To Run Before Walking

Sometimes we seem to forget everything we once knew. 

I have been suffering from numerous neck and shoulder flare ups over the past few months, and it is so frustrating. I keep wracking my brain to figure out what it is that I have done differently, and it's really adding insult to injury when you go for such a long time thinking you're "better". I hate waking up in the morning feeling like my shoulders are up around my ears and remembering suddenly what it's like again to fear long flights. I have been buying economy size bottles of ibuprofen and heating pads and the new type of Deep Heat that is marketed towards women as smelling like rosemary and vanilla. P.S. It just smells like Deep Heat (although the Hub says it is much less "offensive"). I've been sneaking off at lunchtime or mid-afternoon to go to the gym to do my rehab physio exercises and then lie in the sauna wondering why it is I'm in so much pain.

It hasn't been making much sense to me. I am so much stronger now, and sure, I've had more stress at work this year, which you can't underestimate, but every time I've started to feel a bit better, bam, I get hit with pain and inflammation again and again. On Saturday night we were out for dinner and I felt like I could barely hold my own head up through dessert. You know that kid in Jerry Maguire who says the human head weighs eight pounds? I finally know what he's talking about.

But I had a eureka moment today. As I was feeling miserable lying on the mat at the gym, wondering how to fix myself, I kept thinking about how I got better in the first place. When I first started my physio work, I had to stop all other exercise besides walking. I had to go back to basics as we realigned my whole body and corrected my posture. It was a long road. And as I got stronger, one day, I was able to try some non-physio exercises again. I still remember my first swim in the pool, doing a 20 minute toe-in to toe-out, as  Super Physio described it. That's not 20 minutes of swimming, but actual pool time. And there were the many months when I went to yoga once per week, until finally two sessions a week was doable. 

It's interesting, even when I've been "better" I've never really managed more than 2x per week of "proper" exercise -- either  two yoga classes or one yoga class and one swim. But yet, as I've been struggling with my relapses, for some reason, the minute I start to feel slightly better, I decide to go swim 50 laps in the pool. And then do it again two days later. Instead of dialing it down, I press on, wanting so badly to feel normal again. I think that if I just ignore the pain and keep exercising, the muscle tightness will just dissipate.   

And I wonder why I'm exhausted and in pain.  

What's been bugging me the most is that something that worked in the past so well to combat the pain, i.e. doing my physio exercises, doesn't seem to be working anymore. But I failed to make the connection that it's been the other stuff I've been doing that I needed to pay attention to. What a relief to realize that it still will work again, but that I have to walk again before I can run. My shoulders already feel less like they're up around my ears.

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