Feeling cranky this morning.
I have scoliosis. I think it’s pretty common and mine isn’t particularly dramatic. You can tell if I’m wearing a bathing suit or something tight because my silhouette is a bit wonky. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t know.
But me, I know. This is partly because of the small fortune I’ve spent on chiropractors, physios, osteopaths, accupuncturists and massage therapists over the years. (If you’re interested, I find Chinese medicine significantly more effective than Western for muscle pain.) There was also the time the x-ray guy x-rayed me about a dozen times over because he thought I wasn’t lying straight enough on the table. (Sorry bud – that’s just how my spine looks. But if I ever get cancer, I’m blaming you.) Mostly though, it’s because of the pain.
See, every now and then – usually if I’ve been sitting at my desk too much – my back rebels and goes into spasm and it’s horrible. It’s been almost a couple of years since the last time, so I was thinking that maybe I had this one under control. But no, it turns out my back was just waiting until I was also experiencing gallbladder issues. Because hey, there’s nothing more effective than the old one-two punch. Really though. Two things at once? Not fair. I wonder if this is some kind of test and whether or not I’m passing?
Oh well. It won’t last forever. I will see the nefarious Dr. Tang for my back and the rather sweet Dr. Chang for my gallbladder and everything will be ok again. What has been interesting is I now have the ability to compare my pains. You really can’t do this most of the time because our brains are wired to make us forget. I’m sure it’s a survival thing. But now I have the unique (to me) experience of having two level-10 pain episodes within a short time period. And yes, it is equal pain. But there are differences.
So, here is what I have learned, based entirely on myself. Note that I am not a doctor and I am not giving advice in any way.
- Muscle pain and organ pain can feel the same. If you have a pain in your lower back, it could be your back, but it could also be your kidney (Kidney problems were the plague of my mid-twenties. We’ve made peace now though.) or your gallbladder or some other organ you have in there. I have a two-fold method of telling the difference. Part 1 – hold completely still. If you hold completely still and the pain goes away, it is probably muscle (or disc) pain. If it doesn’t make a difference, your organs are probably talking to you. Part 2 – Lightly punch yourself where it hurts. If it’s your back, this won’t make much difference, unless you had to get into a weird position to punch yourself. If it’s an organ, you will probably scream.
- Muscle pain is better. Not that it hurts less, because it doesn’t. But I think for me, it’s a devil-you-know scenario. Basically a back spasm feels much like I imagine it would feel to be stabbed. It’s awful. But I know it’s not going to kill me. Depending on what’s wrong with you, your organs could. So added to the pain is fear. And if you have an overactive imagination like me, that is so much worse.
Anyway, here is the truth: When we are healthy, we take it for granted. We never catch ourselves thinking, “Wow. My foot does not hurt right now. Swell!” But we should. So stop where you are right now and take stock. Are you in pain? If the answer is no, be happy. Be grateful. You are lucky.