Well, more like a love/hate relationship.
It’s taken a long time and a lot of work, but over the last couples months I have finally discovered and figure out (mostly) how to isolate my upper back muscles around my shoulders. I have been working on them for a long time, but it’s only recently I have been able to actually feel them move.
On the other hand, now that I know where they are and how to use them, I can’t ignore them anymore, and I can tell when they are not moving right.
This somehow makes things simpler and harder at the same time.
Depending on whether I am doing latin or standard, its necessary to figure out how to move them differently. I have also been working on strengthening them during my strength training, which is also difficult as they are hard muscles to target. As I have noticed more awareness, I have noticed though that it is becoming easier to do these exercises right. Doing this has highlighted the strength difference between my right and left side as I work each side separately, but slowly it is starting to even out.
The progress is encouraging, but I still get frustrated sometimes when I can’t quite figure out what I am trying to do with them. Sometimes though I move them without realizing it, and that is always a surprise. It’s interesting how many movements in dance involve them.
On a slightly related note, I keep encountering something frustrating with the muscles/tendons on the right side of my neck. I am not sure if it is related to my treatment, specifically the radiation (because of scar tissue), but I have noticed that after every lesson, and practice where I am stretching my neck for standard I wake up the following morning with a stiff neck that is just a little too far on side of pain for comfort. I spend the entire next day aching through my neck and unable to fully turn my head to the left.
The odd, frustrating and difficult thing is that when I am working on standard and stretching, I don’t feel anything that tells me I am overextending to the point of minor injury. It doesn’t seem to be getting worse, but it isn’t getting better either. The thankful thing is that it rarely lasts more than the day after. I am really not sure how to manage this, but hope that it doesn’t get worse and progress to a worse injury. I have previously had an issue where the entire muscle seized up for a week and it is something I have no wish to repeat.
Muscles are strange things sometimes.
On a different note, I have figure out why I wasn’t feeling very well over the last couple days, and why I suddenly had a burst of energy last night. I accidentally missed one and perhaps two of my hormone therapy medication. I usually sort out all my medications for the week in advance, but last week I didn’t have enough of my hormone therapy because I had to pick up a refill at the pharmacy. Once I picked up the refill, I forgot to add the missing doses to my medications for the end of the week, and didn’t notice it was missing until this morning. What I was feeling was likely withdrawal from missing the doses, followed by the side effects lifting.
It was a brief ray of light, but also it’s a little disheartening that today I am back to feeling achy and lacking energy again as my body readjusts to the medication. It certainly tells me that what I am feeling are indeed side effects.
But at least in the meantime I have new muscles and sensations to explore.