Which Came First, the Injuries or the Compensation?
As I often do, I had an interesting discussion with my rock-star massage therapist Kim last week.
She’d been on vacation for a few weeks, so I’d missed a session and was feeling quite sore. My hip, which I injured a few months ago, recently decided to get angry again for no apparent reason. As a result, between that and the compensatory and connected pain, I was incredibly sore and reactive when she started working on me.
Kim started talking about how my “wiring” is all messed up. By that, she meant that I often react in vastly different areas than her average patient. For example, when she works on a trigger point on my spine, my shoulder might twitch. Another example is that working on the muscles along my ribs can sometimes cause my hip to jump.
While these areas are all undoubtedly related, it’s apparently unusual that I have such distinct reactions in areas so far from where she’s working.
I don’t know if this is a result of my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) or the countless injuries I’ve incurred because of it. As a teenager, I badly damaged my shoulder when I broke my clavicle, tore my trapezius muscle, and injured a wide range of related connective tissues. I also pulled my right hip flexor as a teenager, and of course I injured the connective tissue around my hip this winter as well.
While I don’t recall hurting my back specifically, Kim suspects that the scar tissue along my spine is likely the result of years spent diving while playing goalkeeper before my diagnosis. Many of my issues seem to radiate out from a central point on my back that presumably I injured at some point but don’t remember.
Either way, there’s a bit of a “chicken or egg” question: Does that spot inflame other areas, or do my other injuries radiate back to that place?
In some ways, I don’t think it really matters. I often feel that managing EDS is like playing the old Whac-A-Mole arcade game (which I love, by the way). You calm down one area and the issue retreats, only to have another issue pop up and come at you instead. Then you manage that one, and a third conundrum pops up where you least expect it.
It’s a constantly revolving set of issues, but as long as I do my best to deal with each one as it comes up, rather than letting them multiply, I tend to do better. And playing Whac-A-Mole, at least, is fun.
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