Pain in the neck

By Mir
June 17, 2008

(You read the title and thought this was going to be about the kids, didn’t you? Nope! They are still off being a pain in their father’s neck!)

So, a few years back I had a car accident, and the technical medical term for what happened as a result of that is that my neck is now utterly borked. Specifically, the left side of my neck. Difficult night’s sleep? Sore neck! Stress? Sore neck! Pull a muscle anywhere in my body? Sore neck! Mercury in retrograde? Sore neck!

My neck is sore a lot of the time, is my point. Whiplash is apparently the gift that keeps on giving. But that’s okay! Because yesterday Otto and I went for MASSAGES like FANCY PEOPLE!

You may recall that a few months ago Chickadee and I went to a silent auction wherein I won something to be given to Otto for our anniversary. Well, that something was hour-long massages for each of us. Yes, that was back in April. Yes, our anniversary was in May. Yes, WE ARE SLOW. I know. But we did finally schedule our appointments, the only snafu being that instead of being able to get our massages at the same time, we’d have to go one after the other.

So yesterday we found the massage place, and the massage therapist was a small earth-mother type who looked like maybe she would simply sprinkle herbs on us and chant a little bit. I graciously allowed Otto to go first, and settled into the waiting area with some work.

An hour later, Otto emerged, hair askew, with the therapist lecturing him about carrying heavy camera bags. I asked him how it was and he said it was good.

Then it was my turn.

First we sat down and went over the information sheet I’d filled out, which included discussing my “prior neck injury” and the fact that I may be just a wee bit stressed out… say, no more than the normal amount for three or four people (combined). Then she left the room while I undressed and ducked under the flowered sheets and hand-pieced quilt (cozy! but weird!) to the soft strains of “relaxing” music.

The therapist came bounding back into the room and began. She did not sprinkle any herbs on me. Instead, she commenced pressing on various parts of my body with the weight of a person twice her size, because the massage therapist was apparently some sort of good-natured Hulk creature.

We chatted while she worked, except for the times when she would press hard enough that I would lose the ability to speak (or breathe), and then she would cluck something like “Oh my, MY MY MY, that’s a tight one, huh?” while I gasped and drooled onto the carpet.

At one point she asked me if it hurt too much, and I joked, “I have given birth twice, I think I can handle it!” Well, that totally backfired, because a minute later she was leaning into one of my hips and the pain was shooting all the way up to my neck and down to my toes and I began to wonder if perhaps I could get an epidural to go along with this “relaxing” massage.

It was nice, though. You know, the “hurts so good” kind of pain, where after everything goes numb and you nearly black out you realize that HEY, that doesn’t hurt so much anymore! And this is sort of making me sleepy! And it really is relax—

—and then she started working on my neck.

Apparently, what I think is a normal position for my neck is actually tilted to the left, on account of those beleaguered muscles are tightening so much, so often, I can no longer hold my head in a normal position. So this woman rubbed and pulled and kneaded and stretched and eventually put my head squarely atop my neck in such a way that it felt NORMAL and was UTTERLY PAIN-FREE.

It was a miracle. I walked out of there feeling better than I have in years.

Otto and I left and went and got healthy smoothies (that seemed an appropriately crunchy follow-up activity) and made our way back home. Where we then spent the next several hours slapping venetian plaster on the dining room walls, until our arms fell off.

I’m not necessarily saying this was poor planning on our parts, I’m just saying that this morning? My neck hurts.


  1. Lisa

    I got the hub a massage for Step-Father’s Day, (which coincidentally falls right on Father’s Day, except no kids are around)and now I’m kind of jealous.

  2. Leandra

    I always carry my tension between my shoulder blades and up into my neck and they always work on that spot. I still haven’t decided if that “hurts so good” is really good, or if it just really hurts.

    Also? I would just once love to have a massage in my home so I can just lie there like a puddle of sludge instead of feeling rushed to get up and get dressed. Even though they always say “stay as long as you need to,” I don’t really think they want me there all day.

