Tag Archives: healing muscle strain

Tough girl.

I’m realizing this week that my tough façade is cracking. Life is challenging me in all the ways, and I’m doing my best as always to stay afloat, but my emotions are beginning to show the strain.

On one hand I finally let some of it out today. Like a kettle boiling over, I simply couldn’t hold it in. The amazing J did needles for my arm again, and I think she added one for emotional release and one for sleep because that was the most palpable results, though the sleep hit me like a freight train about 15 minutes after getting up off the table. It ensured I didn’t accomplish anything else involving labor for the rest of my day. The emotions, well they were like little damns crumbling in my body. I’d feel energy turn loose in my arm and then tears would just start running. There were some in other parts of my body, but it was like my right arm was holding the vast majority. Some of the damns were so strong that when they turned loose I’d know what was causing it, and it was intense. At this point the treatment was successful, but it seems some of them have already been retriggered because I have a twinge in my wrist and thumb again. It is also amazing to me that I can tolerate strained muscles being worked on (a fairly brutally painful experience), but in a quiet room with superfine needles in me, I am sensitive enough to feel energy move when science barely has equipment sensitive enough to even register it. It seems in some ways I’ve practiced the tough routine enough it actually counts.

Everything is a work in progress.

So then on the other hand, post treatment and emotional releases I’m processing what that means.

My tough girl façade is just that. I never wanted to be that, I didn’t set out aiming for it. It happened because I learned to do it from all the boys in my family. Be tough, suck it up, and keep moving like nothing happened. It was expected, and in middle school I learned it was the only way I would survive. I was the new girl again, and fat because of the previous school’s bullies plus my then unknown disease, so I grew tougher. I sucked it up and moved on like nothing happened. Over and over again, dealing with more of the same bullying. My brother escaped through football, but there was no such thing as that for me, I was already too fat for anything girls were supposed to play or do. So, I never let the world see my weaknesses again, making sure I ran circles around weak spots to avoid detection by others. A blessing and curse because the extra efforts improved the weaknesses, but also created mountains of self induced work. At the end of the day and the end of the week I would cry myself to sleep. The rest of middle school, all of high school, and a massive chunk of college, were all tough girl right up until I was alone. I even hid in closets in my dorm to avoid detection. It was exhausting, it still is. Even with Nathan I have difficulty when tears fall against my will. I can’t even talk once emotions hit a certain level. He calls me brutally honest, and says I have a lack of tact, because my communication skills suck when it comes to trying to convey my inner world in the midst of turmoil. I know what triggers things emotionally, but when I try to tell him he thinks I’m beating up on him, when most of the time I’m just trying to let it out honestly. Because of that I am always afraid to be fully honest with others n regards to my emotions, it is literally the only way I’m ever dishonest, though usually I’m just evasive. Truth is I need someone that I can be fully open and honest with. I need help and it’s a dark forest in my mind sometimes. I’ve left negative marks on people’s psyche’s and it’s not because I meant to, every time it’s been because I was struggling myself.

So now, that has become the negative weakness that I run circles around doing my level best to keep it undetectable. This tough girl can’t ask for help because the only thing I’ve been able to formulate is too scary to ask the people I care about most. It’s scary because the words might hurt feelings or become misunderstood. I’d rather battle alone than hurt more people.

So instead I ordered that electric bike I have been thinking about for a while now. It’s much more than I have, and I’ll spend months paying for it, but it’ll help me solve part of the bigger picture. I’ll start the first clear-weather day-off I have after it gets here. I need to ride my route to work on a day off to know how long it will take me for actually commuting. Then, weather permitting I will do that as often as possible, even through winter.

As for the emotions, exercise definitely helps, but at some point I still have to let them out. It is a type of energy, and holding that energy will always prevent the energy I do want, from flowing. I’ll keep practicing, and hopefully I can find a way to release enough for my arm to completely return to normal and stay that way.

May you have emotional support and release when you need it. May you understand your injuries in all the ways and find an easy path to healing them. May you have all the tools and people you need and find a way to communicate safely even in turmoil. May you know everything is okay, and above all may you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.

Om Shanti

Nursing to goals.

I strained my arm again; too many hours of overuse and not nearly enough self care to make up for it. Yet, after lots of work on my own, and even some more with help from Nathan and all the staff at the clinic, it’s on the upswing. Like my shoulder it may take a short bit to clear the hurdle, but I know I will.

