October 15 2013

Nellie Vin

Art by Nellie Vin

My right hand is always frozen, the left is cool and inconsequential. I lose the feeling in all my fingers when I sleep it doesn’t matter how I position my arms the nerves are always compressed. My wrists are floppy and easily unset, my shoulders are bony and resolute. I stretch and I strengthen but my upper body remains defensively drawn. As I type the nerve in my right wrist is beginning to pinch. My neck creaks like the floorboards of a turn of the century Victorian. My right hand has fallen asleep in the time it took me to compose these lines. At any given moment my hand will just let go and my muse will mourn the loss of a companionable warmth.


There is an Om festering between my tongue and palate, my lips are unwilling to relinquish their curvature. I feel like my soul has been fed fiber by fiber into a rusted copper pipe. My heart is a complaisant 54 beats a minute it refuses to cater to the protests of my theatrical mind. Breathe in. Breathe out. The pain will forget itself in the name of a more compelling passion.


I am 17 years overdue for physical therapy! I was instructed to get physical therapy following a bout of neck paralysis but my mother could not afford treatment at that time and for many many years after. I exercise daily including yoga. Without yoga the pinched nerves spread through my body causing intense irreconcilable pain. The yoga helps without a doubt but my circulation is still horrendous. I think it might be time to make that appointment! I am so uncomfortable in my body. I wouldn’t say I am in serious pain (not at the moment), it is more a matter of feeling very awkwardly placed.



20 responses

  1. Oh, mlm — sorry that you have to deal with chronic pain. I know that’s a b***h!
    I deal with chronic pain every day; some days are better than others.
    I just started taking yoga classes a few weeks ago. I had tried to practice at home based on my old yoga routine, but only ended up hurting myself.
    The class is pretty gentle — a mix of ages and stages in terms of yoga. I’ve been going twice a week. I need to interact with people, get back out into the world, and see if I can lower my pain level, and loosen up the extremely tension shoulders and upper back; help with the neck spasms, etc.
    I hope there is some way to help with your pins and needles; sounds very scary and discomforting. An appointment might not be a bad idea. My mother (and me to some extent) circulation was awful, caused her to feel cold, and get pins and needles too!
    I know several people who use alternative treatments for chronic pain, fibromyalgia and other such chronic illnesses. If you like, I could ask them about your issues.
    Another novel — when will I learn to leave reasonably sized comments.

    • Any information you can provide would be awesome. I eat healthy, I exercise, I stay hydrated, I don’t smoke and never have I have tried everything to improve my circulation that I can think of. Strokes are huge in both sides of my family, they are so frequent it is like the flu in my family so you can imagine that I want to get my circulation improved before I start having them! I have done yoga since I was 12 and I love it. I hope you will love it and find it beneficial =)

      • I’ll put together a post on facebook and my blog to see what folks have as advice re improving circulation, nerve issues, etc. Can’t remember the url, but I think I called it Phylor WordPress. I have only friended a few people, but all of them are dealing with chronic illnesses/chronic pain from various illnesses.
        I’ll also message the two folks I know from the chronic pain group who are the most knowledgeable on the subject on alternative therapies. Would you mind if I gave them the link to your post? They might find it helpful. Or, I can cut and paste the sections on the physical symptoms.
        I hope I can get some advice for you!

  2. Just a headache — it turned a bit ugly for a while. I get these weird combo tension and migraine headaches. Set off by changes in the barometer, moving my neck the wrong way, or sleeping in the wrong position.
    I did some yoga poses on Tuesday I should have known better than do (our instructor says do what you can; many of us have pain issues), and I slept the wrong way. The start of these headaches is usually around 2 am. I feel nailed to the bed when I really should get up, take my meds, and have a coffee. Feeling of dejavu (misspelt) like I just wrote this somewhere. Of course, with a bad memory, often life feels like a dejavue, lol.

    • I am sorry about the headaches ouch! My husband Sam gets headaches like that as well. I have been fortunate in that I rarely get serious headaches. I have had a spinal tap and the spinal headache I had for 4 days after that was hell so I do know what a bad headache feels like. I do something horrible thing to my neck where it feels like I’ve torn all the flesh and muscle from one side, I don’t do it all the time but sometimes I wake up and move too suddenly and it happens. When I was pregnant I would get truly awful muscle cramps not in my stomach but in my legs and feet mostly. My first sign of pregnancy was knee pain so intense I vomited and lost consciousness. I have never passed out from pain since not even giving birth haha No you haven’t please do so.

