Who Is
The Fragrant Muse?

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Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm a Creative Soul and Happy Person. I have a passion for my Family, Aromatics, Fairy Gardens, Pugs, SoulCollage, Miniature Worlds, Visual Journals.


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reflections on Physical Pain

I always tell my clients that physical pain is important feedback from the body and if you don't listen, it will only get louder.   I recently experienced this firsthand.

Let me say at the outset that I consider myself very lucky.  I put a lot of demands on my dear body and she rarely complains.  

However,  two weeks ago I woke up Monday morning with a small sharp pain under my right scapula.  I figured I'd slept in a weird position and proceeded to ignore it, assuming the discomfort would disappear as I moved through my day.  It didn't.  It grew sharper and took on a burning sensation.  I stretched my back muscles a little and took some Advil.  

Did I ask my husband (an excellent massage therapist) to work on my back?  Nope.
Did I call any one of the dozen other MTs that I know?  Nope.
Did I use my Theracane or lay down on a tennis ball the way I advise my clients to do? Nope.

Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn (with a generous dose of pride thrown in).

By Wednesday (2 days later), I felt like I had a hot poker boring into my back.  The dreaded "referred pain"
began, moving down my right arm in a dull toothache-like sensation settling in my triceps and my forearm.  Turning my head to the right became excruciating.  I couldn't even hug my husband without shooting pain. 

I was experiencing a trigger point, something I see everyday in my massage practice.  This particular fiend was (and still is) located in my Serratus Posterior Superior muscle which lies deep in the upper back. 
Trigger points are discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in a taut band of muscle.  The spots are painful on compression (yeowwww!) and palpation can produce referred pain.  Oh yeah, trigger points suck. 

Below is a diagram that clearly illustrates my areas of discomfort.  The X is the trigger point and the red dots are the referred pain zones.  I couldn't have drawn a more exact representation of my experience.

The good news is, today I'm feeling better!   After a week of ignoring my pain, I took action and now wonder why I waited so long.  It is SO important to listen to the body's messages which often begin in a whisper and end up in a very loud holler if ignored.

Yes, today I feel not only less pain, but more energy and a more positive outlook.  I am in the mood to write and work in my art journal.  It's the first day in two weeks that I feel motivated to blog, run errands and straighten up the house. 

For the past week, this has been my consistent, proactive approach:

1) I've had my husband work the soft tissue around my scapula and perform trigger point therapy on the most tender areas.

2) I've been using my Theracane everyday.

3) I've seen my friend Greg the Chiropractor twice.
4) I've been using an essential oil blend of Birch, Black Pepper, Marjoram and Cinnamon on my back. 
5) I've made it a point to get extra sleep and stop for quiet time during the day so I don't overextend my muscles.
6) I've been drinking more water to keep my soft tissue hydrated.

7) I've been using a heating pad.

Upon reflection, I can now see how this unfamiliar experience of pain dominating my body also influenced my personality:
~ I began to binge on refined carbs - perhaps for the increased seratonin?  Of course this only served to make me sleepy and bloated.
~ I avoided the computer.
~ I became irritable with noise like talkative clients, loud music or tv commercials.
~ My patience was short (just ask my poor husband).
~ I had trouble concentrating.
~ I dreaded going to bed (unusual for me...I love my bed)  because I knew the pain would be worse when I was still and that finding a comfortable position would be a challenge.
~ I avoided friends who called and didn't feel at all like socializing.

If f you know someone who suffers from chronic pain, please be aware that it is exhausting.  Gently encourage them to listen to the pain, honor its message and become proactive in their own healing.


marinik said...

you're so right, why is it that when it comes to us we are not as gentle and caring?? glad you are feeling better :)

rxBambi said...

I'm glad you're feeling better too. What the heck is a Theracane? I see the picture there, but what does it do? Weird... I might need one...

The Fragrant Muse said...

A theracane is a wonderful tool that allows you to apply pressure to your own trigger points that you can't normally reach. It hurts like the devil for about 5 minutes then oh..sweet relief!


Kitty said...

Hey Muse, this is such an interesting post... I get these buggers in the same spot from time to time. I actually get relief by hanging. I just go out to a swingset or find some monkey bars or my son's bunk bed, and hang, allowing the muscle to get a little traction. What interested me was you describing how you stubbornly avoid the pain. It reminded me of a recent yoga injury.A couple of my students were beside themselves that I was hurt. I wasn't allowed to be injured. You take care of yourself and feel better! I gave you a shout out on Organic Orgy! Thanks, kitty

MagnificentDebra said...

The 'chronic pain is exhausting' line was something I needed to be reminded of in regards to my mom...Patience, I need to remember patience.

I loved how you honestly chronicled your journey...so many people aren't in touch with themselves enough to be able to do that...But you got every step...been there too!

julochka said...

very good to know. i always learn something when i come here. yay for that! :-)

B said...

I'm feeling exactly the same kind of pain on the other side of the body. I so wish you were here to help me with it. I'm checking that theracane thing!

spudballoo said...

ouch ouch ouch....so interesting as ever, but poor you. Are you all better now? Hugs (gentle in case hurty) xx