January 28, 2011

weight of the world

for a few years now, I have suffered/struggled with neck and shoulder pain, sometimes resulting in migraines. Although a majority of the time, I can power through, there have been days when the pain has brought me to my knees. You want to see a crabby girl? Just come visit me on a day where I've worn a thermacare heatwrap all day to try to relax the muscle knots in my shoulders, but end up with a migraine instead. Suck-eeee!
this all started a few years ago. occasionally, I'd have a sore neck or shoulders and in a day or two, with heat therapy, I'd be fine. Then I got my first migraine. After golfing 18 holes for work (yeah, it's rough, I know), I had a nagging pain in my shoulder that grew up my neck, until it filled the left side of my head. The pain grew until I just laid in bed, writhing. Roughly a month later, I got another one.
I finally went to the doctor, got medicine for migraines. Not much help. The pain continued on, coming more frequently. Again, I went to the doctor, who prescribed physical therapy, to learn how to relax my shoulders while working at a computer all day. That helped.
Slowly, stress, repetative motion, poor posture, a heavy purse, etc, etc. have piled up on me again. I'm back to sore shoulders and neck. My saving graces are Excedrin Migraine and heating pads (Thermacare heatwraps during the work day). Although I can't seem to shake the pain fully, at least I feel like it's manageable.
I'm starting to think that my head/neck is not well-supported while I sleep. Perhaps this is part of my problem. For a few months now, I have been waking up in the middle of the night with both hands tingly. You know that pins-and-needles feeling when your foot falls asleep from lack of circulation? Yeah, that happens to me in the middle of the night. It doesn't seem to matter what position I'm sleeping in, either. I wake up and move my hands around for a few seconds, everything's fine again, I go back to sleep. Weird, huh?
I've been to the doctor, guess I don't have a pinched nerve or anything. I've googled my face off trying to find answers. What have I found? Nothing super conclusive. Could be a lack of circulation at night from not moving my arms. Could be carpel tunnel (doubt it, as I don't have other, more usual symptoms). Could be other upper back/neck/shoulder muscle issues.
So what am I doing? I sit on a stability ball at work (most days) - in an attempt to keep my posture more up-right, less slouchy. I use heat when I feel a little achey. I keep a supply of advil and excedrin migraine in my purse. I recently started sleeping with a small feather pillow crammed under my neck, to support the arch of my neck (it's only been a few days, but that seems to be helping). I'm considering a memory foam pillow.
Does anyone else out there suffer from similar issues? If so, what works for you?

1 comment:

doahleigh said...

You know I do! My mom gave me some prescription medicated pads, which are nice. But they won't last and they're not a long term solution. Unfortunately.