THE SILENT MUSCLE KILLER (RSI)
Did this hurt, I hear you ask? Hell yeah. Not at the beginning, the acupuncture needles themselves barely hurt, but seeing that the inflammation wasn't going down, they were injecting the needles deeper. I felt like one of "Saw's" victims. Or Jesus Christ (no offense!). May you never have to go through what I did. The electricity is not too painful, it's just to move the needles around, to get the blood circulating.
I am a touch typist, and I work as a live chat advisor which basically means that I speak to customers online instantly.
I was working for three years in this role before it happened.
We had a very busy period and both my arms started aching. I thought it was something temporary and I started wearing wrist’s bandages. The days went by and the pain wasn’t going. It became busier and busier at work and there was a moment where I felt I could no longer type.
My GP referred me to a physiotherapist but the waiting list was quite long. The first physiotherapist used an ultrasound machine for my arms. He asked if wearing a strap around my arm felt better and I said yes. He asked me to do some exercises and this went on for eight sessions.
Another physiotherapist identified that I had tennis elbow also called epycondilitis. They call it tennis elbow because it's a very popular injury between tennis players. It’s actually not in the elbow, it’s the muscle near the elbow. She gave me some exercises to do on a daily basis. I had to pick up a weight of half a kilo to start with. I had to put my wrist on the edge of the table and move the weight up and down thirty times with each hand. She said it would get worst before it could get better. She said I needed to strengthen my muscle and to build endurance. I started to do the exercises. The first time I was very scared because my arms were in a lot of pain and I thought the pain would increase. To my surprise the following day my arms felt relieved and I started feeling more optimistic.
I had to increase the weight gradually and or the repetitions. After 9 months or so, I am not sure anymore if it helps at all. At some point I was able to increase the weight and feel a lesser weight pretty easy. Although with the months I felt I could no longer get used to the weight I carried on with (1.5Kg). 2Kg definitely felt like a lot. I gave it a break, and I felt better. Perhaps it was just the pressure of having to do it, or that the pain is perhaps finally decreasing.
It is getting better but I have not won this battle just yet. I am fighting back until the end though.
It means you did a movement way too much, and now your body is paying for it. I cannot stress enough the importance of having breaks when being on the computer, to sit properly, with the keyboard close to you, free from obstructions. I never understood the wrist support for the keyboard and mouse. Now I cannot live without them.
The trick about healing is apparently for your blood to be circulating, and heat helps this. I wished I knew that before, as my blood doesn't seem to like to circulate too much.
The problem also was the amount of contradicting information online, "have a rest" vs "do exercise or muscles will become lazy", "put ice" vs "put heat".
I am currently still suffering from this, but I have tried everything I could put my hands on, except medicine as I am allergic to something we are unaware of. Physiotherapy, acupuncture with electricity, massages, ultrasounds, magnesium supplement, sour cherry juice supplement, celery, heat, elbow strap, ground ginger, ground turmeric, white willow bark, dandelion leave tea, aloe vera, broccoli, vegetable purees, salmon, lots of mixed juices containing apple, oranges, pears, lemon, cucumber, carrots, celery, beetroot, strawberry, pineapple, ginger, all sorts of nuts that contain magnesium…
One of the moderate successful things I tried were the chinese herbs from the acupuncture place. It wasn't cheap, £40, but they did help me. I had to boil them each night, put them on a bucket with a blanket, and my arms to have steam over them. I spent about an hour just for that. Putting Epsom salts didn't quite work the same. At least the chinese herbs alleviated my pain, and I could go to bed without the strong pain.
I heard a theory that your state of mind also contributes to your health. If you are tense, frustrated, angry, the body cannot heal easily. And moderate exercise should help. Some treatments are believed to work under the "placebo" effect but in reality there isn't a cure for this just yet.
I realised that the technology that surrounded me wasn't helping, so I took a drastic change in my life: I deleted Facebook. I must say I have not looked back, I don't miss it. I was already unhappy it took time from me. Saying that I only used to update my status once a week and add the occasional pictures, still I noticed the only apparent purpose was to fill my ego and probably other darker reasons from their side. I am glad I came out of it. There are other ways to communicate, my favourite is just a voice message over Whatsapp, or a phone call, or simply meet up.
