Recovering from a shoulder surgery is anything but easy. As an indoor cycling instructor and fitness fanatic, I was less than enthused when my doctor advised a three-month break from my typical sweat sessions. Rest was necessary to recover. While at first I resisted, I quickly discovered just how much energy my body required to heal me from the inside out — so couch-laden me got used to eight-hour Vikings marathons, naps, and sleeping 18 hours per day.
As many are postsurgery, I was prescribed painkillers (Percocet) to keep me comfortable during the most painful days. While they helped me sleep through the night and relax, I wasn’t keen on the way they made my mind feel. The high, fuzzy feeling would give way to irritability, anxiety, and deep sadness. My doctor assured me this was normal and OK for now, so I continued. But with my history of depression and anxiety all too real, I knew I needed to say goodbye for good.
I have been researching the effects of CBD for a while now: from easing muscle soreness to promoting deeper sleep and helping with anxiety, it seemed there was nothing it couldn’t do. I already knew CBD contained anti-inflammatory properties, so I reached out to my doctor to see if it would be a viable option to assist in my pain management routine and recovery and get me off the prescription painkillers once and for all.
CBD is growing in popularity — and for good reason. This nonpsychoactive (aka it doesn’t make you high) cannabinoid derived from marijuana is making waves for its alleged calming and healing properties. It comes in the form of oil, topical treatments, vaporizers, and even chocolate and other edibles, making it versatile, portable, discreet, and easy to ingest — all without the telltale marijuana scent and taste. I decided to give the vaporizer pens and oil drops a try to see if they could help with my postsurgery recovery, alleviating side effects of my treatment and eventually replacing my prescribed painkillers all together.
Select CBD products go a step beyond the traditional. Its 100 percent organic all-in-one vaporizer pens ($55) and oil tinctures ($75) are increasing the ways we experience CBD: each blend is infused with different essential oils and herbs such as mint, lemon, lavender, and cinnamon for an even deeper experience. Essential oils have therapeutic benefits on their own, so when paired with CBD, they provide a more holistic experience tailored to support specific needs from pain relief to digestion to anxiety.
Need to tune out the world and get to work? Try the “Focus” pen infused with peppermint or spearmint, oils known for their cooling, calming properties. Inhale grapefruit from the “Revive” vape pen for a boost of energy, and unwind for sleep with a puff of the lavender “Relax” pen. During my surgery, I kept my energy up with the peppermint Focus (which also helped with headaches and nausea — a nasty side effect of certain medications I was on) and used lavender to drift off to sleep.
When I’m in a setting where I can’t vape, or just looking for a slightly different way to get my CBD dose, I switch to tinctures. Along with CBD, the drops contain a blend of essential oils and powerful herbs in MCT oil. For me, they’re just as effective and even taste good — bonus, no smoke or vapor if you’re not into that kind of thing. I personally am partial to the Lemon-Ginger drops. This blend contains lemon for a boost of energy, ginger to soothe any digestive issues (my whole body was thrown off with a change in my appetite and new medicines in my system!), and turmeric, our favorite anti-inflammatory body-healing root. Just place a few drops under your tongue, or into a cup of tea to ingest the goodness. And while I didn’t use the peppermint tincture until after I had returned to work postrecovery, its minty oil is infused with ashwagandha and rhodiola, two of my favorite adaptogens known for reliving anxiety and helping gently restore balance in the body.
It’s now been nearly two months since my surgery. While recovery and physical therapy will continue to last several months, I do believe incorporating CBD into my routine helped me get to the place I am — all while weaning me off gnarly meds. To be honest, the first couple weeks would’ve been nearly excruciating without a little bit of extra prescription help, and I’m grateful for that. But for continued pain management, healing, and anxiety calming, CBD plus essential oils were pure magic.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Avery Johnson