Bus Family, sketch from foreverago, Sarah Fincham
Quite apart from the alliteration, which gives me a frisson of word loving pleasure (I am not joking, it’s physical!), these three things (unintentional alliteration this time, I promise) have a couple of other things linking them, apparently.
Firstly, many many people with ME/CFS have at least one if not two, and will likely develop the third over time,
And Trigger points are possibly the origin of the other two.
I remember my first trigger point. My GP found it, and recommended I go to an (actually his ‘personal’) Osteopath. Someone who manipulated bones and joints didn’t seem an obvious candidate for dealing with muscular contractions, however I followed instructions and it was £300 or so well spent – I felt better all over after my first session and 7 more later I had no more problems – and this lasted for years. Only more recently have I had major issues with them – in fact they were probably creeping up on me, and I didn’t know it, but I’ve now got four nasty ones around each shoulder blade, and goodness knows how many more I don’t know about yet.
And Travelling Tendonitis.
Of all of them, the tinnitus causes the least issues – since I’ve always been able to hear noises others around me can’t, when it first began I just assumed it was something outside of me, that others weren’t capable of hearing – so it wasn’t stressful and I was able to block it out. It was several years before I learnt I had Tinnitus and by that time I was so used to it, that it hardly bothered me. Consequently (and thankfully) I am not one of those sufferers who has to have background noise on all the time. I can hear it now, as I write, but I’m thinking about it. Once I move on to something else it will fade away again.
Believing that troublesome things are coming from outside of you, is a highly underrated strategy for coping – at least in this instance!
The effing Tendonitis is another issue though. Over the last decade I have had: Tennis elbow in both elbows, tendonitis in the top of my foot, recurrent for several years – finally stopped when I began wearing Birkenstocks, only for the tendon below my right kneecap to play up. That’s an on off thing – it can be fine one minute, then agonising the next. Plantar Fascitis features in my history too, not to mention a Plantar Fibroma (barefoot shoes took care of that one). I’ve had RSI in my left thumb, a Trigger Finger in my right hand (mild, recurring), recurring Tendonitis in my left forearm, and finally I currently have Trigger Thumb on my right hand which is really painful and has meant stopping knitting and hand-sewing, and splinting my thumb every night.
Interestingly the bulk of my problems are on my right side. I have scar tissue from a shoulder injury on my right side, the Trigger Points are worse on the right side – and began there even before the shoulder injury. When I had migraines, it was always on the right side of my head.
So when Trigger Thumb developed in my right hand it occurred to me that the problem originated further up, in my shoulder. I already get referred pain up the back of my neck and around my jaw – which has re-triggered a TMJ problem – So my thinking was, what if this is actually going down my right arm now?
A little bit of internet research led me to this article on Trigger Points and Myofascial Pain Syndrome: some of the content has to be paid for, but the free article is really worth reading, especially as the average medical practitioner is not very knowledgeable or helpful in this area. Sure you can have injections to reduce the pain in affected tendons, but all that does is reduce the pain – it doesn’t take care of the underlying problem. And they don’t tend to regard Travelling Tendonitis as much more than bad luck.
But what to do? I’ve had overall benefit from Bowen Technique (but this require money), restorative yoga helps too. I’m awaiting a Magnesium Oil to massage into affected areas, and Magnesium supplements are helpful – as is protein, apparently, though that may be conjecture rather than science.
Finally I also read parts of The Trigger Point workbook a few years back, and had some success with using a Lacrosse ball in a sock to massage the points. I actually eradicated one and it didn’t come back. However this approach demands real dedication and perseverance, not to mention energy, as you have to massage each individual spot at least 6 times a day. inevitably, my dedication wore off. But I’ve started again – because I now fear my body seizing up altogether, and I’m finding this is quite a good motivator. Well, that and my current pain levels, which are quite high.
The one thing which really did nothing for me, was totally unenjoyable and I wouldn’t consider again, was Myofascial Release – a form of massage which targets Trigger points. A single session was two hours long, it was incredibly painful at times, caused severe bruising and the one point she managed to release was back within 24 hours.
As my thumb is now complaining, I’m not going to link all the topics as I usually would, so you know what to do if you want to know more about anything I’ve mentioned here – sorry about that!
How about you, dear readers? Do you have any or all of these problems? Found any solutions? Please share – people in pain want to know!