A Real Pain In the Neck: It’s Not A Too-Mah!

horse massage

Perhaps I need one of these?

Ever felt like someone was stabbing you in the neck with a large flathead screwdriver?  How I’ve been feeling lately is exactly how I think it would feel.  I say this because we have one in the garage and that’s the mental image I get as I’m in pain these days.

After five months of issues with my neck and upper back ranging from uncomfortable to excruciating, I had finally reached the breaking point.

Yes you saw that right.  FIVE MONTHS.  Why have I not gone to the doctor?  There are many reasons, the first and foremost being that I’m used to being in pain.  I’ve had back problems forever, this just seemed like yet another chapter in the ever popular saga of “Look what motherhood has done to my body!”  I also live with a man who feels that if you’re not bleeding profusely it’s probably not serious enough to go see the doctor.  Add to that the fact that I don’t make any money right now.  Making the decision to pay to go see a doctor about something that may be something but could be nothing is almost viewed as a luxury.  Believe me, I’ve shelled out my share of money for conditions that were unsolved mysteries.

Remember this?  The I-Don't-Remember-What-The-Award-Is Award?

Maybe I’m just questioning things too much…

So back to the breaking point.  About three weeks ago I felt a small lump on the back of my neck where the pain seemed to be worsening, right around where the pinched nerve I’ve had forever lurks.  I’ve had some lumps and bumps pop up on my bod lately, and they almost always turn out to be another zit.  But this was not turning into anything.  I don’t know how many times I played contortionist in the bathroom trying to get a good look at it in the mirror.  I tried to show Evil Genius, who of course thinks that I think that there is always something wrong with me.  Naturally I didn’t pursue that venue too long, since he has all kinds of coefficients to think about.

I didn’t look this up online, by the way.  If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, then you know that one thing I’ve learned is to never ever ever google your symptoms.  EVER.  You’ll think you’re dying.  When all of this started back in December, I made the mistake of looking stuff up and wrote about it. I had what turned out to be bronchitis on top of everything else that was going wrong, and my subsequent neck pain was poo-pooed as being a little from being sick and a lot from anxiety.  Another reason why I haven’t been back to the doctor.

Don't do it!

Don’t do it!

Anyhoo, I’m rambling again.  Back to this week.  After the third night of very little sleep due to being uncomfortable and anxiety ridden thoughts like “What if it’s cancer?  I will die and my kids will have no mom!”  I finally called the doctor’s office.  Often getting in to see the doctor around these parts is like playing a strategy game.  I got to talk to the nurse, which is always F-U-N.

“And why do you need to see the doctor today?” The nurse asked.

“I’m experiencing neck pain.”

“How long have you been experiencing this pain?”

Um…ummmm… be honest, “Please don’t laugh at me, but five months.”  I replied, and then quickly added  “There’s a bump there too!”

Then I had to spend another few minutes describing this bump in detail.  I must have done a good job, because I was in.  Shockingly I got in that morning, but it was two hours away.  I spent the next two hours in an anxious person’s hell, because I do this every time I have any kind of ailment.  I spent two hours worrying about the doctor’s appointment.  Should I live like I’m dying?  What if I go in and she takes one look at the bump and whisks me off to have it removed immediately because it’s that advanced?  Should I go ahead and name the bump something like Cher so I can talk to it?

Anxiety-cat-400x300By the time I made it to the doctor’s office, I was pretty much a basket case.  Luckily they didn’t make me wait very long.  I went in with my list of symptoms in hand (because I forget to mention really important things) and then promptly forgot about it the second the doctor walked in.

The doctor looked me over and asked some questions.  She had me do some interesting things with my arms, because I am soooo strong and in shape these days.  She felt my neck, including the bump.

“So what do you think it is?  Do you think it’s serious?”  I asked nervously.

“No.  That bump is part of your muscle,”  she replied with a smile.

Really?

More questions-had I been in any car accidents?  Had I fallen from a great height recently?  Did I fall down the stairs (this is a legitimate question-everyone knows my stairs are out to get me).  Unfortunately, there is nothing that I could pinpoint that could have caused me to injure myself and thus explain some of the pain I was experiencing.  Bummer.

After looking me over a little more, she declares “Looks like we’re definitely going to need some x-rays.  Would you like to go to the main clinic (in other town) this week, or wait and set something up here next week?”

“It’s not life threatening?  I’m not dying?”  I had to be sure, you know.

“Nooooo…”  she said, still smiling (STOP SMILING!  It’s not funny!)

“I’ll do it next week.”  I figured since I wasn’t going to die that I could wait and do it when it was convenient.

I was sent away with prescriptions for muscle relaxants and a pain reliever that wouldn’t upset my stomach like 800 mg of ibuprofen would.  I don’t know about you, but whenever I think about muscle relaxants, I think of this scene from Sixteen Candles:

Muscle relaxants.

