Pain Management Can Be a Pain in the Neck
I must have slept funny last week because I woke up one day with stiff and sore muscles in my neck that turned into quite a headache.
I’ve noticed over the years that my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is sometimes worse when my seasonal allergies flare up, that the localized inflammation caused by allergies can become systemic. My allergies have been terrible the past few weeks and I suspect that accounts for some of my recent issues.
The pain happened only a few days after my most recent massage and I wasn’t scheduled to go back soon. In the interim, I reached for my usual go-tos: my heating pad, some Tylenol, and a hand-held neck and shoulder massager. I’ve found that lying on my heating pad first and then doing some gentle work with the massager helps to calm down all the muscles.
I’m used to shoulder pain turning into neck pain, but not really neck pain leading to a headache. After I did a little digging, I suspected that I had what’s known as a cervicogenic headache, where a muscle, joint, or nerve causes pain to radiate up the back of the head and above the eye. For about two days it felt like I had a stabbing sensation above my eye.
The pain dissipated a little after a few days of pain meds, heat, and massage, but I know that it won’t really go away until my next massage. While most medical professionals recommend ice for acute injuries, I’ve found that ice tends to cause my muscles to get tighter, making the pain worse.
Each person has to figure out what kind of pain management works best for them. As someone who naturally seeks out patterns, I’ve learned that this system works best for me. I’m grateful to have come to an understanding about how best to manage my pain and flare-ups in between my regular massage treatments.
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