Muscle Soreness and Joint Stiffness

My muscles are so sore this morning. They feel like stiff springs under significant tension whose coils are begging to snap back to their adjacent unstretched position. I didn’t do any unaccustomed exercise yesterday, so I think the fever that I spiked in the evening must have manifested this achiness. It’s common for me to suffer muscle aches after these little viral- and MCAS-induced fevers as part of the resultant systemic inflammatory response. Today, it’s mostly the major skeletal muscles: hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, glutes, traps, and erector spinae. I’ve tried foam rolling, stretching, heat, and gentle movement, my standard modalities to target this kind of tightness and discomfort. Unfortunately, none of these activities have yet provided any relief, which is not unheard of, though I wish it was a rarer occurrence than it’s been proving lately.

With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome hypermobility, pervasive and severe muscular pain is frequent. Because my joints are so loose and prone to sublux or dislocate because the ligaments lack their normal integrity and therefore are rather ineffective, my muscles bear the brunt of the stabilization burden, actively contracting to help support healthy alignment that should normally be offered passively by the connective tissues. Any physical activity that challenges joint positioning overly engages my muscles and can lead to soreness and fatigue. Many times, my muscles also seem reluctant to unclench and relax back to normal after such work has ceased as if weary that they’ll be summoned again imminently so they feel it wise to just remain on the job.

I’m wondering if the lumpy dirt trails through the corn maze posed an extra challenge to my joints and the threat of dislocation appointed the muscles to a major stabilizing responsibility. It also didn’t occur to me until I was in the maze and started feeling itchy and felt my head pounding that the fact that I’m highly reactive to corn may have instigated an allergic inflammatory response, as my immune system sprung to action to defend my body from the “evil” threat of corn. Seriously, how can something so innocuous be perceived as such as dangerous offender by my body?! Perhaps exposing myself to the plants themselves by my sheer proximity was enough of a stimulus to elicit a MCAS histamine swell. I did leave with a thundering headache, though I wasn’t sure if it was from tension or allergies. I had a fever and overall malaise later in the day and hives at night, which seems a bit delayed but is not an uncommon timeline of events for my reactions.

Accompanying the muscle soreness and marked tightness, many of my joints are swollen and “boggy” today, puffy with an unhealthy amount of fluid. They throb with each pulse, particularly in my fingers, knees, ankles, hips, and cervical vertebrae. My fingers are so edematous that they look like a different person’s hands, a rather alarming feeling when I look down at them and type. It reminds me of those kids’ flipbooks that split the human body into three or four tiers and the child can swap body parts and heads with each turn of a section.

I’m moving about much like a tin man, and far from the comfortable fluidity exhibited in a healthy stride. My hips are particularly tight, causing an exaggerated lateral sway from side to side as I walk, as my trunk has to compensate for the hips’ immobility; I look like a toddler dancing!

It’ll be an uncomfortable day and I hope this pain and stiffness resolves by tomorrow morning. Today, both moving and sedentary activities are making me wince. Since my other symptom-resolving strategies were unsuccessful, I have to resort to rest and patience; in time, this flare-up will subside and I’ll ease back into comfort.

 

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