I went to the doctor on Monday and got an injection of Tramadol as a way to break the pain cycle, and some Soma to help calm things down a bit. Friday, I saw my friend Katy, who had her own massage business (Joie Massage on Facebook. You know her, I've talked about her before. (Note, the phone number in the business card has changed. Facebook might be your best bet to reach her till I get an updated card.) She worked on me for an hour, and I left hoping to just make it home to find a cold one for my armpit (ice pack) and my mouth (beer What? I'd be a cheap date. Don't judge.). That night, I got my first fitful night's sleep I'd had in probably a month. I didn't even have to take my prescription to knock me out.
The next morning found Thunderhead and myself out and about, running errands. Somehow, in the middle of it all, we had a discussion about Gate Theory; different methods of pain relief.
The long and the short of it is as follows; TENS units use electrodes to interrupt the processing of pain signals between the site of injury and the brain. (Sooper simplified, of course.) Topicals like Ben Gay or Biofreeze pretty much act as an irritant to make the body focus on the "cooling" of the ointment than the original source of discomfort.
This led to skipping down the isle at Target, chanting "Anything you can do I can do LOUDER!" in a sing-song fashion. Also, there is an opera on my clavicle as we speak.
The moral of the story? Don't discount massage as indulgent or a waste of money. I did for a long while. But, truly, I feel better, more mobile, and sleep better having found a way to make is a somewhat regular part of my life.