Running; Anxiety Update; Neck, Shoulders, and Back Issues

So, quickly…….I got some super-nice comments, emails, etc., from people sharing their stories of depression and anxiety, and I just have to say that hearing from you guys restores my faith in humanity. Thank you!

I have not managed to get to the doctor, yet. I called to make an appointment and learned that my favorite nurse practitioner has moved to a different practice. I could have seen another doctor, but it’s just easier to not have to re-tell all my stuff. So now I have to go by the new office, sign a release to have my file transferred, and then I can get an appointment set up.

I realize this is simple. I actually just realized how simple of a task it is when I typed it out just now, but these basic tasks are the ones that stress me out the most.

Here is what I have been doing.

I’m doing a Couch to 5K program, and I’m about to start week four. It’s going really well. However, I used to be addicted to running — seriously. I didn’t run marathons or anything. I did a few 10Ks and lots of 5Ks, but I ran A LOT, and nothing about my running regimen was balanced.


I hurled myself down a mountain in 2005 and jacked my knee all up. This injury forced me to examine my unhealthy relationship with exercise, and honestly it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

Rather than have surgery, I went the physical therapy route, and it was a S……L……O…….W process. I became serious about my yoga practice during the time my knee was healing. I also learned how to starve myself.

Before I hurt my knee, if I felt like I had eaten too much, I would just run it off. Looking back, I now realize that when I was running so much in college, I was either binge-eating and running it off or I was starving myself. The only problem is that I never binged enough, and other bingers I’ve talked with tell me that what I was doing was not binging.

I think they’re right. I think I was just overeating compared to what I found comfortable.

The point of me telling you all this is that I haven’t run at all since 2004 — right before I hurt my knee. Now that I’m running again, I’m having multiple insights that I will have to share soon. To abbreviate, I’m having trouble gradually building up to longer runs. I WANT MORE! But, I’m doing my runs the way the program is laid out. My goal is moderation. Surely I can run moderately. Right? Overall, I know running has always helped with my depression, and I can tell that I feel better since I started back. I just have to strive for balance.

Next topic — Neck tension/back injury

I’m rushing. I wanted to post quickly before I pick the kids up, so forgive me if this is not coherent.

I hold extreme tension in my upper back and shoulders. Periodically, I get a crick in my neck and it takes days for it to feel better.

Well, after two days of amusement park fun, my neck, shoulders and upper back are in a state.

I’ve been doing yoga poses that target these areas, and while they are helping, I am starting to realize that I need to do these regularly — not just when I have problems.

As I mentioned in my last post, my anxiety is umm, flaring up these days. Well, I’m also noticing how much I tense up my back and neck when I’m anxious.

I need tips if any of you deal with back, neck and shoulder issues.

Chiropractor? I’ve never been but am researching these options now.

Massage? This has helped in the past.

Muscle relaxers? I don’t want to go this route, but after talking with a friend this morning, she said her doctor said that she could benefit from them while she does other things for relief. On this note, red wine helps a lot. I noticed an improvement after a glass on Sunday night.

I’m just not sure where to start. I’ve had this problem enough, though, and I think it’s time to explore longterm solutions, even if it’s a strict preventative plan. Make sense?

These things fit together. I tense up my neck, shoulders and upper back when I’m anxious — then I turn wrong, and I wind up with a crick that lasts a week.

Help. Where would you start?

8 thoughts on “Running; Anxiety Update; Neck, Shoulders, and Back Issues

  1. Sounds like you have considered just about everything, and I’d say combine all of them and you have a cure :). I also carry a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders. My latest problem involved being unable to move my left arm without pain. Something I never would’ve thought of is helping to take care of it. My doctor told me to sleep on my back! I found it very hard to fall asleep on my back at first, but combined with some meditation I find I am sleeping better now than I have for many many months! Just something else for your arsenal.


  2. I carry most of my tension in my neck and shoulders as well. It is painfully uncomfortable to say the least. I find a glass of wine or two relaxes me and the tension disappears from my neck. Also massage. If you can get a shoulder massage daily, drink a glass of wine once in a while, and keep up with the yoga poses I should think you will find Semi-permanent relief. It would be a slow process. In effect you’d just be doing physical therapy as you healed and the yoga helps keep you that way just as you did with your knee.


  3. It can be overwhelming to search for tension treatments and techniques that work for you, but there is a lot out there at least.

    You could try progressive muscle relaxation, which is something you could do on your own. I’ve found that the relaxing effects of acupuncture last longer than massages. I used to do Chinese Five Elements acupuncture for some pain issues and it was fantastic, as it takes a holistic approach.

    Quick fixes could be a foam roller for your back. Sometimes I use a racquet ball for my shoulders and neck…like bear against a tree kind of thing. I hope you find something that works well for you!


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