Sunday, February 5, 2012

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

In my attempts to maintain flexibility and balance in my running and overall health, I did a yoga video at home yesterday morning. 

You would think that yoga is one of the least injury-prone fitness activities out there.  After all, it's low impact, uses only your own body weight, and allows you the freedom to go at your own pace.  Plus, I've done yoga on a regular basis for over ten years.

However, yours truly managed to sustain some muscle tweakage yesterday during yoga.  I was in downward dog position, listening avidly to the instructor's directions to push the floor away from myself.  All of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my upper left back, right between my left shoulder and my neck.

After consulting my handy-dandy back muscle diagram, I have learned that the muscle I pulled is officially called the trapezius.
Image obviously not drawn to scale
Due to this trapezius muscle pull, it now hurts to move my head in any direction.  I have to turn my whole body, or at least my entire torso, if I want to look beyond where my peripheral vision ends on either side. 

It's much harder than you would think to function or conduct your normal daily business when you can't move your head very well.  For example, it was challenging just to wash my hair in the shower, because it hurts to tilt my head backwards.  I had to stand directly under the water and let the rinsed shampoo stream down my face.

I used a heating pad last night, which helped temporarily.  However, what has been the most effective remedy is to apply pressure to the sore area.  I did try to use my foam roller on my trapezius.  Unfortunately it would require me to lie on the floor with my trapezius on top of the foam roller, and I couldn't hold the position.  I'm starting to consider using my rolling pin instead.

To make matters worse, when I was sleeping last night I must have slept with my head slightly angled on the pillow.  As a result, unless I hold my head in that slightly angled position today, it hurts.

Imagine how much fun it was to go to the grocery store this afternoon while having to walk around with your head in that slightly angled position.  I love the timing, too, of how today, Superbowl Sunday, is one of the busiest grocery shopping days of the year.  There's no better time to be looking horrifically bizarre when the grocery store is packed with recent college grads of the male gender trying to load up on beer and jockeying for position in the snack food aisle.
Notice the angling of the head?
By the way, have I ever mentioned how I can control the weather?  I can make it rain by washing my car, I can make it sunny by carrying an umbrella, and I can make it monsoon by going for a run.  On that note, I could not go for my weekend long run today because of this injury.  Go figure that the weather is gorgeous today (by Chicago standards) and it would have been perfect for a run.  Sigh.

Here is hoping that this trapezius muscle strain heals quickly!  In the meantime, I will enjoy an evening of injury-induced couch potato-dem while watching the Super Bowl.

I'll just have to make sure that the easy chair is set at the correct angle to counterbalance the semi-permanent angle of my head.


  1. Ouch! I hope that pain goes away really soon! I hate it when I have a sore muscle in my neck/upper back and it affects every movement like you said :(

    And I hope we have some more nice weather days this week so you can enjoy a run outside!

    1. Thanks so much! It is amazing how interlinked the various muscles are in our bodies, no? One would think that a neck/back injury wouldn't affect the ability to run, but yet it does! =(

      Looks like you got some fabulous workouts in this past week, yourself! Great job!!!!!

  2. i remember having a tweeked rib muscle and not being able to lean back, lay down was no fun! Hope the back heals fast

    1. Thank you!

      A tweaked rib muscle! Yikes, how did that happen!?!? Hopefully that healed quickly, as well!