And This Time It’s My Arm…

Last weekend I went to see the osteopath. I’d had a sore left arm, on and off, for several weeks, that seemed to be gradually getting worse. It felt like I’d pulled a muscle but couldn’t get it to heal. The osteopath told me I’d got a compressed nerve in my neck, and that it was the cause of the sore arm. It was also linked, though in ways I admit I don’t fully understand, to the nerve damage I’d sustained in my left gum. In any case, tooth, arm, neck, all joined by ragged nerves. The osteopath cracked my neck in that way that makes me feel like my brain might pop out my ears, and he warned me it might be sore.

He wasn’t kidding! For the next few days my arm was KILLING me. I emailed him and, because he is remarkably solicitous, he emailed right back saying, yes, it was just healing pain and I should ice my neck where the nerves were probably swollen and irritated. For about 24 hours I was rather struck by the idea that healing hurts, which is probably why we persist so stubbornly with bad habits and old injuries. But after that the novelty of the idea wore off and my arm was no better. This was annoying, as I think a good maxim really should function like a cold compress. I went in search of something the right size and shape in the freezer instead. My dad used to be troubled by a bad back and my mum was often forced to sacrifice a pack of peas, or once, memorably, frozen kippers. I discovered frozen sweetcorn that I thought would do the trick and decided to have a day of complete rest. The day after that, I felt optimistic; my arm had improved a great deal, the end was surely in sight. But no, this was very much a false dawn. My arm remained uncomfortable, cranky and sore, and my range of movement was still restricted.

I emailed the osteopath again, and this time he even rang me to try to figure out what was going on. ‘I think it sounds like the nerves are just really irritated,’ he said. ‘Keep on icing regularly, and if that doesn’t help then come back and we’ll see if something’s still out of place.’ My osteopath is one of the few people I know to have made a study of chronic fatigue (he practices the Perrin technique), and he was telling me that CFSers have a stress system that works on a hair trigger and which may well be engaged in making everything worse, given the importance of the central nervous system to this theory of the illness. And this is where you find me – one-armed and trying very hard to stay patient. Of course, the activity that’s most uncomfortable is using my laptop (I fear poor posture and hours spent typing may be the root cause of the trouble), hence the general lack of blogging and blog visiting. I am so sorry dear blogging friends, this really has been the most exasperating autumn. I’d say that nothing can last forever, but after the past few weeks I don’t want to tempt fate!

The writing course ends today, and I’ll have thoughts about that when I can get back to typing again, and I’ve read some interesting books so I DO hope I’ll be blogging again soon. I’ll keep you posted.

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24 thoughts on “And This Time It’s My Arm…

  1. It’s taken five weeks for my last osteopath session to calm down and even now it’s still rumbling in one or two areas, so I can see that it might be taking time to sort out. But it is annoying, I know. I’m afraid that my problems really do stem from too many hours spent reading and typing, which is why I now use a stand for both. It’s made a tremendous difference and if you want to know more about it then f drop me an email and I’ll pass on the details. Take care!

  2. You have my deepest sympathy. I’ve been in and out of the doctor and the osteopath for many weeks now, with a bad back/sciatica which somehow seems to have turned out to be a bad hip. Off to a specialist on Weds. On anti-inflammatories, and I hate taking medication. It all makes one feel really down. But it will pass, I know, and so will yours. Bon courage, as they say over here in France.

  3. Best line of the week: “a good maxim really should function like a cold compress.” Or should I call it a maxim?
    I’ve also been a bit one-handed lately, as I’ve torn something in my shoulder. Waiting for a second opinion, and putting cold on it when it’s turned so cold outside it’s not fun to have anything cold on, except for how it helps the inflammation. So, as usual, fellow-feeling, of a sort.

  4. Oh poor litlove, I do hope that you get well soon and that you have some good books to read while lying on your backboard or whatever osteopaths prescribe these days. A big hug! It WILL improve soon.

