We were hanging out in our library earlier today, me at the desk and DF sorting paperwork nearby. When he asked if I could hand him a pen, I did so without thinking.
Then: “Oh my gosh – look! It’s working!”
I was referring to my right shoulder and arm, which had been more or less immobilized and causing me a fair amount of pain (especially at night) for a while now. Some range-of-motion exercises were helping. But last week I couldn’t reach to the right to pick up a glass of iced tea sitting on the table by my chair. I had to turn my body and reach for it with my left hand.
So this is huge.
During my annual checkup at the end of January, the P.A. who cares for me had me move my arm and shoulder and asked if any progress had been made. Since the pain and immobility were decreasing, he didn’t see the need for anything like an MRI at that time.
Why get an incredibly expensive test just so an orthopedic specialist could tell me, “Hey, your shoulder doesn’t work”? Tell me something I don’t know.
Sure, I have insurance. But I figured there was no need to add to the problem of unnecessary tests/skyrocketing medical costs. The P.A. and I were on the same page: Keep doing the exercises and if it doesn’t continue to improve, come on back.
Slow progress beats no progress
For those of you who are having stiffness, pain or immobility with a shoulder, here are the exercises that are helping me: the University of Illinois Shoulder Care Guide and the Hunterdon Orthopaedic Institute (click on the link, scroll down to “shoulder” and then click on “frozen shoulder” – that will download a PDF of range-of-motion exercises).
Note: Your mileage may vary, as the source of the stiffness/pain could be something other than frozen shoulder. I’m not a doctor. See one if you think you should. I’m just saying what’s working for me.
So glad I kept it up. Next: Keep on keeping it up. It still hurts to reach out to the side, and I still can’t reach up over my head. If I slack off on the homegrown PT the progress will stop or, worse, reverse itself.
According to an orthopedic website I checked, it can take six months to two years for such cases to resolve. Frustrating, but I need to be patient: No machine runs for 56 years without some maintenance issues.