Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Pain in the Neck

For the last several months, I've had a new companion in my life... a very unwelcome new companion. Every few days, sometimes lasting for a day or more, I have been having really bad pains in my neck.

Here, let me show you:

I know it's the trapezius muscle that's the problem. My right shoulder has been knotted up for a while, and when I got my massage over Christmas the therapist could tell instantly that I had problems there. I can deal with a knotty shoulder -- but it's the sharp, throbbing, mind-numbing pain I'm having at the very top of the muscle, where the trapezius meets the base of the skull in the back of the neck -- that's really giving me problems.

I think I know the cause - this is on my right side, and it gets worse when I'm really tense. This is my purse-holding shoulder, it's my mouse hand side, it's the side that I usually turn to to watch tv at home, etc. It's easy to figure out why the muscle is tight and tensed up.

I'll be asking my doctor about it when I see her next week, and I'm sure the answers will be to stretch more, to adjust my posture and position, and - of course - to lose weight to reduce pressure on the muscles. I'm trying to learn some new stretches now, and I've been playing around with my pillows and my seating arrangements to see what I can do. At the moment, I'm hopped up on a lot of ibuprofen and sporting the oh-so-sexy eau-de-CVS-brand-Ben-Gay. Awesome.

I was talking last night with a few friends, comparing stories about our creaky aches and pains and other maladies. None of us are 22 anymore, and we're all learning better ways to take care of ourselves. Just part of getting older, I guess.

Image source.


DC Food Blog said...

Count me in on the creaky side. I have that whole should making the neck hurt thing too. I have limited range of motion in my neck. It's weird though, I stretch like a mofo, I get a chair massage every other week and I'm still stiff. I'm sure it's my assy posture at work.

Stef said...

limited range of motion? How did that develop?

I really should start getting massages - do yours help? It's funny, a few years ago I would've never contemplated getting a massage, even a chair massage, every other week because of the expense. Now that I have the money, I have a hard time figuring out how I could do it because of the time. What a tradeoff... it's that stress that's causing the problem in the first place!

Has your dr. ever been able to do anything for your neck? I know it's mostly my posture, which is partly my weight, but I also wonder if it has to do with being dehydrated which I know I am. My muscles need more water, I'm sure.

DC Food Blog said...

It's been harder and harder to turn my neck. It's come gradually in the past year. I haven't really gone to my doctor for my neck. My massages help. I really feel it in my neck when they work out the knots in my shoulders. But somehow (bad posture) I get stiff again. I wish I could find a good stretch to work it out.

Stef said...

I talked to my Dr. Dad about this last night, prepping for my visit to my own dr. next week. I mentioned massages -- but he said what I probably need is a referral for a few visits to a physical therapist, instead, to be *taught* how to do the right stretches and improve my posture. That may be what you need, too. I'll let you know what happens with my dr. next week.