I exercise pretty regularly. Something I’ve always strived to do but didn’t always succeed in the past. I belong to a boot camp-style gym, and I absolutely love it. However, the past couple of months I’ve been trying to work through constant pain and/or numbness/tingling in my right arm and fingers. I knew I should have taken care of it when I first noticed the issue, but I can tend to be stubborn and procrastinate. I did use my oils in the beginning, but the oil I had on hand took away the muscle pain not the root cause. Which I couldn’t have expected, since I truly believed I was dealing with a pinched nerve in my neck.
I took many days off from the gym. I, especially, took the upper body or arm days off since I didn’t want to exacerbate the problem. One day, when I was doing (or trying to do) push-ups, it felt like my arm had detached itself. Not kidding! It was so weird! No longer did I have control of how to use it. It felt “loose”. All of a sudden, my arm was so weak that I couldn’t put any pressure on my wrist to hold myself up. Forget trying to push myself back up! My left side was fine. My right side had decided it wasn’t going to work anymore.
This loose and weak feeling lasted about a week (even showering was awkward!) until I mentally figured out how to make it “work” again (while in the shower). I approached my shoulder/arm area with a different type of focus to get it stronger and working in and out of the gym. It worked. It re-attached itself (Mind you I’m using this term for lack of any other way to describe it. I did not dislocate anything.) and was getting stronger. I got control back. But, the pain and tingling continued from the right side of my neck down to my hand.
I, finally, made an appointment to get a massage. Not the pampering kind. The, “I need help” kind. The kind where I’ll endure more pain to get rid of the pain. So, I went this morning. I explained what was going on to the massage therapist. She said it sounded like a long term accumulation of tightness and not taking the proper care for it. Guilty.
Our bodies are amazing, but they can only handle so much without outside help. If you’re doing boot camp workouts like I am, or any type of strength-training/cardio, your body needs to have the opposite done, as well. Stretch. Do yoga. Book a massage on a regular basis. The kind of massage that will actually work into the tissue. Ask your therapist if he/she also does cupping. Thankfully, mine does and did that on my back during the massage.
If you’ve never experienced cupping before, I recommend it. This is the third time I’ve had it done. The first two times were by my acupuncturist, and I have to tell you it helped so much! I screamed a silent “YES!” in my head when my massage therapist asked if I wouldn’t object to cupping, today.
The first two times I had cupping done was with the usual glass cups that leave the round marks that you see on professional athletes, like Michael Phelps. This is me, below, after my first treatment. The deeper the red marks, the more “stale” blood was released and brought to the surface. Apparently, I had a lot of stale blood! Hence, pain.
This time, my massage therapist used a silicone cup and did it like the picture below. I meant to ask her why she was doing it this way, but was trying to relax and stay in the moment. As it was, the massage nearly brought me to tears many times during that hour. The cupping was a welcomed relief.
Which hopefully answers a question for you. No, cupping does not hurt. Not taking proper care of our bodies is what hurts.
So, please, learn from me. Exercise is great. But think of all of the beating up you’re doing to yourself without also doing the necessary healing to counter that beating. You’re lifting weights which is tearing muscle tissue. You’re running and jarring your joints. You’re causing lactic acid build-up. Hopefully, you remember to hydrate to flush out the built up toxins!
I know that there’s a lot to remember and think about. Obviously, I’m not perfect at it either. Life gets super busy and we’re doing the best we can. Making it to the gym is a feat in itself! But, finding balance can be a life-saver. Don’t let yourself live in pain if there’s someone out there (massage therapist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, etc..) that can help you. Find that hour for an appointment. Your body will thank you.
Note: The featured image is by Jordan Opel on Unsplash