(The Rack is a weekly Friday column by fit model, waitress, musician and future superstar, Tammy.)
In the past week I’ve been to an orthopedist and physical therapy, two stops on my reduction journey which I thought would amount to little more than some documentation of the “back problem” I need to have in order for the surgery to be approved. As I mentioned last week, the orthopedist was quick to point out that my posture is less than perfect–the top of my spine curves forward slightly, a direct result of years of a disproportionate amount of weight from my breasts stressing my neck and upper back. I found an article online somewhere which likened the effect of large breasts on a small frame to this picture you might recognize from A Charlie Brown Christmas:
See how that poor little tree curves at the top because of that huge ball? Ouch.
At physical therapy on Wednesday, I connected more dots. As the therapist pulled, pushed, and manipulated my neck and shoulders (a painful mix of massage and stretching that made me feel like a creaky-boned senior citizen instead of a 20-something future superstar), she explained that my neck and shoulders were super tight and surmised that more than just my breasts were to blame: “A lot of this is stress.” As she tried to loosen up my tight, curved spine, she asked me whether I had ever experienced tingling in my arms or hands. I have! I thought it was from typing–but apparently I don’t type nearly enough to be developing carpal tunnel. The numbness is apparently radiating down from my freakishly tight scalene muscles, which put pressure on the brachial plexis, a clump of nerves that extend down the arm and into the hand.
No charge for the anatomy lesson, ladies.
The verdict: four weeks of physical therapy (with a copay each time, hooray…) and exercises to do 1-2 times a day at home. My physical therapist is not sure the exercises will completely correct the problem, but she thinks they’ll help, and BONUS! They might also help get rid of my frequent tension headaches. Amazing how all of this stuff is connected . . . .
Next week I’ll call my surgeon to check in, and see if it’s possible to pinpoint a tentative date for the surgery.
Until next week!