It was 7 years ago that I played tennis with my family. We had cycled to the tennis court, played for an hour or so and cycled home again. That night my arm and neck had incredible pain in them and I could hardly move let alone sleep. It was clear something very bad had happened. In the end it was three prolapsed discs, about a year of recovery and a couple of years to get rid of the arm pain completely. The damage to my confidence was not so ‘quick’ to heal.
Sunday was a beautiful day. Cold but sunny. A perfect day for tennis!!! In the quest for normality this was a goal I had set myself. I love tennis. It reminds me of my carefree days as a child hitting a ball to a friend or against a wall. Summers where there were very little worries.
With my mind firmly set on my ability to spot and get out of trouble should it arise we had a lovely afternoon with the children on the tennis court. A walk rather than cycling to the court was the pre-match warm up and a walk home was the warm down. I know from the many previous times where I have embarked on exercise or sport it takes up to three days for the inflammation process to kick in with a vengeance. After the game I used a plai oil/argan oil blend (4 drops plai to 15ml argan) to massage my lower back and neck to hopefully stave off any inflammation (the temptation to use some NSAID’s was great but I knew I wanted to know if I could survive without). I did some back ironing, a small amount of spinal rolling and a little tennis ball massage as well. That evening I watched tv for 30 minutes lying on the floor with my legs up on a bean bag. I hoped and hoped…..
The next day….a comfortable night, thankfully. A slightly stiff neck, sore shoulder and fragile lower back…..that’s all so far! Fingers crossed for day 2 and 3! I’ll continue with the exercises very gently and also using my Alexander Technique knowledge to reduce any tension in the vulnerable areas…..
Could this be the start of the next stage of rehabilitation?…..only time will tell.
Anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID) is commonly used along-side pain relief medication and muscle relaxants to help with back and neck problems. For years I have longed for a natural anti-inflammatory. By that I mean a natural alternative to Ibuprofen (commonly called Advil in the US), Voltaren (diclofenac) or Naproxen which are used for their anti-inflammatory properties. These medications over many years have caused stomach problems (common side effect) and I needed another option to deal with inflammation which didn’t have these side effects.
Pill tablet (Photo credit: @Doug88888)
A good friend of mine who is a therapist and understands essential oils recommended I look into Plai oil. It’s used commonly in Thailand for massage and thought to have a cooling anti-inflammatory effect. I researched it myself and felt comfortable using it, both neat (on a small area of the body) and in a carrier oil. (I recommend you do your own research and look into what carrier oils work best for you). I am pleased to say it helps. Its exciting to have at last found something which I can use safely instead of the other medications.
For those in similar circumstances with stomach problems from use of NSAID’s I have found after a couple of years using Omeprazole medication I have managed to heal my stomach and am now medication free. I will use plai oil or ibuprofen gel occasionally as needed. There were many days previously when I felt I would never recover from the stomach problems I had. I couldn’t eat spicy or very savoury food. Alcohol was not really possible unless it was a small amount of something like a very sweet wine and so my diet was fairly bland. However things did improve with time. I am now back to a normal diet and manage any pain with the oil or gel as described above.
As always, do your own research and see what works best for you. Its pretty satisfying and dare I say empowering!!!
(Sarah does not have a medical background so it is emphasised that her blog is the result of her experiences and listening to others only. Before doing any of the suggestions contained in her blog, check with your doctor if you have any concerns on how they may affect you)