I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it over the course of the past 7 months or so but I’ve been plagued by an “injury” to my left shoulder since around March time. I use the inverted commas because I didn’t injure myself in the gym, I simply woke one morning thinking I’d slept a bit funny as my neck felt a little stiff.
As the months have gone on, the pain has got significantly worse until I could no longer stand it. It’s waking me up in the night, my fingers are tingling with pins and needles, I can’t lift my left shoulder towards my ear and lifting my arms overhead is severely painful. Getting undressed has been an ordeal, I can tell you!
For a while, I rested it thinking maybe I’d tweaked it in the gym but it made no difference. I noticed the pain would get worse if I felt stressed but found that heat and mobilising the shoulder made it feel better. I googled and googled, looking to match my symptoms to something but to no avail.
With my sports therapist living 150 miles away, I didn’t want to go to anyone new as I feel when you build a good relationship with a physio, who knows you and how you train, it’s hard to put that trust into someone new.
However, as I’ve been travelling back and forth to Walsall more often in the past couple of months, I could no longer put it off.
The guy is an absolute star, though I called him a few different “choice” words today ;-)
As did my gorgeous man…
So it would appear that I am suffering with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. In simple terms, the blood vessels at the superior thoracic outlet are being compressed, which is causing severe pain in the neck, left trapezius and shoulder which radiates to the back, chest and also causes tingling and pins and needles in my fingers. The pins and needles occurs mostly in the middle of the night and is apparently, a very common symptom.
As soon as Marv laid his hands upon me, he was concerned about the tension in the traps. As he worked on me, he informed me that it was possibly the worst case he’d seen – my traps were solid with tension and in the 45 minute session, he wasn’t even close to relieving even half of it. I think with the stress and worry over the course of the past few months with my dad’s illness and subsequent death, the tension has just exacerbated the problem, which is understandable.
It’s going to take several sessions to fully work out the traps but I have been given some advice as to massaging the area myself, Emz has been showed how to help and I’ve been showed some good stretches to try and work out this tension. Mobility and heat have been recommended and thankfully, I’ve been told not to stop training. Obviously, I can’t do any exercise that causes pain but there are certain things I can do to try and help.
It has reminded me of the importance of regular massage when training with heavy weights. I pay so much attention to diet, spending more than the average person to eat good quality food, so it makes sense to invest a little of that money to keeping my body working the way it is supposed to.
I’m not sure how often sports massage is recommended but I’m going to make a big effort to get a good rub down on a more regular basis. I’m also going to buy myself a lacrosse ball and make more of an effort with self myofascial release in between.
Do you get a sports massage? If so, how often?