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Taking a Trip into Better Playing

This is quite unlike any of my previous posts, as it does not directly link to music. However, for the sake of consistency in output, I will hark back to the fact that I do play piano in this blog.


This blog actually refers more specifically to something that has drastically changed my life over the past couple of months. For the better. And it has improved every aspect of my life - and it just so happens that my playing (i.e. my physical capability to play) has improved massively, amongst other things.


What is it?


Trip!



Now, first things first.


It's important that you understand that I speak absolutely freely as an independent source. Effectively, a fan of the product. I am not endorsed by them. I do not get any perks for writing my review / blog. But it could just help another in need.


It is also important to understand that you read and decide for yourself responsibly whether or not this product is for you. I am not an expert on its ins and outs - as you will find out under the next heading - 'nor am I a scientist, doctor or anything like that. All I can say that it has worked and no doubt will continue to work for me for a long time.



What is Trip?



Here be the area in which I prove that I am no expert on the subject matter, however, simply put, 'Trip' is a brand that creates flavoured CBD oils and drinks that are infused with CBD oil. CBD oil is notorious for its many health benefits and has been known to help people who have been diagnosed / suffer with a great many things, from simple everyday pain to even settling epileptic seizures! However, the issue with CBD is that it is (apparently) a rather vile thing. So Trip have come along and made an accessible product in as much as they have flavoured oils and four flavours of drink so that it can be enjoyed and not feared.



My Story



My story is one of chronic pain.


This is a tale that I have recited many a time, but it began quite simply as what was initially diagnoses - quite correctly - as RSI in 2016. This was because in 2016 I switched jobs to a much more full on office job which included a lot of mouse clicking in the first few weeks. As a result, the index finger on my right hand became very sore.


Obviously I didn't think anything of this at first as it was clear that it was RSI and that with a bit of rest it would ease, but all that happened is that upon resting it would trigger the issue again when resumed.


No problem - I could switch the mouse to my left hand. Not exactly comfortable, granted, but it allowed me to rest my right hand save for typing, which was much more minimal. Naturally, this began to instigate a similar problem in the left index finger. So it became a swapping match between the hands depending on which one was more capable of clicking! Sometimes it swapped several times a day...


The problems started more, however, when this pain started to spread. If you imagine a line of pain going down your index finger, imagine that it continues down, past the index finger and starts creeping up your arm and - eventually - to your shoulder. This began to happen.


And eventually it got to a point where pain was everywhere - though not all at once. It was random and it was of varying intensities depending on activity, lack of activity, which area hurt etc. Favourite areas were hands (usually the worst affected due to them being most active), arms, shoulders, neck, back, sides, hips and very occasionally legs.


Just to boost my likelihood of getting pain further, I had a random tonic clonic seizure in 2020 that resulted in me falling off my piano stool and hitting the floor. I know for a fact that I was in pain when I came round as I'd hit the floor, but it never crossed my mind that this would linger too...


Throughout all this time I saw the GP on several occasions and was referred for many things;


  • blood tests

  • physiotherapy

  • carpal tunnel (nerve conduction)

  • X - Ray

  • MRI Scan


In addition to this, I made adjustments at the workplace with Occupational Health advice - an upright mouse and split keyboard. At home I tried a hand massage machine, wrist splint to wear in bed, leg pillow, replaced my mattress, tried several different 'ergonomic' pillows, paid for a few sessions with a private osteopath and, of course, tried the usual painkillers when it got really bad.


Some of this helped, however the main problem was still there. I was signed off osteopathy on the basis that if it didn't help on my last session it probably never would, the wrist splint seemed a miracle cure for the first few nights but then just merely took the edge off, and none of the tests showed anything. Therefore, my hope for a miracle cure was kind of shattered. I couldn't even pay for help.


As a last resort, my GP decided to refer me - fully well knowing that it wouldn't be this, but just so that somebody who may have more expertise into what it could be - to rheumatology.


He was right. It was not rheumatology. However, I had the best consultation to date about my condition, having explained all of the above to the rheumatologist. She knew exactly what it was - chronic pain! She explained it by way of 'remembered' pain i.e. if you had something that caused you pain once (such as RSI) then your brain sort of remembers and associates long after the event, which is why there is no reason for the pain (nothing showing up on X rays etc.) or its location (why would it hurt anywhere? It's just the brain messing about!)


So her advice was to go back to my GP and ask for referral to the chronic pain service.


Sadly, this took a little longer than expected as this was about March 2020 (before the seizure, even). Almost immediately after my appointment, the world closed down and only urgent appointments were being requested, so like the hero I am I voluntarily took a step down.


I had several series of appointments in both 2022 and 2023 for chronic pain - both in person, online and in groups.



Dealing with Chronic Pain



I learnt to deal with my chronic pain much better thanks to the wonderful clinic I had been referred to. There was no miracle cure but, seeing as I quit my job later on in 2020 and had since been working from home, I was less active. So that was step one - exercise more.


But, in fact, there were several things that I started to - and still do - employ to ensure I don't push myself to the extreme so I could deal with my pain better;


  • Exercise min. 20 minutes a day (a walk is fine).

