Saturday, February 21, 2009

All My Remedies

I can't imagine the days that I am free of knee pain. I have been living with it for so long. The pain level fluctuated over the years depending on how much I trained. I tried all kinds of magic potions and nothing seemed to work. This is like a curse. It's like "great flexibility comes with great pain."

My first knee pain was accompanied by a lower back pain in the middle of learning Erluquan. I went to a chiropractor. He said I was fucked. My built-for-child-bearing hips weren't straight and therefore screwed up my knees, spines and neck. I kept going to have my spines adjusted and popped for about 3 months with neither lower back or knee pains going away. So I stopped.

Then I went to an Orthopedist. He felt up my knees for about 2 seconds and pronounced my knees Chodromalacia and gave me a prescription for physical therapy for 3 months. So I went to a physical therapy for 3 months during which I hardly trained at all. The therapist ordered me not to do anything i.e. no walking on the beach, no wearing flipflops, no high-heel shoes, no swimming, no biking, no long walk, no running, and no kungfu. I listened to him 75% of the time. I exercised my knees and iced them half religiously.

After the 3 doing-nothing months, I went back to my orthopedist. The pain still didn't go away. He sent me to an MRI. The result showed that everything was fine except that I had huge inflammation under both kneecaps. So he injected Steroid into my knees. The pain went away completely for 3 days and came back when I went back to training.

I stopped going to that doctor.

Not all was lost however, I found out that my problem was the inflammation under the kneecaps. I just have to get rid of it. Patricia (Heng Zheng) told me about Arnica Gel - a homeopathic that helps reduce inflammation. I started using it religiously. It's great for bruises and other kinds of swell but not my knees. I also started using knee braces while training. They reduced impact on my knees a bit during jumping but they are very cumbersome for moves like Xiebu or Zhengtantui.

By this point, my knees are so swollen that I could not bend my knees totally. I grew up sitting with my legs folded and squatting. I could not do either of that anymore because it would hurt too much. I was losing my Asian squat...

I started taking Glucosamine with Chondroitin and MSM -- without any pain reducing result. I also got into a habit of taking Ibuprofen before training so that I could do certain knee-crunching moves with out too much pain.

Recently, Natalie told me about FlexNow - a supplement made from Shea Butter - that she took and had successful anti-inflammation result. So I started taking that too.

Shifu suggested that I stop using knee braces, stop jumping and do more stretching and kicking. So I did just that. In the past two weeks I only trained Level 1 classes and got out of the lines when other people jumped.

Currently, with all these supplements in my body and no jumping, I think my pain level went down a notch. The pain is still there especially when I walk down the stairs. I still can't totally fold my knees but my Xiebu becomes a little more comfortable. So I guess I'm heading toward the right path.

During my last 2 years combating this knee problem, the only time that I was totally pain free was toward the end of my India trip. I did not train at all for about 5 weeks. I had no problem running up and down steps. I hope it doesn't come to choosing between training and my knees. Hopefully, I will find a middle ground where the knees can make peace with Kungfu.