When I think of muscle relaxants… Sixteen Candles Wedding.

I can’t say that they’re working like that for me, which is a little disappointing.  I feel a little weird, but that’s about it.  I can’t say that the pain reliever is doing much for me either, which is a lot disappointing.

As for what I believe is going to happen next, I foresee some more physical therapy in my future.  I’ve been there and done that in the past.  If it makes me feel better, I suppose it will be worth it.  And because I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use this meme again, here we go.

Oh yes...

Oh yes…

Theme Thursday: Breastfeeding Gave Me Super Powers

Oh I still have this super power.

Oh I still have this super power.

Today’s Theme Thursday topic is breast feeding.  I told Jenn that I gave this one two boobs up. 

When I breastfed, I had super powers.   Yes you saw that right-breastfeeding my kids gave me a couple of special powers.

Always sleeping he was...

Always sleeping he was…

Breastfeeding Super Power #1:  Super Sleep Inducer.  Ability to make infants fall asleep upon contact.

I breastfed my son with no complications for me other than sore boobs.  The thing about this kid is that he SLEPT ALL THE TIME.  Literally.  People would come to visit and he would sleep.  We couldn’t even get him to wake up long enough to give them a “Hey what’s up?”  We would try to give him tummy time on the floor and he would fall asleep.  I would try to breastfeed him and he would FALL ASLEEP.  Immediately.  I really stressed out about this, because since he slept all the time he wouldn’t get a whole lot to eat.  I had directions to do all kinds of things to get him to wake back up.  Tickle his feet, undress him, and so on.  Nothing really worked.  In the end he must have got enough, the doctor didn’t seem all that worried about it.  I wish I could say that power carried over to the second one, but alas it did not.  While my son slept all the time my daughter rarely slept for very long, and she always wanted to sleep with me.

When The Princess was this teeny thing I was a champion staircrawler, that's because it's the only way I could get up there. Damn pelvis.

When The Princess was this teeny thing I was a champion staircrawler, that’s because it’s the only way I could get up there. Damn pelvis.

Breastfeeding Super Power #2:  Dislocation.  Surely useful for something.

Breastfeeding my daughter was an interesting experience because as great as the health benefits were for both of us, it was actually making some things worse for me.  When I had her something weird happened with my body.  I was at the doctor’s office just a few weeks after having her with neck and body problems.  My neck hurt so bad I couldn’t move it, I couldn’t sit up, I couldn’t even lay down without it killing me.  I also couldn’t walk up the stairs.  My legs and lower back hurt so badly I could barely get out of bed to get her when she was screaming her head off.

My doctor handed me a neck brace and then told me to crawl over to the physical therapist and have them take a look-see.  The diagnosis?  My neck muscles were clenched so tight that there were literal knots in the muscle.  And why I couldn’t walk?  My pelvis was out of alignment.  I was an inch higher on one side than the other.  What would help?  Months of physical therapy.  Oh, and if I’d stop breastfeeding, that would help too.  Apparently your body releases something called relaxin when you are pregnant so that all the joints loosen up to let that baby come on out easier.  Some people like me just had body parts just waiting to pop right out of place, and it keeps going until you stop breastfeeding.

I didn’t stop-I kept on breastfeeding as long as I could.  The physical therapy plus the exercises I had to do at home really helped.  However, for months afterward I would literally have part of my pelvis pop out of alignment walking down the hallway at work. I’d have to go into my classroom while the kids were out of the room, lie down on the floor, and do the exercises to bring everything back to semi-ok.  I’m sure anyone walking by the window of the classroom wondered what the heck was going on.

I can’t say that I ever used this superpower, or even what it would be useful for.  Maybe it was in case my daughter got stuck somewhere and I had to go in and get her?  With her that was entirely possible, considering she was mobile pretty early on because she hated to stay in one place.

To this day I have issues with my neck and back.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again-she is literally a pain in my neck.  I’m having some breastfeeding body flashbacks at the moment.  I have barely been able to move my neck for weeks now.  (If you’re a blogger that I’ve been commenting on tons and wondering why I’m not visiting your blog like I used to, well, sitting around aggravates it even more, so I’m doing what I can…)

I was lucky to be able to breastfeed both kids for the first seven months of their lives.  Yup, then they kicked my boobs to the curb.  That was it, they wanted no more.  None of that having to worry about weaning, they just did it themselves.  I applaud people that are able to do it for the full year, but for me it was probably better this way.  Of course no breast feeding=no more superpowers.  😦

Thanks for the mammaries…HA HA. Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!  Be sure to read all of the Theme Thursday posts over at Something Clever 2.0

breastfeeding