  3. Hello, I am one of Phylors friends, from our chronic pain group. I am sorry to hear your story, There are so many of us these days. She told me you were interested in alternative therapies, and that is mostly what I use. I do take one prescription antiinflammatory, but most everything else I do is in the alternative category. I take Turmeric for inflammation also as the doctors here havent found a pain med that I don’t react badly to in some way or other. It doesnt make pain go away, but it does take it down a notch. The nice thing about the turmeric is that I can take it more or less as I feel is necessary without fear of overdose or extra trips to the doctors. I also take vitamin B12, Magnesium, fish oil, and a multiple vitamin.
    With the yoga/stretching/exercising situation I have found that for me over doing it is a bad thing, if it hurts dont do it or modify how you do it. We need to move but pacing oneself, and being kind to our bodies will get you farther than working too hard. I stick with walking and gentle stretching exercises that use all the muscles but that don’t require me to be in pain during or after doing them. Pain seems to trigger more pain.
    I have struggled with muscle/nerve issues in hands arms and shoulders for many years, they did carpal tunnel surgery just last year, it helped but only somewhat. I found that B-50complex helped some with that. when my hands start to act up I found that it was helpful to wrap my hand or hands at night, ace wrap or brace. Neck and shoulders are kind of a mess and were quite horrible for years. They would get stiff, go to pins and needles and numb, or just hurt. If i slept on my side, the side that was up would go numb, on my tummy or back then both sides did. I would rotate positions every few hours all night long to alleviate it a little. About 10 years ago i fell asleep in a recliner and slept all night long for the first time in years. Needless to say it is now a regular thing, no clue why but it helps. do they still cause problems? yes, but its dramatically better.
    You talk about diet a little, and healthy is a good thing. One of the things that I found is that many chronic pain patients have food sensitivities. These are not like allergies. They are foods that for whatever reason increase our pain levels or worsen our symptoms. These are harder to determine as you don’t see an immediate reaction to them. But when you take the offending food out of your diet for a week or two and then add it back, you will soon see the results. The most common ones are gluten, high fructose corn syrup(some times any processed corn byproducts), cruciferous vegetables, preservatives and sulfites, and artificial sweeteners.
    Will all of these things help you, maybe, maybe not. We are all different and have definite differences in what works and what doesn’t. Is it worth the time to try them all. Yes, any reduction in pain makes life so much more enjoyable. Feel free to email, friend me on Facebook or respond here. Sorry for the book. LOL Phylor thought she was bad.

    • Please don’t worry about the book lol Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I do have gluten intolerance but I am the only one in my household and I believe I may be cross-contaminating myself. I have had a lot of digestive issues and if it isn’t the gluten there has to be something else. I didn’t mention in this post but I have Epilepsy as well and I have noticed my pupils are rarely the same size, generally this uneven pupil dilation happens right after a seizure but now it seems they are almost never the same. I can relate to going numb on the side you sleep on that happens to me a lot. I do eat a lot fruit and veg. I remember I started a vitamin D supplement to help with Depression and the dark winters but the supplement has a small amount of calcium and I developed hypocalcemia (I am on an a birth control that depletes calcium so I thought that little bit would be okay, it wasn’t). I believe it is gone now but for a while I was falling asleep standing up! I have trouble maintaining potassium and magnesium levels because of the Epilepsy, the seizures just seem to drain it, so I get muscle cramps and spasms. I can never seem to consume enough. I have to have bananas with me all the time. I don’t have any deficiencies and my B vitamins are always high because I love my dark leafy greens. Exercise helps me a lot I am so much worse without it and rarely get muscle soreness from exercise. Sometimes my knees or hips hurt and so then I switch to low impact for a while to heal. I tend to do well on a Japanese diet. The seaweed helps my thyroid issues tremendously. I had to drink soy when I was a kid I couldn’t have milk or eggs. I consume them now but maybe I shouldn’t.

      • You might want to have them check for arthritis, there is a link between arthritis and the type of nerve problems you are describing. I have a grandson who has seizures, and my younger brother also. The medications to help relieve them seems to cause many other issues also. I have degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, arthritis in all the large joints, an old head injury(causes memory and cognition problems), have recently tested positive for Lupus, and sleep apnea. They usually shake their heads at me in the docs office lol. The best advice I ever got about medical problems I got from my dad when I was just a kid. he said try all their options, but to always remember they are only practicing. When they start getting it all right they will call themselves scientists, not doctors. Lovely to “meet” you. look forward to getting to know you better.

      • I had never considered I might have arthritis. I am not currently on any seizure medications, they did not work for me, and the side effects were horrendous. One of them did cause motor problems loss of strength in the hands and shaking but luckily when I stopped the Parkisonian symptoms stopped. The pinched nerves in my shoulders I believe are the result of childhood injuries. 1) My stepdad won a racing go cart I was made to drive it even though I was petrified. I panicked slammed on the gas and slammed full force into a transfer trunk (luckily parked) I used my right hand to stop me from going under the truck and becoming decapitated so it took all the force. I did not break or dislocate my arm and never have. 2) I was on the back of an ATV the driver (a girl who was pretty mean) took off suddenly I fell off but my arms got stuck in the grating behind my head she kept driving despite screaming. In fact she sped up. 3) I had a seizure got disoriented and jumped out of a car going 25 miles per hour into a field. Never with any of these was I taken to a doctor to make sure I was okay. This does not include all the stairs I have fallen down and the roofs I have jumped from. I have bones like Wolverine lol I think though these injuries may have caused some problems

      • I will have to research about pain control,as far as supplements go. As far as foods go, I would recommend trying food elimination diet to see if he has specific foods that he is sensitive to. The thing with these sensitivities is it is different for each person. gluten for one person, high fructose corn or any corn by-products for me, certain vegetables, preservatives. sulfites the list can go on. But usually there is only one or two that each person has to avoid. Also since these aren’t allergies, its helpful to remember that you can still have them, if you are willing to accept the increase in pain levels.
        http://www.wholehealthchicago.com/3534/allergy-elimination-diet/ that link has a good list of basic foods to test, start with the most common ones, I would ignore the instructions there, though. they make it hard to follow and way too long to get results. Instead test one food or food group at a time. for example, start with wheat and wheat gluten, stop eating anything with that in it for a week or so, then add it back in for a day and keep track of symptoms during both weeks. Hope that helps

      • Thank you I will check it out my husband is quite resistant to dietary changes I think he would be okay adding subtracting veggies, he has even been a vegetarian but bread the man loves his bread lol

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