I hadn't planned on writing this post yet, but I'm hurting pretty bad today.
So bad, I cried before I started typing, and after I took an advil...
I've been dealing with muscle knot pain for the past 6 months. I have literally hurt on some degree for the past 6 months. I'm sure most of you all have probably had a muscle knot at one point in your life, but mine are very bad and I have a few (only on the right side). The worst being on my right shoulder and some around my shoulder blade and now one on my neck. The one that causes the worst pain is the one on my right shoulder that's right on my trapezius. If you knead the area you will actually feel a large lump. That's the muscle knot.
I'd like to start at the beginning. Layla was exclusively breastfeed for 4 months. In the beginning a newborn needs to eat about every 2 hours. Layla would eat every 2-3 hours for the first 3 months of her life. Sometimes she would have episodes of cluster feeding where she would eat every hour a few times a day. I loved breastfeeding her and knowing that she was thriving because of me.
By about month 3 of breastfeeding I started getting pain in my neck, and then my right trapezius muscle started hurting. Here's the problem. I was bad about using my boppy or pillows as support. She hardly weighed anything, I thought my arms were strong enough. Imagine though cradling a baby every few hours sometimes for 45 minutes at a time, not including when you need to rock them to sleep, or when you are just moving them around.
When you are pregnant you develop a hormone called relaxin, it allows your pelvis to loosen to allow the baby to pass through, what it also does is relax the other joints in your body too. This hormone stays in your system for several months after you give birth. A post partum woman is much more susceptible to hurting themselves because of this hormone. (Something I did not know)
So by about month three when the pain started, I need to do something about it. I have seen the following since then:
* Family doctor
* Physical therapy
*Sports medicine doctor
None of them were any help. The chiropractor not so much since they deal mainly with adjusting the bones, the family doctor wanted to give me muscle relaxers, the physical therapist just gave me some stretches, the sports medicine doctor tried a few things and again I left disappointed.
So out of all those doctors not one told me what the real answer is to getting rid of muscle knots. The answer is massage-to get those fibers to release. Unfortunately, massage is rarely covered by insurance. I have gotten a few but I can't always go, they aren't cheap.
So for now, I have my trusty little heating pad that helps immensely, my tennis ball to help work out the ones on my back, my magnesium supplements I take twice a day and some magnesium oil. Hot baths also help. I should probably get on muscle relaxers but I hate taking medicine. I will only take an advil on really bad days and even then sometimes it does nothing. I also noticed that yoga helps alot too and I try to exercise 4-5 days a week. I've been athletic my whole life but tend to have a weaker upper body.
I don't know what to do. Sometimes I just break down and cry when it hurts so bad. I do alot of praying too. Maybe I'm not praying enough, maybe God is trying to talk to me through my pain. I'm not sure. I've also realized that pain can at times be psychological. If I'm out and about sometimes I forget about it. You will catch me rubbing my shoulder alot though.
The issue is now Layla keeps getting bigger. I'm small. I weigh under a 100 lbs and Layla is already 19 pounds. Basically I'm lifting 19 pounds with a hurt shoulder every single day throughout the day. I can't not carry her though. I love holding her and I have no choice. I alternate arms as much as possible and I play with her on the floor alot but the issue is the transfer. Lifting her in her high chair, lifting her in her crib, lifting her on her changing table, the car seat, etc. I wanted to stop breastfeeding twice but I couldn't do it, I drastically cut it down and for the past 2 months, I only nurse her at night when she wakes up.
There is hope though. Yes there are days where I feel the pain will never go away but then there are days where I know that it will go away! I have one voucher left for a massage that I can still use, and my husband found me a neuromuscular massage therapist that can help me (but I'm waiting on this one since again it's expensive and the knots can reknot up if I'm not careful). Also my little brother is about 6 months into massage therapy school and he plans on making me his first case study. One day this will go away.
I'm a huge supporter of breastfeeding despite this. So if you plan on breastfeeding please, please support your arms when you feed your baby. Even if you think you don't need it, use it anyways. Also try not to constantly keep your head down staring at your sweet baby as it feeds. This is very bad for your neck.
There were some days were I wish I would have never breastfeed Layla, but if looking back I knew this was going to happen, I'm pretty sure I would have done it anyways, Layla has yet to be sick. Has it been worth it? If it's protected her from illness and will continue to do so, than the answer is yes.