Tuesday, September 6, 2016

When I Forget and Try to Act Normal...Or...Is Massage Supposed to Hurt?

Yesterday I was finally able to get my hair cut and colored (I had waited over a year and with growing my grey out my daughter's friends were starting to think I was her grandma and not her mom, yikes). After sitting in the chair for about an hour my back was very happy to get up and move a bit when it was time to wash my hair (of course my neck didn't agree.).

I moved to the chair in front of a big sink and hoped it would be a quick wash because my neck was in this weird position and then she started massaging my scalp and all sense went right out the window. So when my stylist asked me if I wanted a hand massage the goo that was my brain at that moment was thinking more happy muscles, yay! I said yes, please! She gave me a 2 minute rub on each hand that felt lovely with the thickest moisturizer I have ever felt (everything I picked up after I dropped). It was a beautiful little moment of selfcare by pampering what usually gets ignored. Heavenly!

I went home and went about my day (washed the moisturizer off I'm klutzy enough without help). All of the sudden around 8pm I start to get the worst pains in my hands/wrists/fingers and I remember, I'm NOT normal. I tried nsaids, pain meds (considered voodoo but it felt like someone was already stabbing my doll), nothing would relieve my pain. At this point I remembered how painful a massage on my neck and shoulders was and I knew my massage days are coming to an end.

Unlike most people a massage is practically torture for me. I used to have therapeutic massage on my neck and shoulders in PT 3 times a week for months. It hurt so badly that after a few months I would cry in the middle of my massage. I realize therapeutic massage is done with the idea that going deep and pressing hard should hopefully relax and lengthen your muscles and sometimes it hurts. For me it hurt all the time. One appointment with my shoulder surgeon consisted of him moving my arm around and feeling the muscles on the top of my shoulder, he then asked, "are you on muscle relaxers?" He was shocked at how tight I was with muscle relaxers and massage.

Shortly thereafter I gave up massage but kept the muscle relaxers, I also had shoulder surgery and had my biceps tendon snipped to deal with the tightness in that shoulder. It's been 2 years and I have much less trouble with that shoulder.

I'm sure you're thinking I must be nuts, massages are wonderfully relaxing and calming, they can be if your masseuse knows what their doing. When I'm going for a normal massage I ask them to do a Swedish Massage for me (I think that tends to be the lightest touch massage) even then it can still be too much.

You may ask what is the best way to get a massage when every muscle in your body aches? I will give you some tips...

For me, it was finding a masseuse that listened. She told me that I was looking for a light Swedish Massage, she also asked me where it hurt the most and was aware of the areas where I might need more help. I continued to go see her exclusively because she paid attention to what my body needed and I was able to have more massages, feel less uncomfortable and more relaxed.

If you get a masseuse that "rubs you the wrong way." Tell them to stop or to rub easier if you can stand to correct them and stay for the rest of the hour. There is no point staying for a massage that you know will end up hurting you or making you worse in the end. This is one of those times it really matters how good your masseuse is, don't settle for anything less. I've had massages where I've come home and hurt for 3 days after, no massage is worth that.

After your massage drink lots of water, I don't believe the cleansing out toxins...however, I do know that it's important to stay hydrated and water is good for your body.

One last tip...when my body tightens up as it is so wont to do I either take a really hot bath/shower or I crawl under a heated blanket. Heat will relax your muscles again and hopefully let you rest comfortably until the next day.

Happy massaging....

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