6 Ways to Relieve Repetitive Stress Injury in Dog Walkers
What happens if you sustain a repetitive-stress injury in your arms, but you just can't take a break from dog-walking duty? Don't laugh! This actually happened to me. Day afer day of escorting my strong-pulling dogs on leash-walks, compounded by longer-than-usual hours of typing frantically on miscellaneous deadlines, took its toll on my wrists and elbows. The soreness radiated until both arms were so overtaxed from elbow to fingertips that I couldn't concentrate on anything apart from the pain. I hope this never befalls you -- but if it does, here's what I did to cope.
- I'm a health nut, so even when I'm stricken with excruciating pain, I prefer to stay the all-natural course. So the first thing I did was start taking arnica. This excellent, effective homeopathic medicine is a microdose of Arnica Montana, a European flowering plant also known as wolf's bane. Placed under the tongue and allowed to dissolve slowly, the little white pellets successfully speed the healing of bruises and trauma, and they're safe for self-medicating.
- I already take a curcumin supplement daily (it's a highly concentrated capsule form of turmeric, the brilliant yellow spice I'm crazy about; the brand I use is Life Extension). But I figured it couldn't hurt to have more of a good thing, so I whipped up a batch of homemade vegetarian curry with extra turmeric. Medicine was never so delish.
- To further reduce inflammation, I took Inflammatone, a dogsend of a supplement recommended to me by my wonderful chiropractor. It's composed of enzymes plus turmeric (see above), boswellia (aka Indian frankincense, a staple of Ayurvedic medicine) and other healing ingredients.
- In addition to the oral supplements, I also made use of two topical remedies: PanAway, an astonishingly healing essential-oil blend whose main ingredient is wintergreen essence (PanAway saved me once before, when I suffered a mysterious leg injury), and Topricin, a homeopathic cream that works wonders to relieve pain from damaged muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerve tissue. Both are excellent items to keep in your first-aid kit.
- You are what you eat, so I adjusted my diet, staying far away from any potentially inflammatory food item, notably bread, pasta, rice, and dairy (I said a tearful bye-bye to pizza, my favorite vice). I also swallowed my daily spoonful of Nordic Naturals fish oil, an excellent anti-inflammatory supplement.
- Finally, I temporarily shelved my leather leashes and made sure to use a shock-absorbing, woven-nylon dog leash with a nicely padded handle -- so the leash, instead of just my wrists, would take the brunt of my dogs' pulling power.
Have you had to deal with a repetitive-stress injury from dog-walking? Please share your coping mechanisms in the comments.