A few weeks ago, I decided to have a massage. As I’ve talked about already, things over the past two or so months have been tough. T.O.U.G.H. So, a massage was booked to try and de-stress a bit and to treat my broken body. Wonderful, you might think, what a marvellous idea. Yay self care, ten out of ten on the scale of looking after myself. I thought that too and I’ll admit, I felt a bit smug when I left the house to go to my pamper sesh. My God, how wrong I was.
I’ve had massages before and they’ve more than done the trick in reducing tension and relaxing me. Maybe I was a bit naive in having a massage when I was having a fibro flare, but it was fairly mild and I honestly thought that a bit of TLC would ease my symptoms and thus end my flare or at least prevent it from getting any worse. As always, I explained very very clearly to the massage therapist that I have EDS and fibromyalgia. And this was where things started to go a bit wrong: the poor girl was terrified.
“It will be fine!” I said breezily, “I’ve never had any problems before, as long as you aren’t brutal, it will be okay!” I’m ninety nine percent sure that I saw the colour drain from her face when I answered her question of what Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome actually is. Note to self: non-wonky people feel sick at the thought of frequent dislocations. My normal is not their normal.
She left the room, for me to get into a state of undress and then returned with a piece of paper for me to sign. Essentially, I was being asked to sign a disclaimer, saying that should injury or harm occur, I would not sue the therapist or the business. Fair enough, they have to cover themselves. A bit of reassurance later and the massage began.
Sweet Baby Jesus, I have never experienced pain like it. I decided to grin and bare it and then whimpered that maybe it would be a good idea if she used slightly less pressure. I told myself that it was more painful due to the fibro flare: when I flare, even finger pressure is painful, so I thought that, at this point, I was just being overly sensitive and that I would get used to it.
I had, sort of, got used to the pain by the time that she had finished breaking my neck.
But then, things took a slight turn for the worse. I say “slight” and I actually mean earth-shatteringly painful. She moved onto my ribs. I’m not joking when I say that as she worked on my back, I physically felt my ribs pop out of place. As she moved further down my back, each rib moved out of place: some just had a little wobble, some subluxed and other fully dislocated.
Now, obviously by this point, I suggested that she moved onto my lower back, legs and feet, thinking that no further damage could be done there.
Again, how wrong I was.
I’m not entirely sure what she did to my thighs but I left the massage physically bruised down the sides of my thighs. What even?
I don’t know what form of trickery was performed but I’m not convinced that leaving a massage covered in bruises is the sign of a relaxing sixty minutes. Likewise, I’m not convinced that having to ask the therapist (whilst in tears) to please stop is the sign of relaxation.
Anyway, fast forward a few weeks and today I had a physiotherapy appointment. Over the past few weeks my ribs have been SO painful, to the point that wearing a bra has been agony. Sadly I am not blessed with small boobs, so going bra-less is not an option, more’s the pity. I also developed some impressive bruises down my ribs, to match the bruises down my thighs. I have been a walking bruise.
I recalled the perilous massage to my physio and she laughed a lot. That was until she looked at my back and informed me that it was “a bit lopsided”. A (thankfully gentle) examination later and she gave me the news that the hump on the top left side of my back was my dislocated ribs. They were so out of place that there was a risk of them cracking when she put them back into place.
In total, six of my ribs had been fully dislocated and a further two were partially out of place. My super physio relocated them and it looks like no further damage has been done. I’m under very strict instructions to take it easy to prevent them from slipping out again. Oh and I need to avoid massages, at least for now!