We all get ‘high’ after playing sports or exercising, and feel an increase in energy days after. But it wasn’t until 5 years ago that I realized how much more than a ‘high’ or energy boost exercise can give you. Weight lifting and exercise became my neck pain’s saving grace. Sports medicine is a great natural gift we have. Though most people do it in gyms, you don’t need to be there to do it. It’s a free medicine for many problems of the body that develop over time, and mind.
When I had constant, daily, chronic neck pain for 2 years after our family was hit on a freeway in Colorado, about two years later, I had an ‘inspiration’ of sorts and realized that strengthening the heck out of my neck, shoulders, back, abs, and arms would solve a lot of the pain. It did. I was pretty ripped for a skinny weird lookin’ Irish guy. I was still skinny and weird lookin’, but with far less pain and a few ‘you look buff’ remarks from friends and family. Loved it!
Then a year before my wrist surgery I had no ability to lift. Neck pain increased. Then I had the surgery. Even had to brush my teeth with my left hand. Things got weak, things hurt. Then when I recovered I began to swim and build up wrist and overall body strength, slowly. Then began to barely lift ever so slightly. I was feeling a lot better.
Then went to Spain and, well, let’s just say I was a little distracted. When I came back, I got hit again and had a repeat concussion. Made the symptoms way worse when I lifted heavy boxes up a flight of stairs. Made the symptoms way worse again when, months later, after feeling frustrated at how badly the neck pain had returned and how weak I felt, tried lifting again and again had brain pressure and swelling, and shortness of breath for about 2 weeks during midterms of my first semester in grad study.
Pain and stress are pretty destructive. So, three days ago, I took another shot. I had a mantra, ‘I’m playing it safe’. I was lifting about 5x less what I know I can lift, even at this point. The looks I got from the meat heads in the gym at USC were priceless. Haha. Oh man. Anyways. I’ve done it twice now and have not had a teeny amount of brain swelling and pressure, but nothing harmful or intense like before. My neck is already feeling better.
I am crazy sore. Get a toothpick to curl some french fries and that puppy’s gonna be hurtin’ the next day I imagine. Thank God for the body’s ability to heal. I may not be getting any ‘you look buff’ comments soon, but if I can have less pain, I’ll take it more than happily.