  3. All Adither

    See? Now you need another massage. Go get one. Only, no drooling this time.

  4. Holly

    the idea of a massage creeps me out. There’s just something about a stranger rubbing me all over, you know? But it truly sounds amazing and if anything, I’m glad you got a couple of hours of no pain!

  5. Ladanea

    Yes yes! Do please go get another massage or three. You not only deserve it, your neck needs it.

  6. Sue

    I think your neck has a medical need for weekly massage. Just run that one by your HMO!

  7. Megan

    Hmmm…. so you went to a massage parlor and then got plastered? No, didn’t read that quite right.

    But that’s mostly because my brain shut down at “borked” and I spent the rest of the post with the Swedish Chef happily singing in the background (bork bork bork!)

  8. suburbancorrespondent

    You really need a good yoga class. After my recent blogging injury, I attended my somewhat weekly yoga class, where we were doing all sorts of interesting stretches and contortions that seemed to have nothing to do with my neck; yet, I walked out of there pain-free.

    Now, of course, the pain is back. Because I keep missing class. Serves me right.

  9. Pat

    I had a 20 minute massage as a gift from my employer & could not wait for it to be over. It HURT SO BAD!! I am a firm believer in Chiropractic care!!!!

  10. GetSheila

    Ooh, I loves me a good massage. If you ever go again and the facility has a steam room or sauna, sit in for about 10 minutes before your massage to loosen everything up. Heaven.

  11. Deb

    I agree with Pat, a good Chiropractor is the best gift you can give to yourself!! And massage works great with it too!!

  12. jennielynn

    The only massage I ever had was while I was pregnant with Missy Hoohaw and had horrible sciatica. My masseuse was a huge man, named Al, with hands approximately the size of roasting chickens. He was such a sweetheart, but kept telling me I needed to come back after the baby was born, since he couldn’t really get in there and get rid of the tension. That scared me, just a little, you know?

  13. The Other Leanne

    Dang, your neck sounds just like mine! Three whiplashes, no kidding–it’s like I have a powerful magnet attached to my rear bumper that compels other vehicles into mine. Could you please give me the number of your massage therapist and let me know if she’s available to travel long distances?

  14. Nancy

    I just started going to the chiropractor because someone told me they could help IBS – anyone suffering should try it out. I told my chiropractor that if I was healthy for my daughters wedding, I would bring her flowers – guess what? She is getting flowers this week! The wedding went off without a hitch (well, except they forgot to bring the wine glass out to the ceremony and the best man had to run back for it when it came time to stomp on it – too funny)and I never used the bathroom the whole day! (sorry for the graphics).
    I know it might not help everyone with IBS, but it is worth a shot. And does not hurt. She is working on my neck because I use the computer way too much.

  15. Lori

    Hmmmm, sounds like someone needs a prescription for regular massages! As if dealing with HMO’s isn’t already a pain in the neck…

  16. Jamie AZ

    Ahh, I love a good massage, too. My birthday’s coming up soon, maybe I need to treat myself?! Can’t wait until you share your “plaster” photos!

  17. Heather

    Haha oh dear! My neck is a total mess too. I think I need to call my massage therapist :-)

  18. Ariel

    Ya, I’ve had 2 whiplashes and my neck is proper ****ED.
    The only thing that keeps me going is chiropractics and massage. I’ve heard yoga would work wonders too, but TIME TIME TIME is my enemy currently…

  19. Mother of Two

    The chiropractor and message therapist duo is a great combo. If you don’t happen to have that combo in your area, then you really should consider going to her every other week in the least, it will really help shape up your neck!

    I have had to visit the massage therapist twice in a week recently because I popped my sternum out of place (I had no idea before I went that this was even possible). The pain was absolutely horrifying.. within ten minutes, she had me good as new… problem is once you have something out of whack, it takes a bit for the muscles around it to strengthen to keep it in place… which is why you need to keep going…

    I also want to say I am sorry to LeeAnn above who had the sciatica issue when pregnant… I had a huge man massage mine when I was to the point of not walking and as I lay there crying he laughed… true story.. I feel certain, if I could have moved, I would have scratched his eyes out!

