Treat Yo Self!

Right. Today, I’m gonna talk about something that is both very important and very applicable.

Wait, that’s the wrong pic.

I want to talk about looking after myself—yourselves, ourselves, etc. In that vein, here, have the correct gif:

As some context for this seemingly out-of-the-blue post, here’s a look at the last two weeks of my life…

I’ve always had back trouble. Lower back, upper back, shoulders, neck, hips, regular sciatica—basically, you name it, I get it. Sometimes it’s a murmur in the background, sometimes a sharp stab when I least expect it. There aren’t many days that go by without some form of pain, but for the most part it’s not crippling, overwhelming, or unbearable. Every now and then things change drastically, and I get constant, high levels of pain (usually neck or hips).

Two weeks ago, it changed.  Suddenly, I had constant, mid-to-high level pain at the top of my neck and the bases of my ears; pain bad enough and constant enough to make every shift at the day job an exercise in endurance and mental strength. I kept going for a week, because that’s what I do. I just keep going, because one day it will be better again. I get used to the new level of pain, prepare myself for it, and just keep working.

That particular method didn’t work this time.

I knew after the first week that I’d have to do something about it. The pain was so bad that I had to leave early from my last shift of the week at the day job, and I had become so mentally weary from the pain that I was finding it hard to do more than 1k words on my WiP. It occurred to me, vaguely, that a massage might be a good idea, but I wasn’t sure it was affordable or worthwhile, and it sounded kinda…you know, extravagant. And what if it didn’t help?

By the start of the next week I was in too much pain to do anything but try to find somewhere to get a massage. Monday was a public holiday, so no joy. Tuesday, there were no female massagers available (and one masseuse completely booked out until July). Wednesday—today—I went to the appointment I was able to make for myself yesterday. I wasn’t particularly hopeful; in my limited experience, there isn’t much that takes away that kind of back pain.

I’m so happy I was wrong. I walked in stiff and sore, and walked out with about half the amount of pain. Half. The massage therapist told me that it had been bad for so long that it would take more than one session to fix it all, which means I have another two hour-long sessions over the next couple of weeks.

So. Quick recap for those of you following at home: I just spent nearly two weeks in constant pain because it didn’t occur to me that it was worthwhile trying to do something about it.

I got used to the pain. I got used to the limitations. There is stuff that has been literally fixable for years, and I haven’t gone to get it fixed because—what? I thought it was extravagant. I thought a massage was a luxury, not a treatment. And even if it was a luxury—so what? Sometimes that’s what you need. There are enough health problems that come with being a writer without adding constant pain and stress to that pile.

Don’t be like me. Treat Yo Self. Maybe you’ll find it was something you should have done years ago.

6 thought on “Treat Yo Self!”

  1. Intisar Khanani June 15, 2017 at 3:04 amEditReply

    Thank you for this post. I’ve been having pain in my shoulders and neck for about two months, and my chiropractor has told me a couple of times to get a massage. I’m going to start calling to make an appointment today. And I’m so, so glad that the massage helped you!

    • W.R.Gingell Post authorJune 15, 2017 at 8:05 amEditReply

      Do it, do it! Seriously the easiest, most enjoyable, and most effective thing I’ve ever done for my back, pain management-wise. It’s so weird to be able to turn my head from side to side without stopping because of the pain 😀 I’m sorry you’ve been having pain for so long, though 🙁

      If I’d done this in the beginning (or years and years ago, in the case of the problems further down my back), I would have had a lot less pain and a lot less trouble. Obviously there’s stuff that a massage can’t change (the scoliosis, the sciatica, etc) but it does mitigate the pain a LOT. I’m going to think about getting a massage every month. I think the budget can stretch to that, and the pain relief is worth it all 😀

      • Intisar Khanani June 15, 2017 at 1:27 pmEditReply

        I hereby recommend the establishment of a monthly massage fund. (You think I’m joking.) I also just called the masseuse I last saw, and her number is no longer working. This clearly has nothing to do with how long it’s been since I went in for a (medically necessary) massage. *cough* *cough* But I called another group that was recommended to me and am waiting on a call back! Self care is so important, and terribly easy to overlook or think of as a luxury. It isn’t. I mean, we’ve only each got one body, right? Taking care of it is rather critical…

        • W.R.Gingell Post authorJune 15, 2017 at 1:31 pmEditReply

          Exactly! W.R. approves!

  2. Elisabeth Wheatley June 19, 2017 at 11:01 pmEditReply

    I am so sorry you suffered like that. ? I think women especially need to be told to take care of themselves and more if they’re a regular pain sufferer or creative, so you’re a triple special case! This is a great reminder and I’m glad you’re finding some relief!

    • W.R.Gingell Post authorJune 19, 2017 at 11:03 pmEditReply

      I’m special, all right–a special kind of stupid ? to put up with it when at least some of it was fixable… ?

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