Active Release Technique(s)?


I’ve been staring at my laptop screen for thirty minutes, trying to come up with something happy (possibly humorous) to write.

I can’t even begin to fake it.

I’m lost in the worst pain flare-up I’ve had in … forever.

And I mean LOST.

Nothing I do is making a dent in the pain.

There are no words to describe anguish like this.



Teeth clenching.

Awe inspiring.

Words can’t do this justice.

Everything I do, including breathing, is escalating the pain.

Everything I do is aggravating my already aggravated, damaged, body.

(Aggravating = take a knife and stab it into yourself repeatedly, then twist it, and then throw some lemon juice on the wounds for good measure.)

My nerves are firing pain signals as fast as they possibly can … as if someone gave the nerves themselves a shot of speed.

Each day I think the pain has to get better tomorrow –

Only to discover, the next day, the screaming of my nerves is somehow unfathomably worse.

I have an appointment to see a physical therapist (not The Torturer) on Thursday.

In addition to being a physical therapist, New Man In My Life (I don’t have a blog name for him yet) is also certified in A.R.T.

A.R.T. stands for Active Release Technique.

Two visits ago, Dr. Painless told me he thinks A.R.T. might help with some of the problems I have in the muscles/nerves surrounding my disabled arm.

It won’t fix my arm, but it could (possibly) help with some of the muscles and nerves nearby.

I thought I’d look into it after the first of the year, because omigod I’m so friggin’ busy right now.

Pain doesn’t care what else is going on in your life.

Pain can make you stop everything and listen.

And if you don’t?

Pain will get louder, and louder, and louder until you’re forced to listen.

So, how bad did the pain have to get before I called for an appointment?

Extremely bad.

I’m days, upon days, into this intense (getting more intense by the minute) flare-up …

Yesterday, I called to make an appointment with New Man In My Life.

After four years of physical therapy, I’ve been in no hurry to go back to it.

Just thinking about PT brings back bad memories – memories of unparalleled physical suffering, not to mention unexpected emotional pain.

If you’ve been reading along with my car accident journey, you know I can’t move my arm much.  (I only have about 20% use of my arm – possibly less.)

Not moving my arm, causes a lot of problems with all the surrounding muscles in my neck, back, and chest.  I need someone to move my arm for me.  My arm/shoulder/upper body hasn’t been cared for properly since The Torturer Debacle.

I do a handful of independent physical therapy exercises at home.  Clearly, it hasn’t been enough.  The neglect has now caught up with me in an evil, horrible, way.

(And with the worst possible timing – hello holidays!)

So forgive me if this post is written poorly –

I’m being tortured by damaged nerves.

I’m on drugs which fog up my brain, but can’t seem to dent the cruelty of severe pain.

And yet, I thought some of you might know …

Does Active Release Technique work?

Do you have any A.R.T. stories (good or bad) to share?

If you do …

I really hope you’ll share.

24 Responses to “Active Release Technique(s)?”

  1. gd

    No experience with this therapy, sorry.

    Delegate whatever you can. To hell with the rest. Time and sanity savers I’ve found: let the dust gather– doodling in dust is fun; cheese, peanut butter, and crackers can be a meal or two; wearing underwear wrongside out saves laundry; let voicemail do its job; family members can learn to do lots of things.

    Serenity prayer.


    Diet Coke and rum (but not with the pills)

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      I’m trying to get better at delegating. It’s very difficult. I have had crackers and cheese for dinner many nights. Cooking is a very painful thing to do ….

  2. Diane

    Someone forgot to tell your body that it’s the Holiday Season. Hope this New Man In Your Life can give you a bit of relief, Suzanne. 🙁

  3. Jenny in MN now in AZ

    Hopeful the new therapy helps. So incredibly sorry about your pain level. I’m interested in hearing more about your new therapy once you are able to write. We’ll be here when you are ready to write and share. Go take care of you! Do what it the most important to you and let everything else go. The next day will come even if everything doesn’t get done. Hugs to you!

  4. unmitigated me

    My chiropractor does this, and it definitely helps, but I am warning you: It hurts like a bitch while he’s doing it. I’m pretty sure I have burned calories while he was working on my right quads.

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      It seems to be more common with chiropractors than with PTs. Because I’ve had so many surgeries I think a PT is a better fit for my situation – apparently there are only three in all of Orange County who are A.R.T. certified.

  5. Judi

    Haven’t heard of this therapy, but praying it provides you some relief.

  6. Jan's Sushi Bar

    I am thrilled beyond words that you’re seeing a PT again! This can only be good for you, even though I know you hate it. I haven’t heard of this form of therapy, but I’m extremely interested to hear about it.

    In the meantime: (((Suzanne))).

  7. Linda

    Oh Suz- sorry you are in such pain. I am sending cooling, soothing, relaxing vibes your way- hope you feel them…. ((gentle hugs)))

  8. Sandy Webb

    I live with chronic pain (not to the extent of your pain though!) and mentally it is challenging. My doctor is always reminding me how chronic pain affects one mentally. Basically, it sucks! To top it off, I am a klutz and it seems I am always getting injured. I hope you can find something that brings some relief.

  9. Cathy B

    Yes, I know what it is, have been looking into trying it myself after a couple of people I know with muscle-nerve and pain problems got relief from it. And they’re people whose opinions I respect, so I think it’s definitely something worth trying. Good luck, Suzanne, I really hope it helps.

  10. Sandra

    When I was 18 I went with a school mate and stayed at her parents house who had a house in Poipu. Poipu is very popular. We went to places “locals” went since her grandparents lived there and also some cousins. Then my husband and I went there a few years ago. We prefer Maui for the dryness but Kaui is definitely much prettier than Maui. We went horseback riding and played in waterfalls. Highly recommened.


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