Tuesday, June 01, 2010

My New Addiction

Some of y’all are probably aware that I’ve been having problems with my neck and back recently. Let’s just say that last Christmas, I was a mess. My arms either burned or were numb. My neck hurt so bad I couldn’t turn my head. I couldn’t sleep. I could only sit in one position, and even then, not for very long. My back ached constantly – except when the shooting pain took over. The migraines were the final straw. I finally had to go see the doctor.

What he discovered was a bit of a perfect storm of problems that were going to take a while to sort out: spinal issues that were just bad genetics, an old injury that hadn’t healed properly, too many hours sitting improperly at the computer, and (like a lot of other people) I carry stress and tension in my neck and shoulders.

There were medical things – chiropractic care, a series of painful shots and a course of massive anti-inflammatory meds. Painkillers to get me through the tough spots and help me sleep. There were lifestyle changes – a new kind of pillow (which I hated for a long time), special stretches and exercises I had to do, ergonomic keyboard, mouse, and chair, more breaks when I’m working at the computer (and those breaks meant getting up and walking around – not just clicking over to Facebook.) More yoga. Wrist braces to sleep in at night.

It took a while, but I started to feel a little better. Then the doctor said it was time to add something else to the mix. I know I rolled my eyes, because, dear dog, my life was already upside down from everything. Then I got the prescription: Massage Therapy. Thirty minutes a week.

Finding another hour in my week – including drive time, etc – didn’t sound great, but hey, massage! I’d had a couple of massages before and loved them.

Then I found out this wasn’t the relax-and-let-me-rub-you kind of massage. This was deep tissue, let’s-sort-you-out kind of massage. My massage therapist is a tiny, soft-spoken woman who could probably bring a grown man to his knees with her thumbs. Let’s put it this way – when you come home from a massage, gulp three Advil and strap an ice pack to your back, it wasn’t what you’d call relaxing. But the next day… wow. I felt a thousand percent better. Those early days weren’t fun, but the results were nothing short of amazing.

As I’ve gone on, the massages have gotten less painful simply because they are working their magic on my muscles. Yeah, occasionally there’s a bad knot that has to be worked out, but it’s no longer a run-for-the-ice-pack adventure each time. I’ve gotten addicted to massage. When I got sunburned last weekend, my first thought was “oh, no, I’ll have to cancel my massage!”

Aside from working knots out of my muscles, massage has all kinds of secondary benefits I didn’t know about until I started receiving them. The increased blood flow gives me energy. Relaxing the muscles in my neck and back makes me feel taller, like my back has more space to move in. I sleep better. The time on the table with the dim light and new age music helps me clear my head – meditation without even trying. I’ve come up with all kinds of book ideas and solutions to plot problems while on the massage table. I’m less stressed, more relaxed, more creative. I look forward to massage time now – even the sometimes painful stuff. The occasional painful part is totally worth the overall wonderfulness.

And because I’m a regular, my therapist often takes a little extra time with me to do non-medically required massage. That kind of make-me-feel-good stuff that has me drooling into the headrest. Just to help me remember how much I love massage.

I know some folks don’t like to be massaged – modesty issues (not me) or that they don’t like to be touched (also not me). If I were rich, I’d move my massage therapist into my house and have a massage every day – that’s how addicted I am. I’m a convert to the wonders of massage therapy and getting a little evangelical about spreading the news.

An addiction that’s good for me – body and mind. Gotta love it.

So what’s your good-for-you addiction?



Jane said...

I love massages. My cousin has one of those massage chairs that you see at Brookstone. I wish I could afford to buy one of those. I don't think any of my addictions are good for me.

Angel said...

None of my addictions are good for me. Sigh...


Playground Monitor said...

I've been to your massage therapist (thank you Playfriends for the gift certificate) and she IS awesome. I could easily join the massage of the day program. As it is, I'm like Jane and don't think any of my addictions are good for me.

Verification word = nesly, the phonetic spelling for that chocolate company. Oddly enough, I am not addicted to chocolate, though I do love those dark chocolate kisses

Smarty Pants said...

Good for me addiction? Er... no. Now if I had the money, I'd be a spa bunny and spend a fortune on massages and facials and treatments to keep me looking young and fresh. But I don't.

Maven Beverly said...

Deep tissue massages are what keep me going when I'm working non-stop on a deadline. I have severe neck & shoulder issues from long hours at the computer. There have been a few times when I couldn't turn my neck without being in pain. I recommend massage therapy to all writers.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

My new addiction is my cleaning lady. She's only been here once, but what a difference! Apparently, I suck at housekeeping. Throw in a deadline, and forget it. The surface looks clean(ish) but the dust is lurking a mile thick. Now, thanks to the most lovely Patricia, my house is shiny and the dust is under control. I can't wait for her to get here this week.

A massage sounds good too, I must admit.....

Sherry Werth said...

What a coincidence that you should blog about this today. I woke up feeling like I had been in a fight during the night. Everything hurts this morning! Maybe that's what I should do today during my lunch time. Get a massage!
My addictions...no, not good ones.

Anonymous said...

any winner from 5/17

Angel said...

Sorry, Kimh, but that's the day I came down with pneumonia! I'll post a winner this weekend.



Pamela Hearon said...

My insurance now pays for 26 massages a year. So I go in every two weeks for a deep tissue work-out. I love it!!! I look forward to it and hate to miss it. Victor is a huge man and gets those elbows in so deep it makes him grunt. At first it hurt and made me sore. Now? The harder the better. He told me last week he thought he was going to have to get into roller blading on my back! It helps my posture and makes me feel wonderful:-)