  20. elizabeth

    I’ve always wanted a massage, but way too ticklish to get one. also there is something non-comforting about a stranger feeling me up.

    and yet the chiropractor was fabulous. I went regularly for about year before I ran out of money (apparently they want to eat and pay bills too – go figure) gotta save up so I can go back again.

  21. RuthWells

    At the risk of jumping in with unwelcome advice….

    I injured my lower back dancing when I was in my teens, and have been in some degree of pain ever since (for a long time, in other words!). Last fall, I was well and truly in agony most of the time, as a result of months of neglect. Weekly massage, while providing short-term relief, did nothing for me long term. I was in too much pain for yoga (srsly).

    The only thing that really helped was acupuncture, which I undertook with great skepticism. Within 3 months, acupuncture got me to a point where I could start physical therapy (which I also strongly recommend). If you decide to give it a try, try to get a personal recommendation for a practitioner in your area.

  22. Heidi

    The good news is that Mercury goes direct on Thursday morning…

  23. MomCat

    Ah, yes…thanks to an accident with a drunk driver, I feel your pain (and, as you said, three or four other people’s). I’m tempted to fly to GA for an appointment with this therapist if she can really make the pain go away, even for a few hours.

  24. Melissa

    Oh, I’m so jealous! There is nothing that makes me feel better than a massage. They usually manage to have me whimpering and drooling at some point, but then it is BLISS. Until the next day when somehow the tension comes back…
    And I completely lost it when reading Megan’s comment. bork bork bork

  25. Stepiphany

    Oooh I have the same exact neck problem. No car accident, just ignorant youth thinking it could lift weights with no consequences whatsoever, and then maybe carry a three year old and a dozen bags of groceries and a buttload of laundry up three flights of stairs repeatedly and stuff. So maybe I should get a massage. I know I lean to the left, so it must be really bad!

  26. Wonders Never Cease

    I have never had a massage, but I always wanted one. I always wondered how it all works. And now I know! Thank you!
    I know what to ask for on my next birthday!

  27. bec 38

    See, I knew that I would look at the comments and see many that said, “get thee to a chiropractor,” and you’d probably scoff, because as I recall you went to a chiro who was a quack/weirdo. But it really is true, a chiropractor worth his or her degree CAN make your neck go back to the straight, pain-free position and stay there after a few adjustments. There is the small matter of insurance, but it might even be worth paying out of pocket for that relief. They don’t charge quite as much as the M.D.s in my experience.

  28. Sara

    I’m having a massage on Friday and cannot wait. The best part for me (besides coming away totally relaxed) is about 5- 10 minutes in when I let go and finally, FINALLY take a deep breath and let it allllll out. AAAAHHHH…..
    Glad you enjoyed it. But did your Earth Mother sport sandals and socks? (Am I remembering correctly the chiro. that you saw after the accident had some crazy taste in footwear?)

  29. tuney

    Yeah, we have a chiro here with magic hands. I swear, he’s endowed by God with a marvelous gift. I’ve been seen by his various partners, and there’s something missing with them. He’s truly special, in a good way. He has actually relieved a migraine in 15 minutes, the kind that normally puts me in bed heavily drugged for the whole day. Come on down south 4 hours. We’ll do lunch. :)

  30. tuney

    Um, I totally meant that I am 4 hours south, not that you have a time limit. Sheesh.

  31. Astrogirl426

    lol for the Swedish chef comment – I loved the episode where the spaghetti tried to eat him (or was it Swedish noodles?).

    I also highly recommend regular massages. I used to get them every month, and they’re bliss. At the risk of plunging you into HMO hell yet again, some HMO’s will pay for a portion of massages (although something tells me yours probably doesn’t). Either way, it’s worth the investment.

