Physical Therapy

So earlier this year I managed to hurt my shoulder. I didn’t think much of it at the time, I was moving lots of things at work and one day lifted and felt my arm and shoulder hurt a bit. The next day my shoulder hurt to move and sent pins and needles down my arm if I moved it certain ways. Again, I figured it would get better on its own so didn’t pay it much attention. 

Several months later it wasn’t getting better, in fact it got worse. I had limited motion in my right arm and couldn’t do things that I normally do – like reach for things with my right arm, sleep on my right side or keep my wallet in my right pocket. I couldn’t even yank on the cord to start the lawn mower. Reaching for the seatbelt with my right arm going across my body hurt, reaching across to the right hurt too. It wasn’t very fun… 

I didn’t have insurance for a good while, but it finally kicked in at my new job in September so I scheduled an appointment with Ortho (got a referral from my GP) for September 2nd. 

They tested my range of motion, pulled and poked me and took an X-ray and then said “Oh, you have frozen shoulder.” My best friend, Suzanne, had suggested it might be frozen shoulder a month or two before as symptoms sounded like what her mother had. Sure enough she was right. The doctor injected me with cortisone and prescribed intensive physical therapy/stretching and asked me to come back in eight weeks. He also said lots of Aleve, as much as four a day, so I’ve been doing that too. 

So that day I found a PT place close to the house and booked my first appointment. At the first appointment they did measurements, asked me to stretch and reach and gauge my pain threshold for them and I did all that. Took about 35 minutes that first visit and they based my continuing care on those tests. 

So for the past four weeks I’ve been going to physical therapy twice a week, where they have me stretch, lift, pull and push my way through a bunch of different exercises. 

I do pulley pulls, finger ladder, shoulder shrugs, bicep curls and more. Lots of simple things I can, and do, do at home, like wall scrubs (take a towel in your arm and scrub the wall up and down, side to side and in circles 20 times each way), pulling my arm behind my back with a rope held in my left arm, reach forward and hold a stretch for 10 seconds 10 times… among other things. I’m not a fan of a particular stretch called “the doorway stretch” where I hold my arms on the side of the door and lean in, hurts pretty bad and I only hold it for 30 seconds but it’s a bitch. I use a “body blade” that I hold and punch out, the punch side to side and move side to side… that one I always get tired and want to grab with my left hand, kind of funny how I want to compensate when I’m doing PT. 

I like my trainers, no eye candy as they’re both women, but they keep me going and motivated. They also stretch and rub on my shoulder when I’ve done all my exercises and offer me an ice pack each day for a few minutes after I’m done. 

Anyway, I’m getting better – my range of motion has improved. I was at about 30% motion but now I’m about 60% motion and a lot less pain. No more pins and needles going down my arm and that makes me a very happy boy. I go back to Ortho on the 21st of October and they may take another X-ray, we’ll see but I think between what I’m doing at PT and home I’m making solid progress.

I have to say I’m glad it’s only this and not something more serious, some of the other patients I see in there working on themselves are struggling to walk straight and that seems pretty hard. They too are making progress that I can see so that’s nice. 

When I first started, lots of folks on Facebook shared that they had been in PT and how important it was to do the home exercises. Lots of good support from social media and at home. While I keep trying to help move or do things Suzanne won’t let me. 

I’m hoping by the time my birthday comes around, if not sooner, I’ll be all better. But if not I know to keep working and stretching my way to success.

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