Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Pain Free Knitting with CBD

In our obsessive zeal to knit all the things, many of us knitters (or crocheters, or weavers!) may be forgoing self-care in favor of more crafting time. It's tempting, but when you get to the point that you absolutely cannot do the thing you love because it's so painful, it's the worst! Believe me, I know....I've been knitting for over 10 years, and there have been times when aches and pains have kept me away from my yarn and needles for days at a time.

Getting back to a place where you can knit pain-free is a process, and it requires more than just one quick fix. But the impact that CBD has made in my pain management routine has been huge - it's a real game changer. So today I want to share a little bit about how and why I use CBD, with the hope that this helps someone else going through similar issues.

First, a common sense warning: always know what you're taking and do your own research. If you have serious medical conditions or take RX meds, ask your doctor to make sure that CBD won't negatively interact with them. The only contraindication I've heard about with CBD is meds that have the "grapefruit warning" - but again, do your own recon. I'm not a doctor!

What is CBD?

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's start with the basics: CBD stands for cannabidial, which is a derived from cannabis but not psychoative. There are many forms including topical creams and ointments, oils, gummies, etc. It can pretty much be infused into anything - I had a really delicious CBD Kombucha at a coffee shop earlier this year!

If you live in a state with legalized marijuana, some CBD products may have a small amount of THC in them (so be sure to read the labels!). That tiny amount of THC acts as an activation switch for the CBD, and for most people, it won't have any psychoactive effects. If marijuana isn't legal in your state, then the CBD products you can buy will be THC-free. I've used both and I can attest that both are equally effective (and that tiny amount of THC has little to no psychoactive effect, unless you're reeeeaalllly sensitive).

CBD is fairly new, but you can find a lot of interesting articles about it on the internet. Here are a few that helped me during my research phase:

Why CBD?

For a brief couple of years, I was a licensed massage therapist (LMT), and that training has come in handy in creating my own treatment plan to manage pain. My favorite recommendations to clients were stretching, icing and/or contrast therapy, and a homeopathic anti-inflammatory remedy called Arnica. Arnica can be applied topically or taken orally, and I've done lots of experiments on myself to test its magical powers, including taking arnica pills prior to a long tattoo session to prevent pain and bruising (it totally worked for me!).

When I first started hearing about CBD, I was curious because it sounded very similar to Arnica, but with even more health benefits. It's used to manage pain, anxiety, depression, and a host of other health conditions. CBD was one of those things that I happened upon at just the right time - I was experiencing some fairly intense insomnia at the time. I took a chance and gave it a try - the resulting nights of good sleep were enough to convince me. From there, I figured I had nothing to lose in establishing a CBD routine that focused on pain management.

My CBD Routine

My preferred brand of non-THC CBD is*...aka, the same CBD that Lil' Bub uses. Hey, if it's good enough for Bub, it's good enough for me! I use two products from CBD MD: a topical cream and CBD gummies.

Topical Cream
When you first start using a topical, it's important to use it consistently so that the CBD can build up in your system. I've heard that using at least once per day for the first 10 days is best; after that, you can switch to an as-needed basis. You can also apply CBD cream more than once a day, and at first, there were days I was using it 3x day. The Recover cream from CBD MD has lots of beneficial ingredients (like Arnica!) which complement the CBD.

Now that I've been using it for several months, I just apply it 1x per day (before I go to bed), and sometimes I feel so good all day long that I forget it entirely!

CBD Gummies
I've been taking an average of 1 gummy per day, although there have been times I've taken two (one in the morning and one at night) if I was particularly stressed. This is basically to decrease all inflammation in my body, and the bonus is that it's helped with my anxiety exponentially. I use the lowest does for now (10mg per gummy), with the idea that I can always bump up if I need to.

CBD and Pets

We've been giving Robin (our Kidney Cat) CBD for several months now because he's been having mobility issues in the last year. We give him the CBD pet oil twice a day and he has been able to move around a lot better because he's not in so much pain.

To be honest, he's not really a fan of liquid meds in general, and he resisted at first. But now that we've been doing it for a while, he's more or less going along with know, as much as a cat ever does that!

Beyond CBD

As I said earlier, CBD is just one piece of the pain management puzzle - there is no magical one-and-done cure. During my own road to recovery, I've had to accept that I can't knit as fast as I used to, as much as I used to, or as long as I used to. And over the years I've picked up new hobbies like weaving, crochet and cross-stitch, which use my hands (and body) in different ways than knitting does. Think of other crafts like cross-training!

I've also embraced stretching and taking more breaks: no more hours-long knitting sessions where I am stitching every second without coming up for air. Interestingly enough, strength training and working out in general have made a huge impact in how my hand/wrist/arms feel while knitting, and I can only surmise that building strength and stamina in general has a trickle-down effect to my knitting.

Of course, what works for me might not work for you, but hopefully this gives you some ideas to try should you ever find yourself in a place where crafting is causing you pain.

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* in no way sponsored or solicited this post, I just really love their products. Of course, if they want to sponsor me, I'm totally open to that!