  • Practice / Play / Work with hands (e.g. typing) should be done in 15 minute bursts with 5 minute breaks between. Interestingly, this not only helped with my pain but also with general productivity!

  • Approach negative thoughts logically and challenge them so as to not spiral into a decline, as negative thinking feeds chronic pain, which then creates a circle of feeling sadder because you're now in more pain.

  • 10 minute workouts that just helped to exercise muscled and incorporate some stretches. I do these less now that Trip is helping, but they were essential at one point.


It was amazing to see how much I progressed from prior to these courses to afterwards. However, there was still an underlying feeling of discomfort that caused me certain anxieties - for example, there was often trepidation with starting or doing anything in case it caused or worsened any pain. Also, it was difficult to apply some of the above routines to certain things. Fair enough for practising, for example, but if I had to perform for an hour then back to square one. 10 minute workouts were fabulous, but when I went on holiday earlier in the year and didn't have the opportunity to do them, I knew about it! I needed to somehow bridge this gap.



My First Foray into Trip



My interest was already peaked by Trip because I'd seen their ads on Facebook. However, I didn't know what they were and I hadn't associated it with anything necessarily medicinal. I just saw the ads that promised you a drink that you could relax and unwind with and have no hangover from. And that was exciting! I assumed, however, that it was a non-alcoholic version of something else that came in a can - like a beer - as all the pictures were cans. And being exclusively a wine drinker when it comes to alcohol, I just scrolled past.


However, upon my girlfriend's decision to stop drinking for a while, I decided to look into it so that I would have something suitable to drink with her (given that non alcoholic wine tastes like every other drink but wine).


I signed up and was browsing around and noticed it was CBD oil infused. Then read the story about how one of the founders found CBD oil to be a miracle cure following knee surgery. It couldn't hurt to try it, however - quite understandably so - it is highly priced.


So I passed.


Then I got an e-mail as I had signed up.


Here's a voucher code for one of our 6 packs of drinks for a fiver and free postage. Technically it was on the basis that you subscribed and the first pack was a fiver, but being the cheapskate I am I immediately cancelled once that arrived, promising whoever read my excuse that I would come back when I've decided the best way forward.


Well, I drank them all over a weekend.


There are three flavours in their multipack, all of them lightly sparkling;


  • Peach Ginger - Take the warming quality of ginger beer and just add that lovely aftertaste of fruitiness and that's what you've got here.

  • Elderflower Mint - Sometimes my favourite, it's an odd one that tastes so minty that it reminds me of toothpaste if toothpaste were actually drinkable and actually nice.

  • Lemon Basil - Definitely my favourite. Very much like lemonade but with much more zing and, of course, a lovely, herby aftertaste.


All of them are lovely. And I've read reviews contrary to this, insisting that they need major tweaking. This possibly says more about my palate, but I found them incredibly drinkable.


And having drunk four of them through the afternoon / evening on the Saturday, I slept incredibly well that night.


So well, in fact, that I spent most of Sunday evening trying to justify how I could truly start to feel the benefit.


I was relaxed and slept well on the Saturday night (don't forget that one key thing of people suffering with chronic pain is they struggle to sleep).


All that needed tackling now was the pain itself, and I knew that I would need to commit to a certain amount more - at least a month's worth.


So I spent Sunday night budgeting and working out how much I would need to start by taking. Should I stick to drinks? Should I try the oils? Drinks and oils?


In the end, I settled on their 'Starter Set', which includes a bottle of CBD oil (1000mg) and a 24 pack of mixed drinks. The idea was to use the oil in a fairly sparing dose to begin with - maybe about 15 ml per night from Sunday - Thursday, then for my drinks over Friday and Saturday night up to six cans which would replace alcohol!


Well, it worked so well after about three weeks of this that I buckled and subscribed. I subscribed to their 'CBD Monthly Magic', which comes discounted per month (I have it every four weeks but am still on my first one) as opposed to purchasing individually.


When I purchased the starter set, I ordered the orange blossom flavoured oil which was lovely. I accidentally switched to the wild mint one for the subscription, which is a shame as - nice as it is - I much preferred the orange blossom. I may change it but we'll see!



Conclusion



Simple, really.


My pain is...well...it's there. But it's so spectacularly under control that it's allowed me certain flexibilities and allowed me to take liberties. For example, I don't have the rely on the 10 minute workouts so much now. Lighter exercise such as walking is enough. Sleep is coming much more easily so I don't feel I have to make such a conscious effort to go to bed at a ridiculously early time to ensure that when I do drop off I get enough sleep. I'm overall much more relaxed - particularly at night (mysteriously when I have my drops or drinks), and it allows me to break out of routines with little anxiety that it is a mistake. For example, if I play for pleasure for an hour in one go instead of in four fifteen minute blocks, the results are not a fraction as severe.


Even typing this blog is nothing on what it has been.


Sadly, the price is Trip's unattractive feature. However, when talking small, independent business - particularly those that prominently feature products that are already expensive to begin with - then you realise the price is not all as bad as it appears.


As they themselves advise, it is essential you read up first about CBD oil and even recommend telling your doctor prior to start taking any of their products (or CBD treatments in general).


But from my point of view, all I can say is that it works. Amazingly well.


And not only that, it tastes great!


Thanks Trip!


 

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