Friday, August 2, 2013


The bones in a human neck are supposed to form a curve.  Mine form a straight line and bear down on the nerve(s?) at the top of my shoulder.  We aren’t sure if an event caused this, or if I was born with it.  I remember noticing that my body always hurt around the age of nine, which isn’t to say that it wasn’t hurting before.  I only discovered that my neck was straight a few years ago, and that it was bearing down on a nerve a month or so ago.  The only things I have found to bring relief are deep tissue massage, and traction.

Traction, in my case, is essentially pulling my head away from my body to extend the space in between the vertebrae in my neck.  (Much popping is involved in successful manual traction, and it feels wonderful.)  Either someone can do it manually, or I could hang upside down and let gravity do the same thing.  

The trouble is, I don’t have the parallel bars at school to hang upside down on anymore, like I did as a child.  I remember thinking then that it felt really good... and now I can’t help but think that it was God’s provision that I loved hanging upside down as a child and did it at most opportunities.  

There are so many times throughout my life that come to mind during which I practiced some form of traction on myself without realizing it.  I used to bend over and hang my head with wet hair after a shower, place my hands with the towel on my jaw and let my neck relax so that the weight pulled away from my shoulders.  I would find a countertop to lift my weight off my feet with my arms and let my lower back relax and extend.  It hurt, but it also felt good.  My middle school P.E. teacher often told us that it was good for the body to spend about a minute a day upside down, and showed us how to do a hand stand next to a wall so that we were able to lean our feet against the wall.  An alternative she told us was to hang your head over the bed backwards.  I admit, I never tried the handstand anywhere other than that concrete wall on the playground that formed the handball court, but I did hang my head over my bed on several occasions.

It certainly seems that my condition has worsened over the years, and I don’t know that it’s all due to this particular issue.   I can’t help but wonder, though, if those practices of traction weren’t a result of God’s provision to delay the full fruition of the issue until the right time.  I could be wrong, but I think it would be just like Him.  I am thankful for traction, and the relief that it brings, and I am thankful that God brought it into my life in varying degrees at varying stages.  I do pray that now is the right time for the issue to be fully dealt with.  If not, however, then I praise Him for His good will.  May my life and my struggles be a reflection of His glory.

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