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Mac M

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  1. Thanks Kit. I've already spent time on the relaxation wiki and have been relaxing to one of your 18 minute relaxation audio recordings at least twice a day for the last 5 days or so and plan to keep on it. Thanks again for the thoughts and feedback.
  2. I had a massage just last night and the therapist said I felt "very tight" all over my upper back and neck. I'm realizing I'm using the term "tight" in two different ways. My neck muscles feel "tight" on the right side when I tilt my head to the left. Tight in this case referring to shorter, less flexible. When I mention my shoulders and neck feel "tight" as I'm laying down attempting to relax, but they don't feel tight to the touch, I'm referring to hardness. That is they don't feel hard to the touch as my mind expects them to given my perception of the sensations I'm feeling there. Which then leaves me wondering what the sensation is if my muscles feel soft to my touch but my mind is perceiving something more. And this is where I am curious about the centralized pain idea. Or if you have any other thoughts I'm all ears. As a side note, I've started reading A Guide to Better Movement which talks a lot about the role of our neurological mappings on our perception of sensations. Very fascinating.
  3. @Kit_LThanks for the reply. I read a portion of that thread previously (it's long!) and just read through the whole thing. So many great nuggets in there. My main takeaway is a big inspiration to work on relaxation, on its own and in everyday activities. I know it would benefit me in many ways. I've recently been listening to your lying relaxation audio clips twice a day. I've noticed big improvements in my ability to notice sensations in my body both during the sessions and outside of them. Today for example, while laying down and turning my head slowly to the side, I noticed for the first time the weight of my cheek as gravity pulled it to the ground as I turned my head. Sounds small but it was a strong sensation that until now went completely unnoticed. I also love your discussion of the separation of the mind and body. Related to that, there are definitely times when my mind is wandering and I come to, to realize my pain is gone, then after I'm thinking about it briefly, I can start to feel the pain again. There's obviously an interesting connection there.
  4. @Ryan_FSorry to hear that. I hope you figure it out! Thanks for the update.
  5. @Ryan_F I realize this post is getting a bit old, and I'm curious if you have another update? Your latest update here is really inspiring, then I saw another post of yours that sounded like symptoms came back again.
  6. I'm looking for any insights or guidance that anyone may have. I've already found some great info in these forums and glad to be here. This post is a bit long, as I'm trying to be thorough. Context: I'm 44 years old, and very healthy and active (aside from this). I eat well, ran a marathon last year, and was doing body weight workouts until the issue I'm about to describe got bad enough to take over my focus. Symptoms early on: About 7 months ago I was hit with extremely tight shoulders a few days after an intense hot pilates class. I initially thought I was just sore from the class. Then this was on and off for a few months, then it hit hard and didn't relent. At this point the pain would move around the neck, shoulders, traps, between the shoulder blades. At times it was pretty debilitating, and really exhausting. Milestones: After lots of work on this, I've had two major milestones in improvement: 1) The first big improvement happened when I started doing a lot of intense stretching. Note that this was before I discovered Kit and these programs, so was doing more stretching that is generally recommended here, but from what I could tell it only helped me feel better, and did not cause harm. 2) The second was after I had an MRI and was told my the radiologist and a osteopath that I had 3 bulging discs in my cervical spine, C2-C5, two of which were more on the the right side, the other more on the left side. Both people said that they weren't severe and were nothing to worry about yet, aside from the discomfort they might be causing. I then saw a neurosurgeon who said I did NOT have bulging discs and that my cervical spine is more straight than it should be and that that could be causing imbalances. So, that left me unsure how to proceed. But I knew that looking down even for brief periods made me feel terrible, so I stopped doing that, and started doing neck retractions. Within a couple days I saw another big leap in progress. Additionally, I've had myofascial release 3 times, which seemed to help a lot the first time (symptoms pretty much fully subsided for about 10 days, a couple days after the myofascial massage), and helped less the subsequent times. Then I wonder if the first time it was just a coincidence that I felt better a couple days later. Current symptoms: These days, it's usually very mild in the morning and gets worse within an hour or two. I wouldn't call it "painful", but an ongoing sense of extreme tension. In other words, if it was just 5 minutes a day, it wouldn't be a huge deal, but when it doesn't stop, it's terrible. I almost constantly have a feeling of tension in the right side of my neck, on the side and towards the back, as well as my upper traps (mainly the right side but can be both sides). When I tilt my head to the left side I definitely feel those right side neck muscles are quite tight. But also, even towards the end of the 18 minute relaxation audio session, I still have that sensation of tension on the right side of my neck, and towards the back of the neck. But when I go to feel that area, all the muscles feel loose, and not tight at all. I've also had a number of different types of massages and am generally told I don't feel unusually tight. I'm curious what this indicates. My efforts: While I've been good about staying on top of this -- I spend time every day working on it -- what I have not been good about it sticking to a single routine/plan for a long period. I'm constantly re-assessing and adjusting my plan. I found some posts here suggesting to slow down and stick to a plan, so I'm going to work on that. I've seen a handful of physical therapists that seemed great, but none have led me to a solution. I have done a lot of work becoming more aware of my body and the sensations in it, and noticing when I tense up, usually in the jaw and shoulders. So I'm aware that I do this, and I do my best to relax and breathe when I catch this. I mostly notice this when at my desk (I use a standing desk), and when my kids are being a pain :) I have the Overcome Neck Pain Course and have been working through it. Admittedly, I'm struggling going as slowly as suggested, because I have been already doing a lot of similar stretches fairly intensely leading up to discovering this course, and nothing has seemed to cause more pain or make things worse. Stretching always feels great. The other thing I'm struggling with, is that I've been doing the GMB Elements course, and go back and forth on whether or not that's a good idea before I resolve this. And I've been running a couple times a week. There are not any activities that hurt, and actually being active makes me feel better (temporarily), not worse. Potentially relevant: In 2007 I had Bankart Repair on my right shoulder to fix my shoulder that kept dislocating. Aside from a decreased range of motion, it was good for years. Then a couple years ago I started noticing slight intermittent impingement. It was never severe so I wasn't always good about doing my physical therapy exercises. Part of me wonders if this contributed to whatever is going on now. About a month ago I started hanging from rings multiple times a day and the impingement is mostly gone, except for when my arm goes in a couple specific directions. But it's definitely improving, and the lower trap pain seems to be much less. I also had a pretty stressful 2 years leading up to this, though by the time the actually started, things were much less stressful. I still wonder if it's connected though. Conclusion: I'm left not knowing what's causing this. Things people suggest are: mysfascial issue, issues caused by shoulder scar from Bankart Repair, tension, bulging discs, straight cervical spine, central sensitization, upper crossed syndrome (though I've been told my shoulders are slightly rolled forward, but nothing that should cause problems). It makes it tough to know where to focus. Suggestions? I'd love any thoughts/insights on any of this, especially: 1) Is the sensation of tension, without actually having tense muscles, common? Do we know the potential causes? Is this normally what tension is like, or does tension generally indicate muscles that are actually physically tight? 2) Suggestions on how I proceed from here? 3) Is it okay to do things like GMB Elements now if it doesn't hurt?
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