Wednesday, July 17, 2013

what next...?

Several months ago the pain that is usually in my arms during (and especially after) working suddenly reared its ugliness and did not go away. Instead of feeling it for a couple of hours, it suddenly became constant. Every waking and sleeping hour and minute of every day. I self diagnosed it as tendinitis. In my left arm. From the elbow - which meant my entire forearm and hand were to be affected with spasmodic pain and achiness. I had already learned how to micromanage my massaging techniques around the pain, but now, I had to learn how to manage the normal bits of living - like eating, dressing... Being left handed, I think I had a bit of an advantage as I could already use my right hand for many actions (such as opening doors). But brushing my teeth became a little, erm, messy. I had to buy running shoes with velcro as I couldn't tie the laces. I altered my meals to accommodate not being able to cut anything or to spread butter on toast. I drank everything out of a light, acrylic mug with a big handle. Getting out of the car involved a complex manoeuvre of reaching over with the right arm and a head butt to the door window and a quick escape before it might swing back shut.

For weeks I have been seeing an acupuncturist and chiropractor. I was seeking massage but after a few times that just hurt too much to be helpful. I eventually had to make a decision based on finances and the needles won. It was a good thing I couldn't actually see the needles stuck in various parts of amy arms and leg (and one time even the top of my head). Really, acupuncture is not as bad as you might think. The worst part is not being able to move for half an hour or more. After 20 minutes or so there is an incredible urge to draw the knees up, or to turn over and curl up in a ball. But you can not move. Trust me, it will hurt if you do. But now, this week, I have gone from having 30 needles to just eight! the pain level is more like 2 or 3 out of 10 instead of 8 or 9.

I am not sure what happened. Both my acupuncturist and myself were flummoxed at my lack of healing in a timely manner. It was getting better, but only in teeny measurements.

So I made the difficult and painful decision at the end of June that I would not be able to continue working as a massage therapist. I hadn't been able to work for almost six months already. Letters were written - and I was pleased that I could write legibly, though I had to take a break after each one.

Maybe making that decision helped. I stopped thinking and hoping and wondering if.... when....

15 comments:

  1. Oh no...I'm so sorry you have been/are hurting. Good for you, though, for trying alternate medicine instead of just reaching for the drugs. It may be a little slower but I really believe alternate medicine is your best bet. Fingers crossed you continue to improve.

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    1. oh, I've been taking drugs, too! Lots of Advil, though I am now off that.
      I am pleased that this heat isn't aggravating it.

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  2. Have you not tried to find out the source of your pain? There might be something wrong in your elbow joint that is causing the pain in your arm and hand. Is going to a regular doctor not an option? You may have to have an X-ray or a scan made of your elbow. That's how I found out that I have a torn meniscus. Good luck!

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    1. I know that it is from over-use. And that it is muscular - so x-rays wouldn't help. Both of my jobs involve a lot of heavy arm work so it was only a matter of time.

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  3. How can you be so sure? If I were you, I would have it checked just to be certain. It's usually not a good idea to self diagnose.

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    1. I have a medical background.
      Plus I have treated such injuries many times (and know that it takes a long and arduous course of healing)

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  4. Wow, that sucks. Happy to learn the pain is becoming more manageable...

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    1. It does suck, but I am happy to less incapacitated.
      Nice to see you again :)

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  5. Maybe you should visit an orthopedics.

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    1. hmm, not sure how that would help.
      Or do you mean osteopathic? I have done that as well.

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  6. Oh dear. You have my sympathy, if that helps... no, not really. Sigh.

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    1. oh, I'll take sympathy. yes, I will.

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  7. You must really have been in a huge amount of pain to have altered so many habits. I believe strongly in acupuncture and I'm glad it's helping you. I never minded the waiting part when I had acupuncture treatments. I liked being able to lie quietly in a dim room, deeply inhaling eucalyptus...

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    1. Yes, it was quite significant. And rather scary how a simple movement could exacerbate it!
      No inhaling of eucalyptus for me ... this was a man who was not into any spa-like spaces :(

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  8. Oh my gosh. I was scrolling through trying to catch up but had to come back to this one. I'm so sorry about the pain and the career decision. I hope you continue to improve, even if not at the pace you want.

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