Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do as I say, not as I do. Put another way, taking my own advice.

When embarking on a career such as massage therapy, you never suspect that you might become one of "those" therapists who gets hurt "in the line of duty" per se. Yet, here I am, lingering shoulder injury for over a month now, MRI scheduled for tomorrow. Hopeful to find answers, wary of diagnosis and recovery instructions. I've been in the self-diagnostic gerbil wheel that comes with having anatomical understanding-- I know a whole lot of what it's not, but not certain of what it is. In keeping with my somehow always being interesting and odd, both my chiropractor and GP are stumped. Though I haven't fallen, been blitzed or tackled, I somehow have a shoulder injury congruent with someone who has. Separation, AC strain, and/or possible labrum tear. Big question remains, HOW?!?

Diagnostic fisticuffs aside, it really hit me that I have not done a very good job of caring for myself or heeding the therapeutic protocols and advice I know I would dispense to my clients were they in this predicament. Rest, don't use it as much as possible, rest, rest, ice, anti-inflams, if it hurts don't do that, and did I mention REST? Somehow I've been telling myself that being a "professional" I somehow get a "get out of jail free" card in this regard. Turns out I am wrong.

There is that whole real-life thing about being self-employed and needing to earn a living, so necessity mitigates a precarious balance between rest and work requirements, but even with that, I could (and should) be doing a better job of caring for myself in the way that I care for my clients. It took a dear friend-- who bless him, has come over to my house *every* morning to tape and stabilize my AC joint before I go to work-- challenging me on the schedule I've insisted on maintaining. As he put it, "Nat, you need to step outside yourself and talk to you like you were one of your clients. And if MT you were dealing with CLIENT you, you'd say, 'I hate that client! She doesn't listen!'" Now, for the record, I don't hate any of my clients, but his point was well taken.

So, my homework is to treat me like I treat my clients, and take care of this insert-injury-diagnosis-here shoulder issue. I commit to spacing out my work hours appropriately, to rest whenever possible, and to trust that my clients will be understanding if I need to spread their sessions out. Reminding myself that it doesn't do them any good if I break myself further by working too much. They lose out in the long run too.

MRI scheduled for 10:30am tomorrow, will update as soon as I know more... Keep your fingers crossed for me that this isn't one of those nebulous injuries that hides from an MRI scan. Choosing to believe that will not be my luck!

Making today a "Practice what you preach" day. Yours in health....

-Nat D, LMT

Note: As a licensed massage therapist I cannot diagnose or treat any illness or physical condition, and am not a replacement for medical care.

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