When Joints and Muscles Ache
Muscle problems tend to accompany endocrine issues, especially adrenal glands that can't or won't keep up.
Our muscles get inflamed and 'knotted up,' worse on some days than others.
Acupressure massage helps, but not every massage therapist does it right. Several therapists have had at my back. Some felt like they were tickling me, which didn't help. Some bruised my muscles and left me sore for days-which made things worse.
Finding a good massage therapist takes some doing. It's a word-of-mouth thing, so ask around.
Heat inflames muscles
Doctors usually advise hot baths-the exact wrong thing to do. Heat just inflames muscles all the more.
I know, I know. Heat feels really good. Problem is, all the while it's feeling good, it's making things worse.
Answer me this: A half hour or so after you get out of a hot bath or the Jacuzzi, are your muscles better or worse? And how much progress have you made with your muscle pain since you started treating yourself with heat?
There are those who for some reason or another won't even consider giving up hot soaks, fully persuaded that someday the heat will work, and all the pain will disappear. It reminds me of when my kid brother was very young and liked to watch the same movie over and over-in case the ending changed.
Ice the muscles
The answer? Ice. Sheesh! Even in the Phoenix summer, lying on ice packs doesn't make me burst into song. It's more in the a-girl's-gotta-do-what-a-girl's-gotta-do category than the oh-yippee-it's-time-for-my-ice category.
Several years ago, a man veered out of his lane-at about 50 mph-and glanced off my car door right next to where I sat. Fortunately, I was driving a big, heavy car, but seat belt or no, my body parts flew in all directions, most of which God never intended. Besides a concussion and whiplash, I hurt in places I didn't know I had places.
Doctors poked, prodded and x-rayed, then pronounced me fit as a fiddle. Good as new. And every muscle in my body said, "You're kidding, right?" Well, no, they weren't.
But I could hardly move. And wincing from the pain was giving me crow's feet, which isn't a look to which I aspired.
Find a good physical therapist
So I found a great physical therapist, a magician actually, Glenn Kippes, and he went to work. He told me I would get better, faster results if I went to bed each night on ice packs. He gave me three 10″ X 13″ packs so I could start right away.
So every night for months, I lined up my three ice packs-which went from my neck to my tukus-covered them with a towel, and eased into bed. Ever so slowly, my muscles healed.
I keep my ice packs in the freezer, ready for duty, to this day. If I've overdone it, or twisted something-somehow done something to make my muscles unhappy, out come the ice packs.
I'm not a jock, but a do-it-yourselfer. Sometimes do-it-yourself ends up meaning hurting yourself in new and imaginative ways.
If my arms hurt, I ice the area where my neck meets my spine. If my legs hurt, I ice my lower back. And if the pain is general, I line up the three amigos and park myself on them.
Life goes better with ice packs.
A closing word: Muscles that scream at top volume can't always take the full power and glory of ice packs at first. Cover the packs with two or three towels to tone down the effect. You'll build tolerance for full power over time-as you heal.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She's a patient who's been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, "Moving to Health" about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don't, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.