  5. Hi,
    Pain is bad, but when it’s pain that stops you from expressing yourself, that’s doubly bad :-(

    Hope it sorts itself out and looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the writing.

    Sending you all my best wishes

  6. Dear friends – I don’t know what I’d do without your compassion and support. As ever, your messages really lifted my spirits and made me feel a whole lot better! My arm is slowly improving, better some days than others, but I keep telling myself it’s not fatal and it WILL sort itself out in the end! Big hugs to you all.

  7. Hey buddy! I broke my leg! We’re practically twins! We are the awesomest.

    So…what about getting that voice recognition software that ‘writes’ what you speak? They advertise something called Dragon here in the states. It might be useful even after you heal. CFS is a b#%€\; use whatever tool’s available, ya know?

    The holidays are upon us, so my step mom is using rum spiked with a nip of egg nog.

    • I have just been catching up on your blog – what did you do to break it??? But besides that we are OH SO awesome, and definitely twins, this is clearly the confirmation. Hope you are back up on your feet again and feeling much better!

      At the moment, I am doing the ‘change location, improve posture’ sort of thing. The jury’s out as to whether it is making any difference. At some point my bag of frozen sweetcorn is going to give out and I will have to make a decision. I’ve always been a thinker-in-my-head rather than a work-it-out-out-loud sort of person, but evidently something will have to give if I keep messing up these nerves. Sigh. And at least technology DOES have a solution!

      Your last comment really made me laugh. Slef-medication is a fine tool, is it not?

      • She sure thinks it is! But what has really been her saving grace is her mindset. She’s a hard worker, but will only of what she knows her body will do. She’s 66 and doesn’t give a hoot what others think. She eats just enough food to be nutritious and sustaining, and cuts everything up into little teeny bites to aid digestion. And she laughs-all.day.long. She only watches positive tv: funny movies, sitcoms, reality shows with silly people that don’t fight. It’s been a miracle. She was almost immobile at one point. Oh, and she found a natural, vitamin pack called Youthin. It’s like crack for normal ppl, but works wonders on Fibro and CFS.

        Have you tried any low-impact, yoga stretching? Warm water movement? It would slow down that mind of yours which would relax your muscles and bring you a lot of relief in general.

        Just keep experimenting with slowness, and calmness, and lovely things that make you giggle.

        Now me? Well, yes, I managed to fall down a flight of stairs. Bumpity, bump, thump, right down on my arse–well more like my ankle apparently. Tore it all to bits. Damn tired of wobbling around in this silly boot. It sprung a leak a week ago, so it’s really not that effective anymore. My poor dog is going mental from a lack of walks. Frankly, so am I!

      • Well you put your finger right on it – slowing down my mind would be about the most sensible thing I could do. But I am impatient and it takes ages to get down through the gears, and once I’m there, I tend to zip off again. I do some stretching occasionally, and would love to find a t’ai chi group in my area that meets during the daytime. Unfortunately, the only groups are seated exercise groups for the elderly and disabled and whilst I’m unfit I’m, ahem, not quite THAT bad. Your mother sounds adorable (and what great genes she has passed onto you!), but I really do feel for you with your poor ankle. Not being able to get out and walk your dog must be the most frustrating constraint! Here’s hoping that boot comes off for good very, very soon!

  8. Sorry to hear you have been feeling poorly. I, too have had trouble with my left arm (mine due to excessive sitting at my computer and on my morning commute to the office) and have now had to give up on my osteopath and go to physical therapy. After several days off recently I experienced my first pain free days in many months. I am optimistic for myself and also for you Litlove. You have too much to offer to not be able to write at your computer! Take Care!

    • Oh I am SO glad that you are feeling a bit better – and that does make me feel more optimistic about my situation. I will bear physical therapy in mind – not something I had considered before you mentioned it. I am so sorry that you’ve been suffering – believe me, I know how painful and distressing it is! But delighted for us both that there ARE solutions out there. Hugs to you!

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