Twenty years ago, I was in a car accident that injured my neck, sternum and lower back, which affects my legs. Think whiplash that started at my waist rather than my neck. I am grateful that I was wearing a seatbelt, which prevented me from going through the windshield. However, between the seat back breaking and the seatbelt holding me but allowing me to twist and thrash about, I sustained damage that caused me to spend the next five years in physical therapy, doctors’ offices and pain management clinics. Overall, I fared better than was expected although pain has been my constant companion and I walk with a limp. The pain is manageable most of the time. Occasionally, I have a flare up of sciatica, especially down the left leg.
When the sciatic nerve gets inflamed, I slow down a bit and up my self care until it subsides. This flare up has been ongoing for weeks, increasingly limiting my ability to walk, or sit comfortably or sleep well. I learned last year, when I had a flare up right before my trip to Scotland, to listen to the messages my body sends me and respond with love, patience and encouragement, rather than irritation and frustration. As I walked all over Glasgow, Edinburgh and Lauder, Scotland, I had continuous conversations with my leg left, thanking her for doing her best, expressing appreciation, calling her “Darling”. The pain didn’t completely go away. But we got by, my left leg and I, and experienced all that was planned for the trip. I even had a wondrous occurrence of spontaneous warmth and healing near the end of the trip.
I am listening, again, to the messages my left leg, my Darling, is sending me. I was reluctant to, at first. I desired to soldier through the pain initially, then I tried babying her. But here’s the message: Some health habits need to change. Drastically. Immediately. And for the long haul.
Back into research I have gone. In response, I am once again being aware and intentional about the foods I eat, leaning toward whole foods, and avoiding sugar, dairy and gluten, all of which seem to create inflammation in my body. I am stretching the muscles of my glutes and legs, taking turmeric, ginger and cats claw, all natural anti-inflammatories.
Today I upped my strategy further. I purchased and began taking extra strength curcumin, which is derived from the roots of turmeric, and is a very powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, and MSM. This supplement is also an anti-inflammatory, helps rebuild connective tissue, and reduces pain.
I also created my own liniment for nerve pain this evening. Using a base of coconut oil, I added 30 drops each of St John’s wort oil, lemon oil and orange oil. I massaged the mixture along the painful path of the sciatic nerve. I’m scheduling a massage and an energy session and looking into acupuncture. My research has yielded mixed reviews for the benefits of acupuncture, however I am considering it. I dug out my yoga DVD tonight as well. I have not been able to do Zumba lately, or walk more than 10 minutes. I am trying a 15 minute yoga session designed to stretch and relax before heading to bed.
I am open to other suggestions, especially those that are arising from my own body. I trust my intuition, my instincts, and that Darling left leg. As I was driving to my customary health store today, to pick up the new supplements, I felt strongly compelled to stop at a different store that I visit less frequently. The woman who greeted me as I entered has experienced the same symptoms. She was a great help in selecting the right products and gave me a book for free. I left with my bag of supplements and the assurance that I am headed in the right direction. For me, it is so beneficial to listen, and respond…right Darling? I choose to be proactive. I choose not to suffer.