It’s funny how logically I have known for 15 years that it is possible to injure oneself with repetitive actions, but apparently I didn’t have a full understanding in terms of my work and my self care routine. The work continued and I was getting my massages, but my self care in the evenings disappeared with familial adjustments these last few months. I didn’t keep track of time elapsed well because I have been functioning day to day, moment to moment. Yet my arm hit a wall, and simply gave up, which I’m now going to have to nurse for a while to repair damage done.

So, I now sit waiting for my daughter to come out of her new job, and saw a man struggling to load groceries onto a bike for a cold ride home this very fall evening. I realized he was not prepared for such an endeavor. His bike had no baskets and it seemed he struggled to find a balance between the two sides of the handle bars, and this isn’t weather anyone riding for fun would typically choose. It was clear that his lack of understanding was partially his upbringing, education and awareness, and partially the aspect of having to do something he’d probably rather not. It was an unpleasant combo.

I’m glad I’m able to avoid that scenario. I’m grateful I’m able to choose when, where, and what weather I ride a bicycle in. I’m also grateful that I have a vehicle to handle cold and wet, fall and winter weather, safely and comfortably. I have choices in this matter and it feels good to know that.

Yet, I immediately thought of English and Irish peoples who still to this day ride bicycles miles upon miles for all sorts of needs. They ride rain or shine, from town to town to run their errands and go to work. It just is the way they were raised. It’s part of their culture. The same is true for people from Portland or even like my brother on the east coast. Some people just know that it is a safe environmentally friendly choice of transportation, which if you are prepared and have proper equipment can also be quite enjoyable.

I missed that as a kid, and realized that as I contemplated my upbringing.

I was aware that bicycles could be ridden long distances because my brother would disappear for what seemed as hours on end to ride his bicycle. But I was a tiny baby and then toddler when he was riding. I had no real concept of time or distance. By the time I was old enough to figure that out I was left with family that thought bicycles were more for occasional recreation, rather than exercise or any other kind of daily routine. There was no incentive to invest on that vehicle, it was slower and could not carry lots of weight or passengers, it didn’t make the cut, so a plain and basic bike was my tool to learn the experience of bicycling. It was far from a full experience of all that word can mean. I now have a greater awareness, but at this point I lack the endurance to to use it as transportation for any distance. I’m willing to change that, but it isn’t something I can do overnight.

I am contemplating getting a bike I found on Amazon, maybe by next spring. I’ll put a pic below. It is an electric optional bike, where I can pedal as normal or start the motor and let it do the work. I think it would be helpful in building my endurance and beginning to commute to work by pedal power. See I haven’t been on a bicycle at all in maybe 4 years, and the last time I did ride regularly it was on relatively flat terrain. We would ride with Ian in the pull-along bubble, but we were on bike paths around Riverside and it was very flat and very smooth. Even then my distance was limited. So contemplating my 8.5 mile commute which has several very big hills is a bit daunting. I want to, and I want to get good at biking, but the process seems a bit much to handle. The electric bike would take the daunting out, as long as I stayed motivated to do as much as I could on a given day. I don’t know, maybe it’s just another variation on pushing myself too hard. But, it seems like it would solve both a transportation issue we are having with only one reliable vehicle, and also solve part of my self care puzzle by reintroducing exercise to my daily routine post dialysis interventions. It’s at least worth the attempt and a good bike is never a bad thing.

I guess what I’m saying is that my shoulder, and the biking picture, both are an analogy of the whole picture of life. We only know or understand something fully from the experiences we’ve had, and can only guess at what something is like until we have first hand knowledge. Sometimes we take risks because of that limited knowledge, and sometimes those risks end up hurting us or someone we are close to. It’s not something we should beat ourselves up over, but it is a learning lesson that can help future decisions.

I have now painfully learned that injury can happen whether it’s a singular intense incident or a chain reaction of several minimal ones. And I’m describing it to you with the best my words hold, knowing that you don’t fully comprehend the weight of that, with the core of your being, until it has happened to you. We can never judge another’s experience because we were not in their shoes, but likewise we need to estimate our own limits better knowing that we don’t really know. It leaves less risk, less hurt, but keeps us safer in general.

We can never know the fullness of anything until we have experienced it, but knowing what we do know and knowing that our perspective is limited, can sometimes help us avoid pitfalls of life. Be kind to yourself and others when estimations fail, because we’ve all been there and done that in some way, shape, or form. Healing is possible, and sometimes it requires asking for help. For me right now, I’m past the worst of the arm injury and slowly recuperating, but I still know it is a symptom of a bigger picture needing addressed. I spoke with my friend the office manager about schedule adjustments to attempt to enable self care at work. Beyond that I am still grasping at straws, and don’t know who to ask for what yet. I know I need help, but I just don’t know what to ask for, or who can provide it once I figure that out. Maybe a few more days will bring clarity. For now I continue, moment to moment, day by day, because it’s how I’ve gotten through all of this.

