The problem I refer to? Pain. Yes, pain. This injury makes me realize how (relatively) pain free I have been all my life. Of course I've experienced pain. We all have. Pushing out a 10+ pound baby (even with the epidural)-- painful! Healing from a Cesarean section -- painful! Getting the front of a figure skate to the chin -- painful! But throughout my 11+ years of yoga practice I've not had an injury that really slowed me down. My knee used to bother me with Bikram practice at times ("lock the knee, lock the knee, lock the knee" they loudly repeat - which I now totally question the wisdom of), and my right-side hamstring attachment is painful now and then, but if I'm mindful I can pretty much avoid it.
But this right shoulder/arm pain that is currently plaguing me is not giving me a break. It does not care that I don't particularly like to go to doctors or take pills. It does not care that I am a side/belly sleeper and I wake up more sore than when I went to bed. It does not care that I need my arm to perform daily tasks such a s carrying groceries, holding downward-facing dog, and working on a computer.
And that last one on the list, my friends, was the last straw. I sit in front of a computer for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Honestly? I wish I didn't. But I do, and I don't see that changing any time soon. Many of the tasks I do here require repetitive clicking of my mouse. One day early last week I was in pain all day, every click of the mouse seemed to tighten everything up further. I applied peppermint essential oil, then China gel, then arnica gel. I took ibuprofen and tiny homeopathic sub-lingual arnica pills. I complained to all my family and friends. Repeatedly.
And then, well, I decided it was time to kick its ass. Yes, I decided to kick my arm's ass. (All I need to do was find it.) Appointments were made: deep tissue massage with long-time masseuse and yogi -- check. Appointment with primary care doctor to see what Western medicine has to say about this -- uh huh. Appointment with yogi acupuncturist -- yes, please. And out of these three appointments--all helpful--I ended up with referrals to both a physical therapist and a sports medicine clinic and an offer for a cortisone injection (which I declined) and x-rays (which I accepted). I was also asked to seriously consider my diet, and I had my first foray with cupping.
It's amazing how much you can get done in three days.
My shoulder is not healed, but it's improving. How much of this was my delayed but determined decision to stop being a victim and get better? I'm not sure. But I'm now on a mission. I was so afraid that this pain was going to ruin my yoga practice that I didn't even want to face it. I was running away from a potential negative outcome. But you know what? It's only going to make me a better yogi. I have to back off. I have to put my ego in check. I can't do handstands right now, I can't do chaturangas, hell, I can't even hold plank pose right now without modifying. It's humbling. I hate being that older woman in class who has her knees down on the floor in plank pose. But who am I kidding? No one gives a shit but me. No one even notices. We're all so caught up in our own minds/bodies/stories that we rarely pay attention to anyone else. (Well, except for that hot guy in the back row to the left.)
I have finally faced the fact that I have to work on healing myself. And that I have to get help for this. I have to accept what is, instead of looking away. And so far? Well so far it's been pretty damn amazing.