Make that a pain in my neck. Literally. In this ongoing, seemingly never-ending process of healing from my attack, when most everything has been dealt with and is, if not totally better, pretty dang close, the one thing that is still hanging on is the pain in my neck. And, for the most part, it’s okay. But not healed, and this is an issue for me. As my soon-to-be-gone (moving out-of-state – boo hoo) acupuncturist, Matt Truhan, said a couple of weeks ago, my neck was the first thing injured and it is the last thing my body is hanging onto. Immediately following my attack, I could not move my head at all. I had to turn my entire body to look at something behind me. In time, I was able to move it again. Two or three months? I do not remember exactly, but, eventually I was able to move my head without turning my whole body. And because I was so focused on healing the emotional trauma, my neck was kind of forgotten about. Or, rather, I just learned to live with the constant pain, and after a while, even though it was, and is, still there, I ceased noticing it. Kind of like the headaches I used to suffer from. In my daily life, for the most part, I am not aware of it. In yoga, though, I am very aware. There are certain postures I simply am unable to do because my neck will not bend or turn. Even when my teacher says, as we are on our stomachs, ‘turn to your favorite cheek,’ I have to keep my head straight, there is no turning to either side more than just a couple of inches. Or when we are in a twist and he or she says to bring the head back to center, and mine has been there all along.
So, as a last-ditch effort before he and his wife move to Oregon, Matt has been concentrating on my neck. It has helped, but I’m not sure it will be all better before he leaves. Because I do not like massage, he never insisted on working on it before. Oh, he put needles in it and in other points that correspond to the neck, but the pain and lack of mobility is as much muscle memory as it is real, physical pain, and that makes it much harder to deal with. The massage, though very painful, has helped some. This last Tuesday, though, I was exceptionally sore because I had played tennis for the first time in 6 years, and he did insist on a short, Chinese-style massage. The reason I do not like massage is because I always feel awful afterwards, like for several days. I agreed because he is so good at his job and I thought, maybe, it wouldn’t be so bad. Wrong. Not only did it hurt, I felt like crap the rest of the day on Tuesday and still felt yucky yesterday. I even took an epsom salt bath, which I dislike almost as much as massage. Today, I feel almost normal, whatever that is. And when I say I feel almost normal, I mean from the ill-effects of the massage, not my neck.
The dictionary on my computer defines whiplash as:
1 [ usu. in sing. ] the lashing action of a whip: figurative : he cringed before the icy whiplash of Curtis’s tongue.
• the flexible part of a whip or something resembling it.
2 injury caused by a severe jerk to the head, typically in a motor-vehicle accident.
verb [ with obj. ]
jerk or jolt (someone or something) suddenly, typically so as to cause injury: the force of impact had whiplashed the man’s head.
• [ no obj. ] move suddenly and forcefully, like a whip being cracked: he rammed the yacht, sending its necklace of lights whiplashing from the bridge.
In my case, it was both a noun and a verb. I sustained injury ’caused by a severe jerk to the head’ though mine was from being violently slammed to the pavement, and not by a car accident. And the action of DCD in slamming me to the pavement caused the injury. Even now I get a twinge of pain and sadness when picturing the scene that morning. I know it could have been so much worse. Had I not been in such great physical shape and been so angry that someone would even think of attacking me, the outcome may have been far different. And yet 33+ months later I am still dealing with the pain that his actions caused me that September morning. That pisses me off. And makes me even more determined to get myself completely healed, however long it takes.