When I met Matt I was 24 and had honestly never played any contact sport or done much contact exercise aside from running, swimming and dancing. He was a VERY old 31 (in my eyes) and had been playing cricket, basketball and skiing at a very high level for at least 15 years. So I was shocked when my “old” boyfriend would crack and clunk his knees every time he stood up due to his damaged meniscus in his knee. I myself had never experienced any real body or joint pain so it just made him seem ancient to me.
So anyway, lo and behold, 8 years later, I’m an old 32 year old lady! And on Boxing Day 2017 I was heavily pregnant, so, full of relaxin, and all of sudden on a walk at the beach my knee became incredibly sore to walk on and by that afternoon was swollen and very painful to walk and squat down on. I’m getting OLD I thought! Let’s blame the BABY I thought!
Reality check Megan: you can’t blame age and pregnancy for every little thing. Nora’s now 9 weeks old and I’ve started back at bootcamp and I’m finding my knee is still very sore and gets swollen. Now, I’m not just going to take a Panadol to mask the symptoms of the pain because that’s not how I work. So I had a good hard look at myself and my habits and I know what I’ve got to do to get myself back to normal.
- Getting adjusted regularly: Look. 90% of the time I’m great at practicing what I preach. I go to my chiropractor and get adjusted once a week or once a fortnight at the very least. However I’ve been in a bit of a mum fog for the past 9 weeks and haven’t REALLY been looking after myself. A random quick adjustment here or there from Matt is all I managed which is NOT enough to keep my spine and joints up to shape. I also know that I tend to slump (no chiro is perfect people!) and this causes my hamstrings to be tight which can pull my knees into hyperextension and put pressure on the knee joint.
- Taking my supplements: I’m TERRIBLE at remembering to take my supplements, partly coz of my fun gag reflex (thanks to two very vomity pregnancies) and partly because I’m just LAZY! So I went out an invested in one of those weekly day/night medication containers from the chemist!! Now once a week I go through and put in the right amount of Omega 3s, Vitamin D (see our info on these two important supplements here), Iron tablets, Probiotics and Placenta capsules**. I set my alarms for morning and night when I’m eating dinner and don’t turn them off until I’ve taken my supplements (thanks Mum!)
- Exercise: For me there’s two great things about exercise. One: it gives me energy, which seems counterintuitive but I feel better and eat less sugary rubbish on the days I’ve exercised. And Two: it develops my muscles that I need to protect myself from this “old age” business. The muscles around your knee have to be well developed or your ligaments and meniscus end up doing more of the work and wearing down. Also, learn to squat properly – if you’re doing a bad squat like I used to (Knees forward of toes) you’re just doing more damage!
- Eating right: I am the FIRST to admit that when I’m tired I crave and EAT ALL OF THE SUGAR. So this last few months has been BAD because newborn = tired mummy and the best way to entertain my almost three year old (aside from playing with Lightning McQueen and Mater for the thousandth time) is cooking. And instead of cooking healthy things we’ve been making cakes and biscuits. Which I have to protect him from because I don’t want HIM to be unhealthy so then I eat them all!! Great logic! Sugar and processed carbohydrates like flour are FANTASTIC for short term hits of energy. Like, really, really short: you’re craving more within half an hour! And they also increase inflammation in your body. So, knee weak – inflammation – pain. Woops! This is the last area I’m working on right now. I’ve got a great monthly meal plan that I’m repeating during these first hectic baby months, which works for dinners and lunches. It’s breakfasts and snacks I’m falling apart on recently. My friend gave me a recipe for Baked Oatmeal (porridge) so that’s a quick easy breakfast for when I’ve got two kids yelling at me for attention. And the snacks…. I’ve just got to grow up and realize that in the long run the sugar is NOT going to benefit me at all!
So that’s my basic plan for getting rid of this knee pain (and it has the added advantage of getting myself back to normal post pregnancy as well!). Wish me luck (and no more chocolate eggs!).
**Yes, I encapsulated my placenta. There may not be the highest quality evidence to support it but I DON’T CARE! I have found them to be the most AMAZING energy booster this time round – they’re full of oxytocin (happy hormones) and iron – and I notice when I forget to take them because I get dizzy or tired (not that I’m forgetting to take them. Coz I’m being a good girl and taking my tablets everyday…….)