Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
A little over two years ago, I wrote a Tech Talk called A Simple, Effective Exercise to Help Relieve Cycling Related Knee Pain. In it, I described something known as the Muncie Exercise, which was (at the time) starting to help me get past debilitating knee pain.
If you missed that article and/or would like to learn more about the exercise, here it is.
From the response to that article (and the many others we’ve run on cyclists’ knee maladies), it’s clear that many of you have had knee issues. So, just in case you’re struggling and in pain still, I want to provide another tip today that’s helping me keep the pain at bay.
From Drugs to Magic Powder
IMPORTANT: I am NOT a doctor and I’m unqualified to give medical advice. I’m sharing my experience in the hopes that it might help you. But you should see a doctor first if you’re injured and/or dealing with pain.
Even though my knees can work fine at times, when I overdo it on the bike, it can set me back for weeks. To ease the pain so I could keep riding, I had gotten in the habit of taking ibuprofen before or sometimes after rides.
The dose I took was 600 to 1,000mg, which would numb even the worst pain for up to 12 hours. However, when I had my physical exam after I turned 65, Doc told me not to take ibuprofen any more. She said it could cause stomach bleeding and recommended acetaminophen as a safe alternative.
Unfortunately, acetaminophen didn’t do anything for my knee pain, so suddenly I had no relief.
Luckily, my amazingly resourceful coach, Mark Edwards, who I’ve mentioned here before, had another suggestion: turmeric – a spice mainly made up of curcumin. He didn’t promise me anything, but said that it has helped him and others he coaches with knee pain and inflammation.
When I mentioned this to my wife, she laughed and went straight over and pulled it out of the spice cabinet and said she cooks with it. It looked like orange powder to me.
I have been whining about how badly my joints ache to Coach for years. And he’s ridden and raced with me enough to know I’m not exaggerating. So he recommended I start with a large dose: One tablespoon (15ML) of turmeric along with a dash of black pepper, which enhances absorption of turmeric into your system.
I took his advice and put the orange powder with some pepper into my morning cereal, which made it look pretty “icky,” as my little sister used to say. But, it didn’t taste bad at all. It also didn’t cause any stomach distress. I felt fine.
Then, wonders of wonders – about an hour later, I had to walk upstairs at work and realized there was no knee pain at all. My knees felt to me the exact same as if I had taken 1,000mg of ibuprofen. I couldn’t believe that a spice could work so well, yet it did and it still does for me.
My New Routine
When I first started dosing my cereal, I was doing it daily. It’s been months now and I’m eating the tablespoon of turmeric with a little pepper on average 3 days a week now. I’m pleased to report that it’s still eliminating the pain wonderfully. And even happier to say that it’s allowing me to ride as much as I want now.
Maybe it’ll help you, too. I went through the amount my wife had in her spice collection quickly. So, I looked for a way to buy more in bulk and found it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2J693j0.
Ride total: 9,828
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.