May you understand your needs and what to ask for. May you see where your knowledge is limited and safely estimate you own personal limits. May you have adequate time and space to care for yourself so that you can continue to care for others. May you know that you have everything you need and it’s a simple question away. Above all may you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.

Om Shanti

The bike I’m working towards:

Catching up with myself.

I am stopped at a park on the way home, just for a quiet place to sit for a few moments. I need to catch up with me.

I have managed to fit in a workout every day for almost a week and a half. Some at home doing yoga or climbing up and down our basement stairs. Most at the gym by work.

I have been pushing myself extra hard, and the only thing I can attribute it to is my inspiration of She-Ra and the discovery of my inner programming because of that show. I want to see if I can do it, if I can look like her. That is, after years and years of subconsciously trying to be like her to some degree or another.

Anyway, my post work workout today on the treadmill was uncomfortable. My legs are cranky and I couldn’t go as fast as usual.

That’s after a salt bath last night and about 4 hours of either working on my muscles myself or having Nathan help me.

I feel like my muscles are starved for something…. I’m breathing fine, so I doubt it is oxygenation. I’m taking all of my supplements, so I also doubt that it is nutrition. I’m staying hydrated as well as ever, so I might be a little short on fluids, but not excessively.

So, I think they just want the energy to heal damage from working them so extensively. I’m taking my thyroid meds, but I had backed off on seaweed to try not to swing high. I will try some extra seaweed when I get home.

Instead, for the moment I am putting thought energy towards healing while I sleep, specifically mending muscles, shrinking skin, and burning the fat that I am still carrying. I have been focusing on those processes since my legs started complaining on the treadmill.

I’m also going to stretch really well when I get home. I have been doing yoga every few days, but my legs definitely need more stretching than they have received. I want my body to have what it needs in every respect, and I’m still doing my best to accommodate everything.

That’s why I stopped. I just needed a moment of chill and regrouping before landing at home with kids excited to see mommy.

I need my brain to catch up with my day and my week so that I’m not overwhelmed with the logistics of getting home and still needing to take care of me some. It’s a tricky balancing act to give my kids the attention they desire and still fit in doing the activities I need for myself.

Not impossible, just tricky. Sometimes I manage just fine, sometimes not.

This afternoon I feel like if my brain doesn’t catch up, then I could potentially have issues with the rest. Just trying to head that off at the pass. Of course a dose of herbs straight in the door would probably help too, fortunately we keep the “Free and Easy Wanderer” on the shelf by our dining table which is 10 steps inside the garage door. It’s like this moment has happened before🤪!

That’s because it has.

Anyway, a few moments alone and then I make my attempt at being mommy.

May you have good workouts. May you feel great always. May your muscles always have what they need. May you have moments of escape when you need them. May your brain always cooperate with you. May you body heal when you sleep, and above all may you know that God loves and supports you in every way.

Om Shanti

Pain+Endorphins=Stupidity

So my dad has been gone for a week now. There is much relief on the stress front there.

I also talked to the acupuncturist and she helped me see another adjustment needing to happen with my supplement regimen. That took a couple days to take effect, but it has also helped with stress reduction.

Then on Thursday, the supplement adjustment had not started to shift yet, and I had a heavy day of massage work. It was my second heavy day in a row, and my next to last client that day was my heaviest work to be had.

That client is a 6’5″ 350-ish pound guy. Tall and stocky, and his left leg had locked up weeks ago. I’ve been slowly chipping at loosening his pelvic girdle for 2 months now and feel like I’m chipping at a brick wall. His quads have shrunk, hamstrings are weak and spasm, and his TFL, obturator muscles, and piraformis are solid inflexible masses. It’s a difficult combination on a small person, let alone a big guy- I know because it is a fairly common combination.

So, I literally stand or kneel on his hip as I’m able. The one side of my table I can hold onto the window frame to balance myself to accomplish that. However, the other side of my table has nothing stable enough within reach to stand on him. So when I turn him over the only safe option is my elbow.

I had it in my mind, that like my own mess, I should have accomplished more for him by now. I was determined to make more progress.

I wailed on him and felt like I didn’t even dent anything. Finally, I was trying to stretch his TFL out and had his knee raised. I was pushing his raised left knee towards his right knee with my left hand, while putting as much of my full body weight as possible into my right elbow perched on his TFL. There was only an inch or two of movement, paultry results.

