Thursday, October 23, 2008

Empathy

My therapeutic massages were leaving me with aching neck tendons, so I gave those up after ten sessions. I couldn't even get an appointment for physical therapy for another couple of weeks, and by the time of my appointment, I wasn't really in all that much pain.

Hadn't been having headaches at all, really. But my neck still hurt, and my shoulders were tighter than they used to be. Probably there aren't any kettlebell workouts in my future. What I really needed was some exercises to loosen my shoulders and strengthen the area between my shoulder blades. I would say "the muscles between my shoulder blades," but apparently I don't have any! There's just space. Winged shoulder blades and space.

I don't much like the exercises I'm supposed to do. It's very hard to do them without straining the parts of my body I'm supposed to be relaxing.

Here's the funny thing: The massage therapists seemed very astonished at how tight my shoulders and neck were. Like, to a surprising degree. It's not possible that I am the tightest-shouldered person they'd ever worked on, and yet, I kept hearing, "Wow, you're really tight here." Not in an offhand observational way, either, but as if I were a cancer patient and they were saying, "Now, that is one huge tumor."

The physical therapists, who you'd think would be perfect specimens since they know so much about the human body, are less confounded by me. One of them confided that she too lacks any sort of muscular connectivity between her shoulder blades. She was the first to inform me that this sort of mutation even existed and that I had it.

Another therapist said that she also has excessively tight upper trapezius muscles. "Like bricks," she said, tapping the mounds between her shoulders and neck. And when she demonstrated a stretch, she noted that it had been a long time since she'd done it herself, and she really needed it.

I was thinking after my next appointment that I wouldn't schedule any more, and just do the exercises they've already shown me until I see improvement (at which point, of course, I will stop doing the exercises altogether).

But I don't know, maybe I'll go for a little while longer. They really understand me.

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