Friday, November 20, 2009

Seeking Relief

I’ve been on the DL most of this week.  I’ve been battling a debilitating headache since Monday.  For the past few evenings, I’ve made my way to the bed as soon as possible and prayed for sleep to come quickly. I got absolutely no relief from Tylenol, a warm lavender bath or a cup of chamomile tea.  In fact, I envisioned the beastly headache laughing at my pitiful attempts to tame it.

When I got up yesterday morning, I felt as if I’d been in a battle most of the night trying to beat down the throbbing on the right side of my head.  The headache wasn’t as intense, but felt as if it was laying in wait to pounce as soon as I let my guard down.  I needed to find some relief because I couldn’t imagine suffering a fourth day in such discomfort.  I called my chiropractor, Barry’s, office hoping he could see me right away.  No such luck… the receptionist explained Barry doesn’t have Thursday office hours, but she could get me in to see him first thing Friday morning.  Not good enough… I desperately explained that I needed to see someone NOW or I was headed to the emergency room. 

Mercifully, Amy, the receptionist heard the urgency in my voice and asked if I’d ever had acupuncture and if not, would I be interested in trying it out.  Without hesitation, I said, “Sure!” and assured her that I could get to the office in the next ten minutes.  At this point, I was open to anything and sticking some pins in my head, neck, shoulder, whatever, couldn’t be any worse than what I’d been dealing with over the last couple of days.

After completing some paperwork, I limped into the examination room, explained what was going on and when Dr. Freedman proceeded to rub where I indicated the area at the base of my skull from which the pain was emanating, tears streamed down my face. The muscles along my right shoulder and shoulder blade were sore to the touch.  The diagnosis included constricted neck tendons and neck muscles. The doctor bought out some contraption that vibrated along the affected area, after which he did a bit of cranial manipulation, and finally he asked if I was up for some acupuncture. Again, without thinking twice, I said, “Yes.”   Dr. Freedman explained that it would be nothing like I’ve seen on T.V.  It wouldn’t be gentle and would probably make me feel a little worse before I felt better.  After this warning, I was still up for it and took a deep breath as he stuck the first pin in my shoulder blade.  It felt as if the tip of the pin penetrated the nucleus of my pain.  Once the pin was positioned properly, he tapped it gently. The pain was almost paralyzing and yet it also provided relief because it was tangible and affirmed the severe discomfort I’d felt for days.  The doctor repeated this process along my neck and shoulder.  It took less than 10 minutes, and once he finished I did feel significantly better. 

Dr. Freedman urged me to schedule a follow-up with my chiropractor within the next 48 hours.  He also explained that my muscles and tendons are in bad shape and my current state has been a long time in the making.  It didn’t happen overnight.  He asked if I had any idea of what may have triggered the lemon-sized knot on the right side of my back.  I honestly can’t think of anything, but who knows… our bodies internalize stress that we’re not even aware of. 

By the time I got home yesterday, I could feel the pesky headache about to make its nightly appearance, but when it did, it didn’t seem as fierce as it had been prior to the acupuncture.  I was able to actually help Yannick with his homework and I even stayed awake long enough to check out Grey’s Anatomy. 

This morning I felt a bit refreshed, but looked forward to my 9:30am chiropractor’s appointment.  My chiropractor reviewed the notes from my visit with the doctor yesterday and after his initial examination, he concurred. Lying on his examination table, I endured another cranial manipulation, deep tissue message, heat pack, neck and back adjustments.  By the time I left his office, I felt like new money.  Barry’s magic manipulation beat my once-unbearable pain into total submission and I feel like myself for the first time in almost a week.  Hallelujah!

I’ve promised myself that I’ll be taking it easy this weekend and I’ll be right back on Barry’s table first thing Monday morning ready for whatever suggests to keep me straight and headache free. I think I also need to give some thought as to what emotional adjustments I need to make when it comes to managing my stress. 

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