Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pain in the neck

Out of nowhere almost two weeks ago, I woke up one morning feeling fine, but as I reached up to wrap my hair in a towel after my shower, my neck seized up.  I took an Aleve, turned my head gingerly for a few days and didn't think much about it... until this weekend when the dull ache that had never quite gone away grew into a severe pain that has spread across my upper back and leaves me wishing I had one of those halo brace things so that I don't actually have to move my head, or indeed, even use my muscles to balance it upright atop my neck.

I went to work on Monday and by the end of the day, I had to drive home leaning my head back against the rest on the car seat because it ached too much to hold it steady.  Leaning far back, reaching for the steering wheel with the hand on my "good side," i.e. the one on which it hurts only slightly less to engage the upper back muscles, I felt slightly ridiculous, like I should be cruising slowly down a street in the 'hood while hydraulics make the car do some crazy bouncing.  'Cuz I'm cool like that.  Not.

Then Tuesday came and I surrendered - no work for me - just miserably laying on the floor and endlessly heating water for my beloved rubber hot water bottle.  I felt fine actually, as long as I didn't have to move, like, at all.

As I type this now, I find the most comfortable position is to tuck my chin down, roll my spine into a ridiculous c-shape and hunch my shoulders over far as I can manage.  Even if I don't always maintain a perfectly ergonomic seated position at my desk, when standing I generally maintain reasonable posture - chin up, shoulders back.  Could balance a book on my head and everything.  So I find it I ironic that in my misery the most comfortable position would be horrifying to anyone who knows anything about spinal health.  But if I pull my shoulders back, my muscles writhe in painful protest and I just can't make myself do it.

My tolerance for pain is... well, admittedly non-existent.  The only thing that makes me feel better about this is the secure knowledge that it will pass as mysteriously as it came on.  It makes me wonder how I'd feel if I knew this pain would be chronic... that this is just how me and my body were going to get along from now on.  Gives me a glimpse into how people can get addicted to painkillers that have a street value.

I'll stop whining now, because frankly, spending time at my computer is not currently high on the list of things that make my neck and back feel better.  Plus I get to take a muscle relaxant now, and I'm not sure BUI (blogging under the influence) is advisable.


  1. Gah, that sounds awful. I have a beloved U-shaped wheat-bag that sits around the shoulders that sounds like it could help you out. Hope it's nothing serious!

  2. Hmmm, blogging under the influence. You're probably right. No good can come from that.

    Hope the neck gets better and fast!

  3. I wonder if you sleep on your stomach. That's really hard on your neck, it turns out. I went to a chiropractor with terrible neck pain a few years ago and she made me stop sleeping on my stomach, among other things. It helped dramatically. Also, ergonomics at the office make a huge difference.

    Feel better! Neck pain is so debilitating!