Tired in pain
I am dog-tired today. Dragged my butt off the couch (slept sitting up all night – reasons to follow shortly) and into the shower and before I knew it D was sticking his head in to let me know I was late. Crap. I finished my shower and jumped out, slapped some make up on my face (haven’t seen a mirror yet to see how poorly/well I did there lol) and left the house in ten minutes flat. I’ve adapted to the pain flare up I’m having by contorting my body at odd angles to alleviate the pain….I even went to try a new treatment this weekend in the hopes of finding some relief.
I’ve been to this place before, this wellness centre. The staff are kind and friendly, the therapists don’t push you into regimented appointments every Tuesday and Thursday for the next ten weeks and they listen to you when you have something to suggest or add to treatment….they really make you feel involved in the decision making, which makes for great bedside manner in the end. The one massage person I’ve seen there was in on Saturday morning when I arrived and he talked to me for several minutes about the procedure he pushed the last time I was there; decompression therapy.
They have these neck collars that have inflatable pockets that gently lift the pressure of your head from your neck, allowing the cervical spine to separate a little and reset infused with blood and fluids, making neck pain recede. I’ve been wary to try this treatment, although I have heard wonderful feedback from other spinal pain patients, the thought of separating my cervical vertebrae sounds a bit scary. I decided to trust it though, and go for it. I mean, I had to try or I’d never know if it might help me.
The collar was not tight around my throat but there was a big psychological barrier there for me, having something secured around my neck. The collar is heavy and covered in a silicone feeling material…the smell was burning and overpowering from the cleaner just recently applied. Strong enough to make my eyes water (which made me feel safer, weirdly). The therapist adjusted it several times stopping to ask if I could swallow and breathe alright after each adjustment. Once I worked around the psychological aspects of it I relaxed and told the therapist I was ready.
The pump was turned on and I could instantly feel the pressure building in the collar. It came up to meet my chin and I felt it press against the back ridge of my skull and my chin at the same time, forcing my head into an upward tilt. The side bladders filled slower and the therapist asked that I let him know when to stop, and to do so before I found it uncomfortable or had trouble breathing or swallowing. The side inflation is what gently pulled my neck into a full stretch and the pain was more or less gone. Granted, my head was at a very awkward angle and i had to sit very straight and still while fighting the urge to rip the thing off from around my neck, but the pain sort of released….but I wasn’t sure it was a good thing. We did three sets of 10 minutes each, one step up from the last each time, elongating the stretch. When we were done I felt strange. This is what I think happened…or what it felt like, anyway:
The pressure was let out of the device slowly and as it rested the weight of my head back onto my neck I suddenly felt I was in danger. You know that feeling….it’s a warning system your body uses to warn you before doing something that might adversely affect your health. Like when you try to pick something heavy up and you feel the strain in the wrong place…if you carry on anyway, after that wary “I shouldn’t do that” feeling you’re pretty much guaranteed to pay for your stupid choice. That’s how my neck felt. It was as if my bones had separated and then, as the pressure came down, the bones reconnected (without the cushioning of discs between) and sat precociously, one on top of the next, I felt as if the whole thing would fall apart if I moved my head too quickly in any direction.
I picked up a bottle of water and it felt like my thumb and middle finger were about to snap off at the joint. I put the water down and got a straw. I picked up the toothpaste while getting ready to go out and tried to squeeze some onto my toothbrush. It didn’t even almost work. I had to mash the tube flat against the counter with my elbow. I can’t even use my palm to do this anymore as my wrists are behaving like my finger joints.
So…no more decompression for me. I think it set off a system wide flare up? I know that reasoning is not sound but what else could it be? My very limited range of motion in my neck is now ridiculous. I can’t look over either shoulder without turning my entire body. My hands are weak and sore, joints are freezing and cracking in and out of position and inside, it feels as if my entire muscular system is too short for the bones that stretch it. The worst, right now, is a pain in my neck that is radiating to the joints in my jaw, right behind my ears, and the headache that never lets go.
It makes me angry to have to put up with all of this. There must be a way that doesn’t involve sedating myself to a zombie-state with drugs that will allow me to exist without having to fight so hard. I can’t stop working and cannot reduce my hours (there would be no point in that as I’ll just end up with no benefits for the meds and would only spend my time off sleeping or making myself crazy by staying cooped up and miserable.) I feel a little hopeless today…like this is it. *this* bullshit, is what life is made up of now. Miserable pain and making it to the next day, all the while hoping the pain might dim. When it doesn’t, I float along like this, trying not to validate it too much without ignoring it. Pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t a good thing. Paying it too much mind isn’t a good thing. So, today, I’ll wear it as a cloak, wrapped tight around my shoulders, and will try to make myself believe that when I make it through my day…another 7 hours or so….and get home I’ll be able to let some of it go….even if I have to blast my brain with enough drugs to render me useless.
This fucking sucks. I’m sick of feeling like a 90-year-old woman. I’m trying like hell to believe I can change this, even if just by perspective, but really, when your head hurts so much you start to feel sea sick from the throbbing…. well, there’s not much promise in those moments.
Okay. Whine concluded for the day. Maybe a coffee will help perk me up some.