including:
- Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), which often result in tension headache and tight neck
- Frequent neck injuries
- Sacroiliac joint problems
- Plantar Fasciitis
I also used to have knee problems (diagnosed with patella tendonitis), but that went away when I started lifting weights correctly. You hear that right – lifting heavy things fixed my knees, but I digressed.
These musculoskeletal problems were diagnosed years apart, so it’s not that I am a hypochondriac, but more like someone who was so competitive that I eventually accumulated all those injuries. Those are all despite having misaligned jaws and scoliosis, which has caused me to be injury prone. My competitive and athletic nature doesn’t help, either. (Although I do think that I do thrive and learned to survive these problems through training.)
Instead of simply calling it bad luck and telling myself that I would physically amount to nothing, I decided to use my body as a textbook and see what I could do with my body, as well as what would work the best to heal it.
Now, this is the attitude I take towards my musculoskeletal problems (subtracting the heartbreak).
Not only do I seek to heal from these problems, but, to a stronger extent, I simply wanted to be a beast despite the musculoskeletal issues. I am dying to get a kettlebell certification (which requires snatching a 16 kg/35 lb kettlebells 100 times in 5 minutes), but I can’t snatch a light kettlebell without injuring my neck. I want to compete in powerlifting and strongman, yet I keep hitting walls in my training because of my imbalances.
So far, I’ve tried (and will write about this later):
- 4 different forms of Chiropractic Treatments
- Osteopathic Manual Therapy
- Infrared sauna
- Massage Therapy
- Foot Orthotics
- Post-rehab Personal Training
- Biofeedback Training
- High dose curcumin extract
I can’t straighten out my scoliosis completely, and thankfully it’s not bad enough for a surgery. However, instead of a touch-and-go cure, this has been a journey. Some days, I am gloriously pain free. Other days, I am dealing with either nuisance levels of pain or full on full on debilitating pain.
Now, it comes to measures to overcome pain. I refuse to use a painkiller over the counter medications, especially NSAIDs, because it is a burden to the liver, and it can directly cause intestinal permeability. At first, NSAIDs can reduce pain and inflammation, but if you keep taking it day and night, the perpetual intestinal permeability is going to cause chronic, long term inflammation. And that can make the pain worse. Therefore, I choose to control pain naturally, be it acupuncture or essential oil.
Oil of wintergreen contains methylsalicylate, which is the same chemical as aspirin, an NSAID painkiller or analgesic. At first, I wondering if using oil of wintergreen on my skin can cause any of the side effects that taking it internally would. When my pharmacist friend who is also a functional medicine practitioner confirmed that it doesn’t cause the problem when used externally, I feel quite safe using it to mitigate my musculoskeletal pain.
When I received my first bottle of wintergreen essential oil, I tried to apply to the joints that are bothering me, and found that it did help to some extent. However, it does burn the skin, so I would have to dilute it. When it is mixed with other cooling, calming, and anti-inflammatory oils like peppermint, ginger, and frankincense, that’s when it works really well.
I don’t just go to the pharmacy and buy an analgesic well because, first, most of those products contain just menthol as an active ingredient. Second, most things in the pharmacy contain toxic preservatives that I would rather not have on my skin. Thirdly, I just like making my own things and having control of what goes into my body. Lastly, the small roller format is very convenient to always keep in my purse and dab on when and where I need it.
Now, the only caveat of using essential oils is that you will smell like it. But so far this is so effective that I don’t want to go back. I researched other oils that have some anti-inflammatory effects, and was able to create a synergistic blend that really works to reduce the pain. I’ve used it on my head, neck, and shoulders, lower back, hip, ankles, and on the arch of my feet for plantar fasciitis. Even when my sinuses get a little swollen, I dabbed a little on the sides outside of my nose (where the sinuses are), and this seems to take it away. I always have one of these sticks in my purse.
Natural Pain Relief Essential Oil Stick (for a 10 ml stick)
1. 3 ml peppermint essential oil
2. 2 ml oil of wintergreen
3. 2 ml jojoba oil with 3% helichrysum (equivalent to 2 drops of Helichrysum essential oil)
4. 1 ml of eucalyptus oil
4. 1 ml of lavender essential oil
4. 5 drops each of clove bud oil, ginger essential oil, vetiver essential oil, and frankincense essential oil
Measure each of the essential oils with a dropper or syringe and put in the 10 ml roll-on stick (for ones that ship in Canada, see this), mix well and use on areas of pain. Avoid contact with eyes and open wounds.
Alternatively, you can estimate 1 ml of oil by counting the drops. 1 drop is approximately 0.027 ml, so 37 drops is 1 ml.
PS I get my essential oils wholesale from New Directions Aromatics, which ships in Canada and the US. While I love essential oils, I am not an affiliate or independent distributor for any company, and will not be because I am happy with the quality and pricing of the oils from NDA.