Our bodies are not prepared to cope with so much technology. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp, YouTube, Snapchat, dating apps, we are all likely to suffer the consequences in our muscles sooner or later.
My passion is web designing. I never studied web design but I learnt by myself through the internet. This injury meant I had to put my life on hold for an unknown period of time. It has been a year and although less, the pain is still there.
I wanted to work in my website projects, and I took my friend's advice, "why don't you get someone to do it for you?" and "if you really wanted to, you would do it". So here we are!
I was off sick for four and a half months. In all that period I had a lot of rest and I stayed away from the computer. I thought I was better, but as soon as I touched the computer my arms were killing me again. I had to work reduced hours, the amount of money I lost is ridiculous.
BEING A COUCH POTATO IS SO LAST YEAR!
Didn't you get the memo? :) My advice to you would be to EXERCISE once and for all. Nothing extreme. Whatever takes your fancy.
My option was to do yoga. I always wanted to do it, and my injury pushed me to do it, with the help and guidance of an experienced teacher. Swimming didn't quite help, but I gave it a try at least. I also tried pilates but I prefer to go back when I recover.
I heard a terrible story about a woman whose neck muscles stopped working, therefore her head wasn't as supported as it should have been. This was caused by sitting incorrectly for years. I have never been happier to pay for yoga, we should correct bad postures, yoga has made me more mindful about the way I sit and move. My teacher says we don't do enough backbends, we are mostly slouching. I try to remember this and I encourage you to find a suitable activity, there are plenty out there.
When your body is hurting there is an imbalance somewhere. Upper back pain = unreleased anger. Lower back pain = unreleased sadness. We are meant to move our muscles, hence why it is important to do any kind of reasonable exercise you are capable of.
My brother once sent me an interesting video about a Spanish doctor called Alberto Marti Bosch.
He gave a one hour long speech about cancer. He said how we are still trying to use medieval methods to beat cancer. We either want to burn it with chemotherapy or cut it or poison it with drugs. He said why do you want to cure something from the outside when the problem is inside.
It reminded me of my friend who had a very bad eczema in her hand. Two years of creams didn't work. She tried to do 5-a-day smoothies with rather bitter vegetables (e.g. celery, avocado, etc), and the eczema was GONE within 2 weeks. Her eczema has not come back.
He also said that hydrotherapy was recommended for cancer patients. He made the point that some people think they may not be able to pay for one year of hydrotherapy by themselves. However, he said: "do you know that having a bath with salt is good for you? Don’t you have bath with mineral salts?" Don’t you hear that people said that sea water is good for healing injuries?
"Don’t get confused. A rich person is the one that has money and doesn’t spend it. If you go to the supermarket and buy two kilos of salt at thirty pences each this is simply 60 pences for the salt."
The thing is we always hear these advices but we never pay attention to them. I was never keen on cooking but having this injury for so long made me change my mind completely and I started to buy fruits and vegetables that I wouldn’t have bought before. I started cutting vegetables and experimenting in the kitchen like I never thought I would.
If you have a disease your body is asking you for something. What is it and why don’t you give it to it?
If I knew that my tennis elbow was going to stay with me for so long I would have stopped myself earlier.
Don't get me wrong. My dad died with 3 cancers, when he was 62 years old. I was 11 years old at the time. That was a while ago.
Since it is now fashionable to kill your feet with blisters, toenails failing, probably your back, knees and a lot more by running a marathon on behalf of anything, lately regarding cancer, I started to think about it.
Don't be offended, I admire and I don't admire these runners. It takes a lot to run, but in the other hand, the majority don't know about the evil consequences that come with it. I hope they get to know better. I am certainly not against the spirit.
Do you remember that 30 years old woman who collapsed before the finishing line? It was a very sad story. A friend had to have a knee operation as the muscles simply collapsed. He had inadequate shoes and it was just a long walk, not even running. What damage can do all this extreme exercise to your body in the future? Time can tell.
