Ok, maybe not everything.
But you know how sometimes something shitty happens and you shake your fist at the heavens and yell, "WHHYYYYYY??" Sometimes those things can end up being beneficial. This is a post about one of those things.
Back in November work suddenly became super stressful. At about the same time I started sleeping with two pillows for some stupid reason. Probably in a misguided attempt to use gravity to avoid getting sinus headaches while I slept. Also, said sinus headaches were increasing in frequency, often once a day for 2 or 3 weeks at a time.
I intended to go to the ENT about the headaches, but was too stressed at work to take the time. One morning I woke up with a crick in my neck and upper back. I get those two or three times a year, and usually by the end of the day or the next day they've worked themselves out. This time the stress made it worse and within a few days my cervical vertebrae had shifted slightly out of alignment (I learned this later). For several weeks I had a terrible pain in my neck, some days so bad that I couldn't turn my head. Driving was problematic.
Finally I went to the physical therapist. This was self-help PT, in the sense that I did not go through my health insurance, or use my medical group's PT. I went back to the amazing PT who fixed my right hip a couple of years ago, at Mosaic Physical Therapy. Expensive, and a pain in the ass to get to (I hate West LA, I really do), but always worth it.
We tried a bunch of techniques to disconnect my neck from my frontal cortex, none of which worked terribly well on their own. However, over time we were able to establish practices that release the tension from my neck. Can't stop the stress trying to kill me, but I can sidetrack it when it attacks me. Good enough.
The short version is that my neck is better, and continues to improve while I do exercises with torture devices (i.e., fist-size rubber balls) that unlock knots in my back and neck.
But this post is about an unexpected side benefit. One of the things the PT had me do right from the start is ice the back of my neck for 10 minutes every night before bed. Even though I did not need to continue this practice, it felt good at the end of the day, so I have been doing that for about 3 months now.
And wouldn't you know it, my sinus headaches are subsiding. I haven't had one in 2-3 weeks. It's possible that my sinus headaches are actually cervical headaches. Either way, the ice seems to be finally affecting whatever chronic inflammation has been causing me so much pain and discomfort. I don't know if the least few pain-free weeks are a harbinger of things to come, but for now I'm enjoying the change.
Everything bad is good. Ok, maybe not everything.