Let me back up a bit. Back when I had my nasty car accident, I strained some muscles pretty badly in my left shoulder/neck. (I didn't really write about this much, because I was busy being hurt and stuff....)
I felt okay right after the accident, but I could feel those muscles beginning to lock up even a few hours post-collision. By the next morning, they were really bad. If I found a position where they weren't being used at all (example: coma, or sitting up perfectly straight with every vertebrae balanced on the lower one and not moving), they weren't bad. But using the muscles even a little bit caused sharp pain.
It made me look a little silly actually, because any time I wanted to lean over at all, or lie down or anything, I had to support my head with my opposite hand, reaching over and around my head to hold it straight. I simply could not bear the weight of my own head with my neck muscles! Weird.
Anyway, that day I went to a walk-in clinic. I'm paranoid about visiting doctors -- I generally expect them to send me away, telling me nothing is wrong. (I don't actually know where this paranoia came from, but there it is.) I was pretty certain that nothing was seriously hurt, but I felt badly enough that I was hopeful I could get something to lessen the pain.
He gave me some x-rays, and I checked out okay. I described what was going on, and what had happened. F (who was kind enough to accompany me) chimed in, mentioning that I am a skater and have a high pain tolerance. He was trying to make it clear that the fact that I'd decided to come meant that I was truly suffering. It was interesting, because the doctor said, "I can tell by how you're sitting."
I glanced down in surprise at how I was sitting, one leg tucked under the other, and didn't notice anything special. "You have perfect posture," he explained. "Your neck is completely straight -- that's common with neck injuries, when it hurts too much to move." He was right, I noticed, although neither F nor I had noticed it earlier. I could have been a ballet dancer just then, I had such good posture. Except for the not-moving part....
Anyway, after our initial talk, I waited forever, perching on a chair that reminded me of a dentist chair, talking randomly with F. At one point I actually gave up, too frustrated and in pain to want to wait any longer. "He's not going to help me," I told F sadly, wanting to just leave. He convinced me to wait a bit longer though.
Finally the doctor came back, and it turned out he WAS willing to help! I was so relieved; I was so afraid I'd just have to tough it out. There wasn't anything he could actually fix; my muscles were just very badly strained. I just needed rest, and my body would heal itself. But he gave me a variety of muscle relaxers and pain killers and anti-inflametories that would make it possible for me to rest. Yay, stuff to make me hurt less!
He said the injury was too "hot" right then to do anything but wait, but I should come back in a couple of weeks and he'd see if I needed anything else. Then finally I was free to go and rest (although first I proceeded to go to my insurance company and sell them my broken car for salvage).
Anyway, fast forward a couple of weeks, and I went back. My muscles were much better. I could lift my own head (!), and I had most of my range of motion back. I was still pretty stiff and sore though. The doctor recommended massage therapy as the best thing to complete my healing, beginning with a deep tissue full-body massage, and continuing with a chair massage twice a week to work the knots and kinks out of my shoulders.
Unfortunately being excessively busy, I didn't manage to actually schedule the darn massages right away. I finally treated myself to the full-body massage a week and a half ago. Expensive, but worth it (not to mention doctor-recommended!). It was nice... quite painful on my neck and shoulders, especially when she found the knotted up muscles in there... but there were several lovely relaxing bits too.
Today, I finally made it in for my first chair massage. I was kind of looking forward to it, because I figured "Hey, massage! Should feel good and relaxing."
Well, no. I forgot it was massage therapy, aka physical therapy. She only had 15 minutes, so she worked just on the problem spots. No peaceful foot rubs or oil or soft music for me today!
I was perversely proud of the fact that she was impressed with my injured muscles. "There is a huge huge knot here in your neck," she told me as she worked. Oooh, I got her to say 'huge' twice! I guess I'm just relieved, when I'm hurting, for another to see have physical evidence that I have a reason to hurt. Otherwise I'm paranoid that I'm just over-reacting.
Anyway. She did lots of digging and kneading, and I must say it was quite painful. Those neck and shoulder muscles are really taunt, and very resistive to being moved. But I think it was helpful too, I really do. I felt looser when she was through, and I could move my head more easily. Coolness.
I'm not sure I'll find time for twice a week, but I've already scheduled something for next wednesday. I'll just try to squeeze these in when I can, and hopefully I'll find myself a little bit better each time!