Until this morning. I woke up at 5:00 AM and my neck was hurting like a real banshee. This little crick of mine had turned into a mountain of pain. I could barely move my neck. It was seriously a struggle just to sit up in the bed.
First thing I did was Google "Stiff Neck." I found a handy website named necksolutions that pretty much described exactly what I was dealing with. Take a look at the image to the left and you'll appreciate how the muscle in question might get a bit tense. They suggested warm compresses and showers and self-massages. I showered and the neck felt a little better.
I spent the rest of the day basically doing the robot. I got some special oils from my housemate, who's studying for her boards in Chinese medicine. The oils penetrated well and provided some relief (substantially better than the Icy Hot I tried later on in the day). I managed to get a couple hours more sleep.
Usually I sleep with my head on my arm, with a very thin pillow in-between. This pillow is like fifteen years old. You just can't buy them this thin anymore. My girlfriend thinks this is why I got the stiff neck. Today, I tried sleeping on a slightly thicker pillow, with my arm off to the side instead of underneath. When I woke up I was functional enough to do a little work on the laptop (which is another reason I probably got the stiff neck in the first place).
I'm feeling a little better now, after a nice evening bath and another application of the oils. But I have learned my lesson. I am pretty sure that the main thing my neck needed was rest. I was ignoring it for the better part of a week, and sure enough it came back to bite me. I mean, last night I went around San Francisco giving a friend of mine a walking tour of Chinatown and North Beach. I think that was the straw that broke the camel's back (or neck, as the case may be).
Used to be I could basically ignore my body and it would heal itself. I'm guessing that this isn't the case anymore. I'm over 30 now, and my body's slowed down a bit. I'd better learn to slow down, too. Unless I want to smell like Ben Gay all the time.