Aches and Pains

I’ve been really uncomfortable lately thanks to some tight muscles.  Somehow the muscles in my back and shoulders and chest have decided to seize up and screw around with the nerves in my arms.  It sucks.

My massage therapist (who I have been visiting at least weekly since this started) says that my pecs are way too tight, which is causing my shoulders to pull forward and strain the muscles in my upper back, which is “impinging” (her word) some nerves.  The end result is that, unless my arms are hanging by my sides, my hands have been tingling and numb.  Aside from the discomfort, this has also caused me to lose a lot of dexterity in my fingers.  This also sucks.

After reading that last paragraph you’re probably thinking “Tight pecs?  This girl must be ripped!”  Alas, I am not ripped.  I am just a mother with a young child who I pick up a lot.  As such, my pecs get a lot of use.  But if you’d like to continue thinking that I’m ripped, please feel free to do so.

Anyway, I’m not sure what was the main cause of this, because I’ve been picking up my child for the last 16 months, and although she’s getting bigger, it is not at such a rate that my muscles would so suddenly object.  It seems that it all started the weekend I started peeling/coring/cutting apples to make my wonderful homemade applesauce.  😦 

I’ve had problems with carpal tunnel in the past, and various issues with my shoulder, plus general tight muscles.  I seem to seize up pretty easily, actually.  It’s frustrating.  It’s also expensive because I use my massage therapist a lot, and my insurance only covers so many visits in a year (read: not enough).  But I find that massage therapy is really the only treatment that makes a difference for me.  It doesn’t go away on its own, and meds don’t seem to do much.  I was on Naproxin for a while this week and it barely took the edge off – definitely didn’t relax my muscles as much as I’d hoped.  But with two massage therapy appointments this week, I’ve improved so much!  At the beginning of the week I couldn’t type or eat a meal, or carry a bag in my hand without my fingers numbing out.  But now I only have problems while I”m on the phone or putting on makeup – i.e. activites where my arms are really bent and elevated.  Yay for massage therapy!  I go back on Tuesday, so hopefully between some relaxation on the weekend and the next massage I’ll see even more improvement!

Now for the diabetes tie-in.  Here it comes…

Every time these things happen, I wonder how much of it is related to diabetes.  Among the list of potential diabetes complications that we can all fear and/or loathe are frozen shoulder, trigger finger, and neuropathy. 

I’ve had trigger finger – in two fingers and a thumb.  My massage therapist has fixed the fingers and is half-way to fixing the thumb.  No cortisone shots, and no surgery.  I’ve been lucky!  (For those of you who don’t know what trigger finger is, it’s when you bend your finger and it “snaps” up and down rather than smoothly bending.  When it’s bad it’ll actually stick in a bent position.  It’s as fun as it sounds.)

I haven’t “officially” had frozen shoulder, but I’d say it’s been just-above-freezing with some of the problems I’ve had.  It used to be so bad that I even had pain when I had my arms up to wash my hair.  I lost a lot of range of motion as well.  The shoulder is much improved now, but I do still have chronic shoulder pain that I need to stay on top of with regular massage therapy.

I haven’t had to deal with neuropathy…yet.  Still, this numbness/tingling really starts to make me nervous about that.  Thankfully I am seeing a direct correlation between the tingling and the tight muscles, so I can attribute it to that rather than to neuropathy, but it’s definitely giving me a taste of what neuropathy might be like.  It’s not something I want to deal with in the future.

Would I have these problems if I didn’t have diabetes?  It’s easy to blame diabetes, but is that the cause?  I guess I’ll never know.

What about you?  Do you have similar chronic problems?  Do you find yourself wanting to blame diabetes for various physical ailments?  Tell me your story!


4 responses to this post.

  1. I did a short stint as a personal trainer and I do have some advice that I think will help. Start a full body stretch routine working all your major muscle groups in the morning, afternoon, and before bed. You can find a quick routine by google but it shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes tops. It will definitely stop your cramping and help increase blood flow.


  2. Posted by noelle on October 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I’m so glad that massage is working for you, B, it really is wonderful. I did want to add though, that some people (myself especially) can be really sensitive to the deep work that can be a part of massage. Cranio Sacral Therapy has been a real blessing to me, and it is very gentle, non-invasive, using our own nervous system to facilitate healing. I know of one amazing therapist in our city here, but any therapist trained in Upledger technique should be able to help others out there. I’d love to put her name, but not sure about your ideas for promotion/advertising, if anyone asks you, you can give them my email address, and i will connect them.


    • Hi Noelle! One of my massage therapist’s colleagues actually does CST and has done it on both me and the babe. I’ve definitely found that deep tissue massage has worked better for my specific problems, but do feel free to put your therapist’s information in a comment to this post if you’d like!


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