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My Spine Is The Bassline

Fri 16 Jul 2010 2 comments

Relaxation is a brutal process.

I’ve had on-and-off pain in my left shoulder and neck for almost two years now.  I saw a chiropractor about a year-and-a-half ago about it.  He was a small, intense Korean man.  Imagine Kim Jong-Il yelling at you to “RELAX!” while he pounds on your back and yanks on your arms.  It wasn’t working out.

Last week, I started treatment with a new chiropractor’s office.  After an initial consult, I learned confirmed that I am pretty screwed up.  My left side is a friggin’ disaster – I’ve got all sorts of muscles in spasm throughout my back, shoulder, and neck.

Treatment consists of adjustments and massage therapy.  My adjustments come at the hands of a tiny English woman, who told me upon meeting me that I had “the tightest hamstrings [she’d] seen all day.”  Sadly, this was not a compliment – partly due to my running habit, partly due (I think) to genetics, I’ve got very tight legs; never in my life have I been able to touch my toes, but at least now I know that it’s not because of my gut.  I’m sorry, Margaret Thatcher – there’s a new Iron Lady in town.  When she presses down on the pressure points meant to release the muscles, it feels like she’s using a nightstick to do it.  It’s quite painful when it’s happening, but it does feel good after.  Ditto for the neck-cracking, which sounds like a zipper.  The good news is that today she said that my shoulder is “still very tight, but noticeably better.”  It feels somewhat better, so it was nice to get that confirmation.

Massage therapy – sounds relaxing, doesn’t it?  New-age-y music playing, pleasantly-scented air… and twenty minutes of being pounded on like a suitcase in those old American Tourister ads:

Granted, those doing the pounding are sweet and lovely – but I swear I was on the verge of tears today it hurt so much at some points.  For comparison’s sake: when I was in the twenty-third mile of my marathon a few years ago, I was convinced that I had fractured bones in my left foot; the massage, at points, hurt more than that.

It seems that part of the problem is mental – the more that I remind myself to relax, the more tense that I become.  So, yeah… in trying to make the problem better, I proceed to make it worse.   Typical.

Categories: Pains