Moving "massage" from a want to a need

Written by hootenannie on September 17th, 2008

Our bodies don’t always do what we want them to. This is terrifying.

For as long as I can recall, I have carried tension and stress in my neck and shoulders. I remember being 6-years old and going to see a chiropractor – I was complaining about back pain in kindergarten. As I’ve gotten older and my life has been filled with adult responsibilities, questions, and anxiety, the pain has only increased.

I tell myself to relax, to breathe deeply, to roll my head down to my chest and stretch out the muscles, willing myself to let go of the tension. But my body just doesn’t respond – it doesn’t listen. I walk around in a state of permanent rigidity and strain. This pain is exacerbated by repetitive movements that I do daily: typing, playing guitar, holding a phone to my ear. It’s hard to know how to change my lifestyle in order to improve my discomfort.

Recently, the pain has been spreading. I’ve been having headaches, and my jaw feels permanently locked and tense. Again, I tell myself to unwind, loosen up, calm down… but my body refuses to comply. I want to take out my muscles and stretch them like rubber bands, forcing the kinks to be pulled back to a healthy form.

Last night I went to the store to look for muscle relaxants. One time, we gave muscle relaxants to our dog, and she peed all over the big comfy chair – but frankly, this is a risk I was willing to take. I asked the pharmacist if they had anything over the counter, and she looked at me like I had asked for cocaine. “No,” she said. “Those are available by prescription only.” So I found the next best thing – Excedrin Back & Body – and took 2 before bed.

This morning, I still hurt.

How can I force my body into submission? I wish that I could will away the pain, or refuse to let stress take up residence in my muscles. But the body has a mind of its own – and unfortunately, it’s not MY mind. The body and the brain are divided by the Great Wall of China. And it’s a scary thing to feel out of control.

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