The New Thing

I used to laugh at my parents and their friends when they would get together and compare weird things their bodies were doing. And then I realized that there’s a long time where you don’t really feel mentally any older than you did at, say, 28, but your body sure has carried on aging in the ensuing decade.

So, the new trick my body has learned as of yesterday is this. When I am struck with coughing fits, there is a 50/50 chance that I won’t just cough like a normal person, but instead, I will have a feeling like a thousand tiny claws running up my back and shoulders. It is painful.

I’ve been trying to think of how to explain it, in case I have to describe it to the doctor and what I think is going on is this. Imagine your hand is a muscle–your fingers the muscle fibers. Normally, when you flex your muscle, all those fibers contract at once, and you can successfully lift something or cough or sneeze or whatever. Now imagine that each of those fibers instead contracts at a slightly different moment than all the others around it, so that when one contracts, you can feel it pulling on its non-contracting neighbor until the neighbor is forced to contract and so on down the line, in a weird cascade of discomfort.

Even weirder is that yesterday I stubbed my toe on the dog’s bone and my whole shoulder just erupted into one of the aforementioned spasms.

So, that’s been weird, to say the least.

2 thoughts on “The New Thing

  1. Sounds like you’re feeling where your nerves branch from your spine. If you work with computers a lot or hunch when you read (and if you don’t stretch your back systematically), this central upper back prob often happens when you head towards forty. I have gotten much more regular about spinal stretching (light yoga) because the shock of the pain when I don’t is really unpleasant. Regular massage helped; if you can, trade some local LMT editorial or copywriting services in exchange for a monthly Swedish massage and the knots in your back will be much easier to manage.

  2. What Bridgett said.

    Also, there’s this one place that does frequent massage sales on Groupon and LivingSocial that are actually really inexpensive. Like $25 for an hour massage.

    Also, you might want to look into the possibility that you have a mild case of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). This, combined with coughing, can increase back pain.

Comments are closed.