I was recovering from the flu and the only remaining symptom was a stuffy and runny nose. I thought that I was already on my way to recovery when I became aware of a combination of a dull pain and numbness in my right arm. When I coughed, I could feel a shooting pain in my arm. Over the next two days, the pain got worse and I could not find a comfortable position to sleep without feeling the pain in my arm.
I am not one to run to the doctor for every little pain. With experience, I have learned that doctors will drug you so that you don’t feel the pain, but the real diagnosis could take a long time after many visits and tests. For something that is not life-threatening, my first instinct is to search the Internet to find out what the problem could be.
My search found that the problem might be a herniated disk, a blood clot, lung cancer or other equally serious conditions. Since my pain had just started recently, and I did not have any pain in my neck or neck movement, it was unlikely to be a problem related to the spine. My arm was still strong but the muscle of my forearm felt a dull pain. I decided to be though and wait at least one more day before going to the doctor.
I spent another night trying to find a comfortable position for sleeping. At this time, I noticed that I had a muscular pain just below my right scapula. I pressed my fingers on the spot and felt some tenderness. Aha! I suddenly remembered what I had done the day before the pain started. I had helped my wife weigh her luggage on a bathroom scale. Since the scale was not big enough to hold the luggage, I weighed myself holding the luggage and then subtracted my weight. I remembered straining while trying to balance my weight as I held the luggage. I did not have a blood clot or cancer after all. It was a simple strain.
I decided not to go to the doctor. Many years before, while walking my dog, I had suddenly felt a back pain that had sent me to the emergency room. The doctor gave me a pain killer that made me giddy and then asked me if I knew what was wrong with me. I said, “No,” and he replied, “I don’t know either. Back pains are very common and they generally go away after a week or two.” On that occasion, I spent a week in bed and the back pain was most severe when I had to use the bathroom.
The back has many muscle fibers that extend from the spine to the hips, ribs and scapula. During your lifetime, some of these muscle fibers will tear and give you great pain, although not necessarily right away. Seek medical attention, but be aware that even modern doctors cannot heal your back; they can only numb the pain. My advice is: Don’t lift heavy luggage!