I’ve been in a little battle of wills with my body, specifically my rotator cuff, for several weeks now. Despite ongoing twinges, aches and soreness, I’ve generally ignored the fact that there was something just not right in my right shoulder and upper arm. It felt nonspecific and too mild to warrant action in my overflowing life. Oh, I whined about it. Reluctantly stretched it. Googled it. But did I back off from exercise? Stop hoisting my one year old with one arm? Pull my suitcase on wheels with my (healthy) left arm instead of my right? Forego my twisty-turny-bendy hot yoga class? Puh-leeze. I carried on as though it would just magically stop hurting as I put more and more stress on these clearly-already-stressed muscles.
On Thursday, my rotator cuff won our little battle. It simply gave up (unhelpfully, right in the middle of a long awaited and much needed yoga class) and I was left unable to lift anything with my right arm. I could not lift my yoga bag. I could not put the car in gear. I could not raise my arm above my head to get undressed. I could not use that arm to wash my hair, dry my hair or hang up my clothes. I took one look at the baby, needing to be picked up, and knew I was in trouble. I. Was. Scared.
One phone call to my doctor and several rounds of Aleve later, I have some mobility back in my arm, but that nagging pain (the one I’d been ignoring) is definitely still there . So, I finally did what I should have done weeks ago. I made an appointment to see my doctor to get to the root of the problem and learn what I need to do to fix it.
As a healthy living expert, I should know better. Health isn’t just about eating well and having the discipline to get regular exercise. It’s about having your whole well-being in balance. It’s about being in touch with yourself enough to know when something is not right and being responsible enough to take action to correct it. Your body is smart, way smarter than you are, and it will give you signals when something is amiss. It may start out using a whisper but it will speak more and more loudly until it gets your attention. Don’t make it shout. Tune in to the signals and commit to heeding them.
What is your body trying to tell you? Where is is whispering to you through low energy, weight gain, irritable bowels, recurrent headaches, interrupted sleep, skin outbreaks, or persistent pain? Find some stillness and check in with yourself. Listen for signals that something may be amiss. And then get some help to bring things back into balance before your body gets your attention in a really big way. Next time, I’ll take my own advice.