Monday, January 21, 2013

Acnestis is the spot, notalgia parasthetica is the itch.

Rob Breszny's horoscope for the week beginning Jan 17:
"You know that area on your back that you can't quite reach if you want to scratch it? It's called your acnestis. I propose that we make it your featured metaphor of the week. Why? Because I suspect you will have to deal with a couple of itchy situations that are just beyond your ability to relieve. Yes, this may be frustrating in the short run. But it will ultimately make you even more resourceful than you already are. By this time next week, you will have figured out alternative solutions that you haven't even imagined yet."
After the week I just had, it is quite obvious to me that my psychic or spiritual acnestis is the unresolved burden of resentment I still bear toward my father and how he affected all our lives, which I have so unfortunately transferred to my workplace.  The fact that the bad behavior is real makes it feel as if the itch is out of reach, but there ARE ways to treat it, to relieve the symptoms, even to get rid of it.

One of my fibromyalgia symptoms has always been an itchiness in that one spot I can't reach, my acnestis. The itch is prodromal symptom of what becomes pain in that spot, but also in other trigger points, and the all-over pain and fatigue that feels like a flu with no fever.   It's the first spot to flare up, and at its worst, it feels as if someone has driven an icepick into my back, next to my left shoulderblade. I have also learned that there is a rare, but real, medical condition that consists of  severe itching, localized midway between the spine and the shoulder blade, or right under the shoulder blade:  notalgia paresthetica. Nothing relieves the itch for many people, who become desperate with frustration. Most research and treatment has focused on either topical relief (cortisone, ice packs, etc)  or some idea about injury to the nerve at the spine, but my own experience is that I can only relieve the itch/pain if I treat it as a myofascial trigger point, in which the nerve is compressed. Massage, manipulation to reset the position of ribs, etc, trigger point injection therapy, or some combination of these, has been most effective for relief of this spot for me.

A few years ago I read a book on treating fibromyalagia that suggested that one note the very first spot that signaled a flare-up, and give it a name. I named mine HAL: as in "HungryAngryLonely," but also after the rogue AI/computer HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. If HAL-9000 was a survival mechanism gone awry, then my "HAL" spot signals when my survival mechanisms have turned against me, and will manifest themselves as an itch that impossible to scratch, and then a pain that always returns.

"Open the pod bay doors, HAL."
"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

2 comments:

Leslie said...

Brezny says I must get organized and disciplined, and he is right.

"...it is quite obvious to me that my psychic or spiritual acnestis is the unresolved burden of resentment I still bear toward my father and how he affected all our lives, which I have so unfortunately transferred to my workplace."

I threw large parts of a good career away, in significant measure because of what and how it signified in the family.

And -- my great grandfather abandoned the family when my great aunt V was 18. This is the event whose repercussions the family is still acting to compensate for, fighting it out over, and so on. Shocking.

momo said...

And I have learned more about my father's family history of depression, alcoholism and psychological violence. It helps me understand, but I haven't yet been able to put to rest the frightened, angry younger self's bitterness, that still festers in all my relations with asshole colleagues.