Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Neck pain (Αυχενικό)

I have a pain in the neck which causes me discomfort when I'm using a computer, knitting, sewing, ironing, peeling potatoes, preparing salads, and basically anything which requires the head to be lowered at a slight downward angle while concentrating on a task that usually requires you to sit/stand still and focus your eyes on one specific object.

This pain in the neck is referred to as αυχενικό (afheniko) in Greek, and cervicaglia in Italian. It's not referred to as anything in English, because supposedly it doesn't exist. The Italians will know what I am talking about, but sadly, the British will view it as an imaginary affliction, often seen as a way for a hypochondriac to escape from routine, which is why I don't talk much about it. But the truth is that I sufffer from this 'pain in the neck' for long periods every year. It eventually goes away a month after its onset, and there isn't really much you can do about it, except to get a whole lot of tests done to prove that you've got it, and once you're sure you've got it, you can start taking some pills on a regular basis that supposedly relieve your pain, but you need to take them for a long time, even when you don't feel the pain, to see any effect.

The pain usually starts with a weather anomaly, like high humidity, which Hania has been challenged with for the last month-and-a-half: temperatures in the mid-30s during the day, with misty mornings and cold nights. When I see this weather pattern setting in, I know I am going to suffer; it really is a psychosocial disorder, this pain in the neck of mine. 

I've tried the pills, and I know I really didn't feel any differently from when I wasn't taking them, so I've decided to let nature take its course instead, this time hoping that my pain in the neck will go away by the end of the month, and I truly believe it will, since I've been suffering from it since just after the birth of my first child (the things mothers go through), and I know it usually lasts up to a month (or so). But since my whole life revolves around all the above-mentioned activities, it's pretty hard to do much (writing in particular) these days.

 An amazing place I visited during the weekend, with friends and family: the ruins of the ancient walled town of Aptera.

The good thing about my pain in the neck is that walking, being out in the fresh air, lying down, and simply resting doesn't exacerbate the pain, so with all the good weather Crete's been having lately, it's given me the chance to be outdoors more, which means I feel the pain less, and I don't think about it so much. The truth is that the older we get, the more often we feel a pain here or there, and I've got friends my age who have similar annoying aches in other parts of their bodies (and they seem much worse than mine), so I guess my pain in the neck is just one of those things that comes with growing older. But if you have a young family, you mustn't let this part of your natural development hinder your daily dealings with them, so I always try to pretend that there is nothing really wrong with me, even though I do in fact feel a lot of pain.

The only thing I haven't done much of these days is any blog writing, but at least that's given me the chance to do more reading. Once I get over this thingamijig, I'll let you in on my good reads.

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