Conventional wisdom says to ice the area which I tried. This was the worst idea ever for me. It made the spasms more intense. Finally, I ran a hot bath and dissolved some Epsom salts. Since I could float my upper back and arm in the water without touching anything I was able to relax and soaked for about an hour. When I got out I was at least able to move without cringing, but I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet. I applied a SalonPas pain relieving patch to the area between my shoulder blade and spine (upper & middle trapezius) and went to lie down. It was nice to get a few hours sleep even if I had to stay perfectly still and flat on my back.
I was alternating acetametophin and ibuprofen every three hours to try and keep the inflammation under control. It was evident when I’d waited too long to take my next dose. You have to be careful not to overdo it with the OTC pain killers because their side effets can be pretty ugly. By Saturday afternoon I felt like I had the flu and scratchy sore throat and had terrible stomach discomfort. All are side effects of ibuprofen. So I decided to switch to Naproxen. It did give me a tummy ache but it allowed me to get through an entire day without needing to take any other pain medication. It’s been a few days since I’ve taken anything for the stiffness and pain but the muscles are moving more readily yet still sore. Most of the rest of the week has been alternating between menthol pain patches and heat treatment wraps. Both work really well, but I must advise against getting the generic brand. They don’t stay put and end up being more of a hassle than a help. The best are Thermacare and SalonPas for effectiveness and staying put.
This episode was brought on by an intense core workout which involved a lot of lifting my upper body off the ground followed by plank work. All of this not only works the core muscles, but requires back strength and stability. Apparently, I don’t have that right now. I wanted to know exactly what muscles were bothering me and how I can strengthen and stretch them.
My research landed me on an article by Shape Magazine about commonly overlooked muscles by women. The first was the muscle group that I know gets most stressed being a blogger and work-at-home mom – the trapezius. This is a set of three muscles which run from the neck to the shoulder. Typing, folding clothes, doing dishes pickup up stuff around the house ALL require use of this muscle. Needless to say it gets stressed overmuch. This is one of the groups of muscles which is overlooked and needs to be strengthened to prevent and alleviate repetitive use injury. For the exercises of the trapezius and other neglected muscle groups in women (and in men I’m sure) visit the link below.
Want some more stretches, exercises and treatments to ease sore muscles? Check out these links –
Exercises to Treat Shoulder and Neck Pain from Cycling – Works for everyone, not just cyclists. I can say this from first hand experience.