Today I had my first ever, at-the-office professional massage. (I know. Feel free to roll your eyes. But I am old now. And this has been a thing for a while. And suddenly, this thing as an accessible service makes a lot more sense.)
Last Friday, I woke up at 4am in excruciating pain. I couldn't look up. I couldn't look right. I could look left. Which is more useful than being unable to move your head at all. But unsurprisingly, not enough. Even looking left hurt. Like my neck was telling me "Screw you. I left you this little bit. Do you want me to take that away, too?"
For the record, when I went to bed I was fine. I hadn't done anything more strenuous that evening than catching up on a couple of episodes of 'Cutthroat Kitchen' off the TiVo.
We have a masseuse/yoga instructor at the on-campus gym here at work at couple of days a week, but I had never used her before. It's $15 for a 15 minute chair massage. I don't know what the rest of her rate card is. I had always kind of mocked the people who used the service. I mean, seriously, what kind of person gets a massage at work?
Turns out: I'm that kind of person.
I figured that with my neck actively trying to sabotage my ability to do complex maneuvers like Looking At Things or Getting Up From My Bed, it was pretty much a good time to try.
I sent her a note and arranged an appointment on her next on-site day. (Today). I know she does the longer, normal type massage, but I figured the 15 minute thing was a good start.
I showed up in slightly better shape than I had been - the past few of days and a couple of evening bourbons had gone some way to loosening things back up again. I can look to my right now. But up still hurts.
Think about it: How many times a day do you tilt your head back and look up?
It's way more than that. Which I didn't know until I was forced to count the tears I shed every time I tried.
I explained things to the masseuse.
"How do you normally sleep?" she asked.
"Er... horizontally, most often. It's worked for me until now."
"Has this ever happened before?"
"No. And I've been sleeping almost every day for pretty much my whole life. At least once a day. Sometimes twice. I used to be pretty good at it. Suddenly: not so much."
"How many pillows do you use?"
"One. Maybe two."
She nodded sagely. "You should think about using less"
"Less than one is zero. I should use zero pillows?"
"Well. At least think about it."
And then she jabbed her thumb into my neck.
"I bet it hurts right here."
Over the course of the next 15 minutes, she poked and prodded and twisted expertly and turned the tight knotty balls of agony in my neck into a reluctant surrender to normality. And hey. You know what? I can look up now.
The on site massage should immediately by law be made A Thing. It was awesome.