I decided to try and up the pressure on both ends of the stretch and pushed with all my might, engaging my core to really focus the directional force. 3 seconds into the push I felt a very uncomfortable crunch at the front of my right shoulder. Ouch.

My time was almost up with the session, so I lowered his knee and proceeded to finish working, just using my left elbow to my best ability.

Afterwards, I put Biofreeze on my shoulder immediately and proceeded to impale it on the one hand rail just outside my office. I winced and the office manager noticed. She kept saying I needed to utilize others available in the office, finally telling me to go get the one chiropractor. He has more soft tissue experience and she was confident he could help.

When I got his attention he asked what I wanted him to do. At that point I was definitely in pain and endorphins were kicking in. I said “I don’t fucking know, we both have clients in 5 minutes and it hurts. I just need to finish my day.”

He said he would do some soft tissue and told me to lie face up. I started to position myself and realized my normal way to do that involved the hurt shoulder, so I sort of fell onto the table, at which point he and the office manager teased me for being a bull in a china shop.

As he worked on my arm there was a steady stream of explatives. He tested strength to make sure I hadn’t fully torn anything. Then he checked attachments and positions to glean that I had injured my right bicep, and irritated my pectorals. Inflammation was already significant and as he worked it only got worse, it’s the normal side effect of working on impacted muscles. Inflammation aside, my response was cussing and more cussing with apologies sprinkled about.

I did my last massage that day while wearing an ice pack. Friday was lighter, but I again worked under ice, and both he and the acupuncturist worked on my arm in-between clients.

At home, I iced and soaked in Epsom salts. Friday evening I did cups- Everywhere! See:

This is after receiving a 90 min deep tissue about a week and half prior, and my husband working on my shoulders 4 days prior.

Needless to say even though I can handle the heavy load of the last two months, it pisses my muscles off in a big way.

I suspect I will need 2 more salt baths and another round of cups before I am able to return to normal functionality with my right shoulder.

I have also learned a valuable lesson.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how strong you are, some things will still be outside of your abilities. I was trying to be the miracle for someone that let something get too far out of control. Even the chiropractor reminded me that the guy is a mess, his phrase to help me feel better was “he’s even much for me, it’s like 2 bears wrestling in the forest”. I understood that there was no expectation that I could solve it quickly, and perhaps even at all. I need to be more mindful of my own limitations and not push myself so damn hard.

It’s a hard lesson when you grew up knowing you were never good enough, that no matter how hard you tried your father wanted better, different, stronger, smarter. I’m obviously still working on kicking my dad out of my head. And this physical experience was reminder that the biggest most important thing is to heal the emotional damage of my childhood that keeps creating these situations.

My trying harder is simply not the answer. If something is beyond my control or outside my abilities there is nothing I can do to change that.

My client likely needs manipulation under anesthesia or even full surgery to correct the level of damage present. but I can not make that decision for him. I can only do my best, without injuring myself, to help for now. Then make suggestions for other options moving forward. So next time I see him, I will go easier on myself and just do as much as is possible.

As for my own abilities, I am pretty damn strong. To push with all my might, every muscle in my body working, and only strain my bicep is huge. Others might have really seriously injured themselves. As it is, I’ll be fully healed in a couple of weeks and even stronger than before. This was merely a reminder to give myself a break and back off a little.

It was also a reminder that I work with good people that really do care about me as a person. They were genuinely concerned about my welfare and helping me correct and make it through. They continue to be concerned that the healing process is progressing properly. That is exactly the kind of clinic I have always wanted. It makes me hope that one day soon I’ll be able to help build the clinic even more in other ways. Only time will tell if my thoughts and daydreaming on that subject will matter.

For now I am going to do exactly what the good doctor ordered. Back off on the schedule and take care of myself so it’s days instead of weeks of healing. I’m keeping ice on it as much as possible, and he said by tomorrow it should be safe to incorporate some heat. More cups and epsom salts as necessary. At this point the constant pain has subsided and I only feel it burn after use, which is totally normal. I will be healed quickly if I stay on top of my homework.

May you have gentle reminders for self care and going easy on yourself. May you always know your limits and keep yourself safe. May you heal quickly when your limits are tested. May you heal your emotional traumas so that your life gets easier and easier. May you know your worth and that others value you. May you see that others care and support you even when you have stupid moments. May you know that you are valuable and that God wants the best for you. May you find ways to express your gratitude for those that help you. May you know exactly how to repay kindness received. May you have more good days than bad and may all your lessons be gentle. May you know you are loved and supported by God and those in your life.

Siva Hir Su