I have been quiet lately, more quiet than usual. No, I didn’t drop off the face of the earth. Instead, I woke up about a month and a half ago with excruciating neck and shoulder pain. I could barely get out of bed, and when I did, walking became a lesson in torture. My neck throbbed. My shoulders burned. My arms felt like I’d dipped them in acid. The diagnosis? Repetitive Motion Injury caused by too many hours in front of a keyboard. I then spent the next six weeks visiting a myofascial specialist who realigned my muscles – one by freaking one. Yes, kids, this is as painful as it sounds.
As I type this, I am still not back to normal. Though I truly hope recovery is just around the corner.
So that I can save you the same trauma, let me tell you what I’ve learned:
1. Listen to your body. That crick in your neck isn’t just going to go away. Get thee to a specialist. Airrosti doctors work miracles.
2. Stretch, stretch, stretch.
3. You know all those articles that say ‘take a break every hour’? Well…good advice.
4. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits. It’s just a manuscript, not open-heart surgery. No one will die if you don’t post that last video to YouTube or upload your short story to Amazon before you go to bed.
5. These injuries tend to build up over time. I had no idea I had a problem until I woke up looking like Quasimodo’s cousin. It really hit me that hard and that fast.
6. Ice is your friend. Apply it in copious amounts to your neck and shoulders whenever they ache.
7. If you suspect you might have a back problem, read this excellent book on Amazon: The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook Tight muscles can be to blame for all sorts of things, including headaches, TMJ, neck problems, etc. If you suffer from pain, this book is going to open your eyes.
8. Medication isn’t going to work. Forget it.
9. If you have a small injury, it will take a few days to heal. If you have a more severe case, it will take MONTHS.
10. You only have one body. Take care of it.
And lest you think you’re off the hook if you only READ books and don’t write them, all of what I described above happened to a friend of mine because she spent long hours on the couch looking down and reading her Kindle. Yikes!
So beware! Take care!