The people that I really admire, and oh what a coincidence, I used to be one of those when I was healthy! Is the people who goes to the local charity shops, to help out on a weekly basis. 4 hours, or more. Looking at our community in the eye. I have enjoyed seeing children buying gift cards for poor countries. I felt very touched.
I always wanted to volunteer, but I never found the right time. Until I had an evil landlady who was a pain to live with, and I am pretty easy going! At the time I came back from travelling so I didn't have many friends or even money. I wanted a way to be out of the house without having to spend money.
This ad caught my attention: "Do you have £400 spare to donate? If you don't, you can volunteer 4 hours a week which would cover this cost for us."
I went in, and I was asked if I was aware I would not get paid for it. I nodded and I felt happy to finally be helping, and also knowing I didn't have to spend time at home without having to worry about money. I carried on volunteering for many weekends, specially in Christmas when they were overloaded with Christmas cards. They always need people, specially on Saturday, or sunny days..they always have people letting them down last minute. If I manage to get healthy, I will come back. If I manage to get wealthy, I might just donate the money ;)
These marathons and fundraising events seems more like a marketing strategy more than anything. Another way to make money. For research, fair enough. I still donate if I am asked, but I would like to tell the whole world to do more research about the food they are eating.
I am not talking about becoming vegetarian or vegan, I believe everyone can have a balanced diet if only they become aware of it. My vegetarian friend suffered from a frozen shoulder for a year or so. Another one said that he was lacking vitamin B12 found in meat and eggs. As soon as he took supplements, the pins and needles in his arms, his lethargy and tiredness went away. I could not recognise the man before and after, he became stronger.
I remember from the times where I used to own a Facebook page, of a post talking about "guayaba", a South American fruit that had anti cancer properties. It was claiming that the pharmacy industry didn't want us to know about this, as otherwise their business would be finished. I read in a magazine in a plane (quite an unlikely place I know), an article that said that 95% of cancers are caused by the food we eat. Only 5% of them have been inherited.
Jason Vale's book has a list of the anti cancer fruits, as well as other information regarding which vitamins they hold, etc. My guess is until the pharmacy industry doesn't find a chemical solution they can sell, they will carry on with this.
Just take a look at all the processed food. I never thought much of it. But seeing burger meat have so much fat left in the pan after cooking it makes me wonder.
There is the conspiracy theory that there is way too many people in this world. That people "needs to die". It would not be sustainable otherwise.
I wanted to buy a juice machine just to make orange juice like my mum used to do and my friend suggested to buy instead a whole fruit machine. I never paid attention to this before but I started liking the idea of a machine that could make juice without me having to cut or peel in most of the occasions.
Eventually I had this machine as a Christmas present. There was always going to be the chance that the machine would sit in the kitchen forever collecting dust. This did not happen!
My friend helped me to do the first few juices. We used a very nice mixture of vegetables and fruits: carrots, oranges, apples, ginger, celery, half a lemon and pears. True to be told I don’t like celery or even many vegetables or certain fruits but I found I could tolerate the celery better mixed with fruits.
I was quite consistent and I did a juice every day at night. The most painful bit was to clean the machine but you get used to it.
This machine came with a book written by Jason Vale. It was full of juice and smoothie recipes. He was very enthusiastic and gave simple recipes with the benefits of each fruit and vegetable. It also gives an index with all the fruits and vegetables, the vitamins that they give and the benefits of each.
A couple of statements in the book made by fans caught my attention. One of them was saying that since they started drinking juices their own hair colour was growing back instead of their grey hair. They were a couple on their sixties. The other statement was from a lady who had migraines. Since she started drinking juices she stopped having migraines.
Actually the book author had asthma, eczema and he was overweight. When he started drinking juices his asthma disappeared and so did the eczema and the overweight.
It was then that I realised that all the diseases we have is probably because our body is lacking something.
In 2014, I noticed they opened a new juice bar in the shopping centre called "Boost" juice bar, and I assumed it belonged to Jason Vale's. When I travelled to Asia I saw one of the same brand in Kuala Lumpur's airport, their 5-a-day was amazing. Who knew beetroot or celery would taste so good, blended with orange, apples, carrots.. It turned out not to be his, but from a different lady.
