Friday, April 11, 2008

Falling apart

It's pretty common for me to say I'm failing apart nowadays - things hurt that I didn't even realize I have. But lately it's just been crazy. I've had this twitch in my left eye for a month and a half, which coincidentally is also how long I've had a series of intense headaches behind the same left eye. I've gone to the doc for that and he thinks the twitching will eventually go away (it has lessened somewhat) and that the headaches are sinus-related (I'm taking the antibiotics to see if I get better, but so far they've just made me extremely sick to my stomach). Then for the past week I've had a crick in the neck - not nearly as bad as the one that my officemate has (he can't even turn his head), but bad enough where I can't get a good nights sleep. And of course, people say the useful "you must be sleeping wrong." Pray tell, how the hell do you sleep wrong? I haven't fastened my ankles to the top of the door frame and slept bat-style (although I might try that if it'll help me sleep), I've merely laid down on a bed and rested my head on a pillow (one pillow, not four as I've seen some people do, although how they accomplish it I have no idea). Am I doing something wrong? Did I miss a class where the teacher taught everybody how to sleep?

I just sneezed - ouch! When it hurts to sneeze, you've got problems. Well, it could be worse, I could have [insert disease which causes body parts to fall off here - yes, I know what it is called, but if you do it then you're partially culpable for my insensitive joke and thus can't start casting stones]. I should have been a lawyer.


Beorn said...

Greetings, Dear Brien!!

When I have neck problems I find that applying a ThermaCare heat wrap (and taking Advil, if needed) makes it much easier to sleep. Often, the pain is significantly better or even gone after just one decently long night of sleep with a heat wrap on. For particularly bad muscle pulls, though, I've used them for a week straight, including during the day. If you haven't tried them, I highly recommend them. Of course, I'm not a doctor; I'm just playing one on your blog.

Brien Louque said...

Thanks Dave! I actually was feeling better for about a week, but yesterday my neck started acting up again - I'm definitely going to try the ThermaCare heat wrap and see if that helps any. Is it something I can wear while I sleep (I'm assuming it is)?

Beorn said...

Yup, you can wear it while you sleep. I certainly do. The package recommends that elderly people not wear them while sleeping, because their skin burns easily. But the wraps really don't get warmer than a standard heating pad (about 105° F). And we're not that old anyway. Yet. :-)

Their main advantage (I think) is that they're stuck to your skin, so they stay right on the spot and apply heat directly to the sore muscle the whole time you sleep, no matter how you move around. The tend to loosen things up nicely, so you don't wake up in the morning stiffer than when you went to bed.

For what it's worth, they make them in a few different shapes and sizes. There's one just for neck and shoulders, and one that wraps around your mid-section for back pain (and a few others for elbow, hand, etc.). I usually just keep a box of the neck and shoulder ones around, since that shape works well for the intended area AND you can also stick them onto your lower back if you need to.

They make two kinds, a red box and a gold box. The only difference is that the red box wraps last for 8 hours and the gold box wraps last for 12. And the gold ones are a little thicker.

Bonus trivia: Because the little heat-producing pads in the wraps work via an oxidative reaction (they're made of iron, carbon, sodium chloride, sodium thiosulfate, and water), people use them to get rid of mites and stuff in old books and clothes. Seal a wrap up in one of those vacuum bags along with the infested objects, suck out most of the air, and the wrap uses up the remaining oxygen and kills the bugs.

Anyway, I hope they work for you. I definitely think they're worth a try--for me they are tons more effective than pain pills, and I know several people who swear by them. And now, speaking of sleeping, I'm headed to bed for the night. I hope that you can get a good night's rest soon!!