Anatomy of a Flare-Up – Day 2
by Elisa Yinh
In the early days of my herniation, and certainly with my very first flare-up, I experienced feelings of depression, hopelessness, and interestingly enough, guilt. I felt like I had failed myself, and my mind went into what I refer to as “Monkey Mind”. “I am very in tune with myself – why did I not notice the warning signs? I’m too young for this to happen to me. Will I be able to have a normal life? If I have a baby, will I be able to deliver the child and carry her or him around in my arms? Will I be carefree with my movements ever again? Will my mate still find me attractive? Am I broken?”
Now that I have lived with this experience for 4 or so years now, I know that injuries like this never ever occur because of one action. They build up over time. Yes, one action can set you over the edge into herniation, but the truth is that poor posture, old injuries and past traumas make it so that your musculoskeletal system becomes weakened through the years. I also know that with proper treatment, flare-ups are temporary, and that’s a beautiful thing! We all have our story. The story that makes us unique from one another. While my life story is filled with so many positive experiences, it also includes a trauma at age 15, a surgery at age 19, and a disc herniation at age 35. The details of these events are my own, but they have created a shift in many aspects of my being. One of these shifts was within my musculoskeletal system. I didn’t even know what the musculoskeletal system was in my youth, however, being with my husband during his years of schooling has taught me many things. The beauty of having this specific type of treatment available is that you are able to be on top of the injured and weakened tissues, effectively preventing much strife later on. This is true whether your injuries are old or new.
This morning, I awoke feeling markedly better than yesterday. I have a ghost of that sharp pain that I felt the morning of Day 1 up the right side of my neck, but for the most part, I just feel achy and a bit weak. And tired. Flare-ups zap a lot of energy, and I find that ample sleep is quite necessary. My range of motion is good, and I am still able to drive, so I go to work for a couple of hours again. I don’t receive treatment until the evening after I have slept for several hours once coming home from work. As the day has gone by, the ghost of sharp pain has dissolved into the dull sensations. My treatment consists of specific soft tissue work around my neck and shoulders again, but the duration of treatment is much shorter. While the sensations during treatment are still quite intense, they are much less so than yesterday, which is a great thing! My sharp pain has not returned. Again, without this treatment, my recovery would take days to weeks longer. If my tissues are still coming along well, I am hopeful that I will be able to start incorporating some rehabilitation exercises tomorrow. They will be determined according to my specific injury. Things are looking up!