How I Managed My Latest Pain Flare

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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The past few weeks have been a total whirlwind.

I’m a college counselor at a local high school, so September and October are the busiest months for me. They lead up to Nov. 1, which is a major college application deadline. I’m slammed with work and also trying to train two horses, keep up with my column, do laundry, get enough sleep, and so on.

On top of all that, I’ve been dealing with a pain flare. I’m not sure why. My shoulder, which is a total mess, is usually the epicenter of my pain. Then it radiates down my back, up my neck, and sometimes even down to my hips. I get exhausted when I’m sore, but I wake up stiff because I don’t move much when I sleep. It’s a spiral that can be difficult to stop.

I’m so thankful that I have an awesome massage therapist (shoutout, Kim!) scheduled for every other Monday. I can only go so long without being put back together, so to speak. Kim has been working on me for six years now, and I’m certain I would not be anywhere close to this level of functionality without her help and quirky sense of humor.

Kim sees me like a puzzle. So much of what she feels when working on me doesn’t translate to her other patients. Working on one place will cause a reaction somewhere completely unrelated (or so it would seem), and Kim will try to find the source of the problem, which is sometimes nowhere near where I feel the problem is centered in my body. For example, when my hips are out of alignment, sometimes it’s actually because my shoulder is so tight that it has affected my back and is pulling my hip. It seems like each time she works on me we discover something new about my body.

Some of my problems are repetitive, but others come and go or change every week. Kim finds it fun. She has an unbelievable mental catalog of connections that she can tap into each time she works on me. I don’t know how she keeps it straight since even I have trouble remembering it all sometimes! If there’s something she can’t figure out, I bet that by my next session she’ll have done some research to see if she can find any clues that might help.

I’m so thankful to have such an awesome person working on and with me. It’s different for everyone, but massage has been a key component in my personal pain management. Kim has the added benefit of keeping me laughing the entire time, too!


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