It was Janine Allis (mum of three), she only started these bars in Australia after noticing these in the USA. Funnily enough Richard and Dawn O’Sullivan (the founders behind Millies Cookies) opened them up in the UK only in 2007.
Jason Vale has his own, his Wikipedia page claims he was inspired by the earlier Norman Walker, a pioneer in treating cancer patients (there will always be people who will disagree etc), but in the end I am a big fan of all of them, for promoting a healthy life.
COFFEE VS JUICE
My company was promoting "Costa" in their offices, like if it was a high reward. I have never been a coffee fan as I have a sweet tooth! In comparison rumour has it that the competitor introduced juices for £2 in the canteen. That I find rewarding. Stop empowering your employees with caffeine and promote real healthy ways. If you want the world to change, you must start with yourself, like Michael Jackson sung..
ASIA IS AHEAD OF US
When I travelled to other Asian countries, such as Singapore and Thailand, I noticed there were juice bars, very cheap. I must say the juices in Thailand were a bit lumpy, but in Malaysia they were lush. I saw a guy cut the fruit, specially the mango with an amazing easiness. I tried myself, I cannot master the knife!
NOT JUST A FASHION
My friend mentioned juices were on fashion 10 years ago. To me this will not be a fashion. And I hope for you will not be either.
This is what I call to hit an early midlife crisis. I convinced my brother to get a juicer, after we experimented a yummy apple, pear and strawberry juice. I bought a juicer for my sister, and even my nephew got a manual juicer from McDonald's to give to my youngest nephew! I am obviously overlooking the fact that he went to McDonald's, at least I made my point that juice is important for your life. And even I sneak there at least once a year...I just hope they have the will to keep juicing. I will be there pushing them along.
THE BEST PRESENT
Coffee will not take your cough away, natural homemade juices will. Wake up and smell the juice!
I know what you are thinking. Who is going to clean that? Where am I going to store it? Hold your horses! Breathe in, breathe out, keep calm and keep on reading. No buts. I can read you like an open book :) I asked the same to myself but hey it's easier than having a baby! Do you have what it takes, to be consistent? If you were in an interview you would say yes, just to get the job. Why don't you say yes to yourself? Your body would appreciate it big time. We are able to clean cars, kitchens, etc for others, but a simple machine seems such a big thing. I am sure you are able to do complex things in any field, cleaning a few bits is nothing!
If counting until 4 is easy for you, then these are the parts I clean on a daily basis (providing I'm not getting a life out there ;) That plastic bag is a cheat, which means I don't need to clean a 5th part :) I don't think anything about the cleaning, I enjoy cleaning to a certain degree, and after all you wouldn't want the machine to build bacteria, would you? My juicer has a priority in my kitchen, and I made my sister have it too, despite her moaning, she knows she needs it badly. Nothing like family pressure!
I can hear what others might tell you. You will not use it, it will sit in the cupboard. People has a tendency to discourage their friends without a bad intention, it's just the negative habit of the mind. You can prove them otherwise. Change your life for good. This is me empowering you to be a better you. It is your choice to sit and be a couch potato, put on weight, wrinkles, junk food and or drugs, or make a difference to how you will feel as you grow older. I tell you RSI has been a killer at 33 for me. Don't wait until you get hit by a disease, otherwise it might be too late...Live life. Take chances. Be crazy. Don't wait. Because right now is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again.
I vowed to never buy a juice again. There is nothing like the certainty to drink a juice where you know there are no chemicals or sweeteners. Just fruit and vegetables.
Once a friend joked about how people pop pills on their body like if it was candy. "How about you get an immune system"? She said. She had a point.
The model I had was just because I wasn't sure I would use. It turns out I did, and it is not so expensive. Philips is also a fairly good brand, for some reason I always end up buying something from them, I guess is the affordable brand.
Bargain hunter tip: If you never joined Amazon Lovefilm's, then there are several offers online, I had one where they would give me £20 to spend in Amazon, you can put it towards the juicer.