You may remember that last year about this time, I was unable to lift my right arm more than about ten cm without great pain. I tried several chiropractic treatments, lots and lots of massage therapy, and then finally, dry needling (also known as intramuscular stimulation, a close cousin to acupuncture) and physiotherapy.
The dry needling was what ended up working for my wonky shoulder, which, by the way, was never actually properly diagnosed as anything. At first, they thought it was bursitis. Then they thought it was my rotator cuff. Then they suspected frozen shoulder. Then they weren’t sure, since I didn’t have all the major signs of frozen shoulder – mainly that my shoulder wasn’t actually frozen. I could move it, but it hurt like hell. So the final guess was that I probably had something “similar” to frozen shoulder.
And for the past month or so, I’ve been having a little trouble with that shoulder again. Some days it would really hurt to move it in certain positions, some days it would hurt only when I first woke up in the morning, some nights it would throb as I lay in bed, some nights it hurt quite sharply when I attempted to roll over in bed. It’s been kind-of inconsistent, but enough to make me wonder whether the whole thing was starting again.
Both DD and PG told me, in no uncertain terms, to get myself back to the physiotherapist or the massage therapist or the chiropractor or the doctor or SOMEONE right smartly. I’m pretty sure that they just didn’t want to hear me whine and complain any more, but I kept thinking it would work itself out. It did get a bit better, but as I said before, the pain was inconsistent, so I finally called the physio clinic.
My appointment was today. The physio who’d done such a great job on me last spring is currently on maternity leave, so I had a guy called Kevin. He checked my shoulder carefully (with his frickin’ COLD hands!) and decided that a little more dry needling was in order to release a few muscles. Unfortunately, one of those muscles was in my armpit, so I was in the somewhat uncomfortable position of having some man that I’d just met stick his COLD hands in my right armpit, try to somehow grab onto a knotted up muscle in there, then stick a wee needle in and wiggle it around to release the tightness in that muscle. Fun times. It’s a sensitive area and it kinda hurt.
My armpit is still blotchy red in spots and I wouldn’t be surprised if I spy bruises there tomorrow. The places where Kevin was grasping me are achy, and the muscles around my shoulder feel like they’ve certainly been put through their paces. The areas where he put the needles in are just fine so far, though. Kevin’s technique seems to be a little different than my previous physio’s – but if I get full, pain-free range of motion back in my shoulder again, I’m perfectly fine with any different technique!
Kevin also prescribed a couple of shoulder stretches that he’d like me to do a couple of times a day to speed up my recovery. But it’s a bit too uncomfortable to do any of them right now, so I don’t think I’ll be able to tell if my shoulder is back to normal for a couple more days yet. Instead, I think I’m going to throw a hot water bottle in my armpit and go to bed … and let’s hope I don’t flop over on it in my sleep and pop the damn thing!