I haven’t wanted to admit this, but ever since I walk/ran the 5k in November, my right knee has been killing me.
What you need
to know about me is that I have bad knees. I shouldn’t bend, let alone run. But, runners run. I love it. I can’t help it.
Anyway, several years ago I was in a neuroscience class at OSU and crossed my leg. I heard a pop and the pain started almost immediately. I went to my primary care physician and got some meds (Skelaxin), which helped, but not to the extent I could stand it. Then I got a script for narcotics, which I can only take when I know I won’t be driving the kids anywhere. But that really didn’t help either. Whatever I had was not getting better and, in fact, was getting worse. So, I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon. Well, after X-rays and an MRI, it was revealed that I had a pretty nasty meniscal tear. At that time, that surgeon, and another friend who is an orthopedic surgeon, said that I I had really bad knees and that I should put off having knee replacement as long as I can because once you have one, you have to replace it every few years. I went to surgery for the meniscal tear and aside from working out too hard shortly after the scope (another story which involved mass swelling, removal of fluid from my knee, pain, blood, steroids and a visit to Disney….but I digress), the left knee has been pain free ever since.
Where am I going with this?
Obviously, I’ve been concerned that that I incurred another meniscal tear during that 5k on my right knee. Now, another thing you need to know about me is that as long as I’m not in pain, I’m not worried about anything, including underlying health issues. I have impeccable blood results and am in remarkably good shape physically for someone of my size. But if I have pain, all bets are off. I am a true pain wimp.
Additionally, either throughout the years of taking pain meds or just not processing them like anyone else, I require very high concentrations of pain meds before they actually work. Currently, Percocet 10 is the only thing that makes me comfortable. To give you an example of how severe this is, if Joe took half of one of those, I wouldn’t see him conscious for a day and a half. Yet I am very aware, conscious and, again, comfortable. Therefore, when my knee began to hurt, I began to worry about how to get a doctor…any doctor…to prescribe that for me. Instead, I had Skelaxin prescribed and decided to rest it out.
I can with almost 100% certainty say that this is not a meniscal tear, mostly because it is getting better. It’s slowly getting better, but better nonetheless. But now is the time where I describe what has helped and why I am telling this story here.
I was at the store the other day and bought two products. One was Max-Freeze. First, vanishing scent my ass! If vanishing means one hour, they have me on that. Otherwise, expect to smell like your average person in a nursing home. Second, it did make me feel better. It has a nice cooling feeling and felt like it actually relieved some swelling, which is uncomfortable in its own right. The second product was Capsaicin 0.15% (generic). This is where it gets interesting. I had heard of the healing & pain relief that capsaicin offers, but I had never used it myself. For me, it itches a lot a couple of minutes after it’s on (which is put on with a hands-free applicator, thankfully), but after that, it works pretty phenomenally to minimize pain. I’m actually kind of shocked at how well it works. I’m not back to 100%, but feel a lot better with this.
The message. Capsaicin is not an old wives tale. If you have pain, it’s worth a try. It has helped me so that I am less dependent on NSAIDS & pain meds and that says a lot. Seriously!