Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My appointment with the physical therapist

As you may or may not recall, in April I hurt my shoulder. It wasn't during a class or while doing landscaping. No, it was while I was at the grocery store and pulling a cart. This cart is the one that can pull behind the bicycle. It was filled with food and when I went to pull it, I didn't realize I had it turned around backwards, so I yanked it the wrong way and that wrenched my shoulder back in a wrong way.

It hurt pretty bad that day and led to migraine headaches and muscle strain in my shoulder and neck. That's when I stopped going to body pump for awhile.

The pain got better and it got to the point that it only ached here and there. When I pull on a door sometimes. When I sleep and put my arms over my head, it will wake me up from the discomfort.

I started doing landscaping in the yard and it didn't bug it and this later summer I started back up with body pump and it didn't hurt it. Yet, I would still have this ache in certain movements (none of which I ever do in weights class).

My husband convinced me it was time to call a physical therapist, so I did. That appointment was on Monday. The PT first took the history of what happened, and then he started doing a series of tests. He examined my posture, my flexibility, my range of motion, my balance and my strength. If anything hurt or ached, I was to let him know.

In the end, I was proud to hear that I was strong and he could tell I was active. All in all my range of motion, flexibility, strength, balance are all very good and stable. My posture though needs some tweaking and that was probably what led to the injury.

The shoulders round more forward than they should and the shoulder blade sticks out in the back more than they should (and I know that my posture has gotten better, but 20 months of being active doesn't undo decades of not being active). This, over time, has led to an imbalance in my muscles - I'm too tight in front and not strong enough in back - it is priming my shoulder for an injury as it can't rotate normally. Both shoulders and it's probably causing some impingement issues.

Then, I did have that injury. What I also found is that a lot of the other problems I sometimes get - tingling in the right pinky, carpel tunnel liking pains in the forearm are all caused by the shoulder problem. Basically, my nerve is impinged is part of the problem, but when I wrenched my shoulder I injured one of the heads of the biceps which runs through the same path as the nerve and since that opening is already being squeezed wrongly, that biceps head hasn't had a chance to heal. Lastly, there is a possibility of a tear in my lakrum. That can only be discovered with an MRI. If it's bad, it might need surgery, but it is probably small if it is there at all. We'll see soon enough.

All this time my shoulder had only ached dully. However, after all those simple tests, my shoulder aches a lot. I did body pump tonight and found that it was aching more than usually and my forearm was aching more than usually - all that arm is just 'off', so going to the PT in the short run, stirred things up that were somewhat dormant.

Here's hoping things get better! For now I can keep doing what I'm doing for fitness and I'll be doing PT twice a week. I'm starting with some stretching exercises for the shoulders to correct my posture. And let me tell you, my back muscles are FEELING it!


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  2. Sometimes, we will not feel that there is something wrong with our body, until we went to see a doctor and undergo series of examinations. It was good that you decided to have an appointment with your physical therapist. With a proper exercise, I am sure your posture will be corrected in no time.

    ~Jaye Fiecke

  3. Good thing your husband insisted a visit to the physical therapist. At least you found out that you needed medication. Being in pain, whether physical or otherwise, really keeps us from finishing our daily routines. Well, I hope everything went well, Melissa. How are you now?