The morning after returning from my trek, I awoke with a giant, furry spider in my bathroom, aching right shoulder, stabbing pain in the area of my right ribs, and mild soreness in my legs. The soreness in my right shoulder felt as though I was carrying a heavy bag, even when I was lying down. The sharp pain in my side was only a problem when I coughed, sneezed or laughed, but it caused me to keel over in agony without fail.
I was in sad shape when Steve stopped by for lunch. I wanted to tell him about the trek, and share my photos so we went to the nearby Peace Cafe. Steve is a funny guy, so I had to explicitly tell him not to make me laugh. While I wasn’t complaining much, it didn’t take long for my body language to give away the discomfort I felt. We cut lunch short and he picked up some Paracetamol (aspirin-like drug) from a pharmacy and met me back at my room where I was already back in bed. I was in enough pain to wonder whether I should see a doctor. He recommended rest, and given he had trekked to Everest Base Camp without a porter back in April, I trusted his advice.
The Paracetamol took the edge off the pain, but it was hard to be comfortable, especially at night. I felt as though my arm should be in a sling to relieve the aching, and I had to sleep on my left side. I was so glad I made the effort to find a new room with a soft mattress.
After two days, I felt as though I could handle a Tibetan massage. I’d been meaning to try acupuncture, so I combined the two and visited a Tibetan doctor whose office was in the building adjacent to my hotel. She recommended three sessions given my injury was new. I was doubtful the pain could be alleviated in just three days.
The first session was limited to 25 minutes of acupuncture. Three needles were poked into my shoulder, with a fourth and fifth in each elbow. Unsure whether to credit the acupuncture, I found myself able to spend a few hours on the internet before feeling a lot of pain again by bedtime. The second session began with a 25-minute back and shoulder massage, followed by acupuncture. Again, I felt better after the session, though it was even more noticeable the next day. To my surprise, I felt 100% again after the third session.
Unfortunately, I have no way to know whether the pain would’ve dissipated as fast on its own, or whether the massage helped more than the acupuncture (or vice versa).