I’ve been getting nasty headaches for the last several months. They appear to be tension headaches (start at the base of my skull/top of my neck, spread up into my head and down into my shoulders), but it’s weird because I feel less tense and anxious, in general, than I used to. I’ve tried Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, Excedrin, aspirin, nabumetone–and nothing does any more than take the edge off. Alternating heat and cold helps a little, but nothing is getting rid of the headaches. They’re happening on nearly a daily basis.
So my nurse wants me to try massage. It makes sense to try that before going to my doctor and trying more medications–and I won’t take most pain meds anyway, since anything sedating tends to make my dissociation worse. Massage is about as minimally invasive as it gets.
Except…I’m an abuse survivor.
Most of the time, I don’t like being touched. Most of the time, I can handle it if it’s a doctor’s appointment or something, but it takes a conscious effort not to pull away any time someone reaches out toward me. (Yes, metaphor for my entire life, I know. My dysfunctional brain loves metaphor.)
I guess I imagine there being more intimacy in having a massage than at a doctor’s appointment or the like. Less…perfunctory, I guess. And someone I don’t know. It makes me twitchy.
My fourth nursing care coordinator at Riggs was also trained as a massage therapist, and she worked on my neck and shoulders sometimes. That didn’t make me twitchy because I knew she was safe long before I ever let her touch me. I didn’t just walk in, tell her about my history of trauma and dissociation, and let her touch me.
But I don’t know, maybe it won’t be bad. Maybe it’ll help. I told my nurse I’d try it as long as the massage therapist was female and I got to keep all my clothes on. I mean, it’s just my neck and shoulders, so that shouldn’t be a problem, right?
I am trying really hard to talk myself into this. God knows I need something to get rid of these headaches.