    And if you need to rationalize the expense to Otto, you could always explain the connection between your level of relaxation and his level of “relaxation”. Just sayin.

  32. Barbara

    I’ve enjoyed a few massages, but I do not go for resolution of problems, I go for enjoyment. I like the relaxing, incense-burning, musical-background, no conversation, fru-fru kind. (Or is it froo-froo?)

    I’ve also benefitted from one treatment with a chiropractor, but I am not willing to go repeatedly for feel-good treatment from a DC.

    I would be willing to try acupuncture if I was in chronic pain, but as rare as acupunturists are, I’d expect a tough time finding someone I trust.

    I keep my spine in pretty good shape, and being in the business, had no trouble choosing from a few trusted colleagues to fix my neck problem last year. In just 4 physical therapy treatments I was out of pain and moving into my 50’s with better posture.

    By coincidence, my current post is on how to help delayed children develop a good (better) spine.

    I sincerely hope you are feeling better soon, Mir. I enjoy your work!

  33. The Other Other Dawn, The One Who's Falling Apart at the Speed of Light

    Ah, the joy of therapeutic massage. Did your therapist mention you should have a hot bath in epsom salts before bed? That helps release the toxins released by the massage.

    Also, heat for 20 mins, gentle stretches and then an ice pack for 10 mins on your neck from time to time.

    You should definitely have regular massages, especially for your neck. And physio if that’s a possiblity.

    Ah, the joys of unsolicited internet assvice.

    I just want you to be pretty, y’all.

  34. sunny

    Oh I know how you feel. I too have had whip lash and the neck pain continues 8 years later.

  35. Anette

    A regular massage is worth more than any words and medical terms can describe. ANYTHING! You will never regret the investment. NEVER! I had my first massage in ’98 and I cannot imagine what it would be like to live a life without it. It is not a luxury. It is common sense. I like your blog! Anette

  36. Shannon

    Sounds like you need another massage. I hope your neck feels better one way or another.

    I just blogged about my first visit to the acupuncturist today. Good times.

  37. Amy

    You think waiting for 2 or 3 months is bad – I’ve had a gift certificate since Christmas for a massage and haven’t had a chance to use it yet! I’ll have to make sure I make my appointment when I get back from VA – that’s if I can wait 2 more months!!

    Hope you’re feeling better today!

  38. Joshilyn

    HEE! You have caught BORKED from me! YOU SAID BORKED!

    You know this is online gamer speak? You are now 4 steps closer to TOTAL GEEKDOM. Which I think makes peep. :D


  39. carrien

    please please please please please please tell me you’ve gone to a chiropractor since this accident? Please. Seriously. If you haven’t, you need to. NOW.

    You’ll thank me later.

    I had whiplash for 3 years before I went. You forget what normal feels like until you’re back to it again.

  40. Vanessa

    Massages are supposed to make you feel better for a long time! Perhaps a cranial sacral release instead?

  41. ImpostorMom

    My stress lives in my neck and shoulders until my muscles feel like little rocks. My SIL is a massage therapist, maybe I should go see her more often.

  42. Julie Stiles Mills

    I have arthritis in my neck from an old injury. I spent years with limited mobility and discomfort – sometimes flat out pain. Finally, I found a WONDERFUL chiropractor. Every time I get a serious adjustment, he tells me if it will hurt the next day and if it will, I get a free muscle relaxant! I’ll take a few hours on a muscle relaxant in exchange for full range of motion and no pain. I also have a home traction device called a “Pronex” that helps SO much. It normally sells for nearly $400, but I got one on ebay for $80. It works wonders!

  43. Christine

    While your muscles on the left side of your neck are tight, the muscles on the right side of your neck are long. More strength on your right side will help maintain the length on your left. Try regular shoulder shrugs only on your right side in combination with gentle stretching of your left side. Also, if you have a shoulder bag and hold it over your left shoulder most of the time, switch it to your right for a while. Good luck!

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