My shoulder has been bothering me for months. Many months. Maybe even years. I don’t even remember when I had full range of motion in that shoulder – perhaps a decade ago? But it wasn’t ever too debilitating, and I was easily able to compensate for the lack of movement.
Last summer, I started to develop stiffness and pain in my right hand. Oh, it would go away after I flexed my fingers a few times, but it came right back a couple of hours later. I was thinking that I had some arthritis happening in that hand, as it seemed to be worse in the mornings. PG was thinking that I was just playing with my phone too much (So I play Angry Birds a lot. What’s his point?!)
By the end of August, though, I’d had enough. These twinges of pain in my hand and shoulder, plus the lack of full mobility in the shoulder were starting to piss me off. I went in to see my chiropractor and explained what was happening to me.
He felt that my back and neck were out and there was likely pressure on a nerve. He adjusted me, gave me some exercises to do, and told me to come back in two days. The stiffness and pain in my hand diminished pretty much right away, so the pressure on the nerve seemed to be gone. My shoulder was still not moving properly, though.
I went back to the chiro three more times. Each time he adjusted my back and neck. He pronounced my back almost perfectly aligned at that point – but my shoulder still wasn’t right.
Even though he wanted me to come in one more time, I didn’t. I figured things weren’t changing a whole lot any more, so why spend the money. At least my hand was good again – and I could play Angry Birds to my heart’s content. (Take THAT, PG!)
But last week, I must have done something to that shoulder. I don’t recall any movement that was exceptionally hurty, but I must have pulled something, because by Thursday evening, I could not lift my arm more than a few inches without great pain. Try and wash your hair like that. Try and pull a t-shirt on or off. Try and roll over in bed!
Now I was worried. Had I broken my rotator cuff? Had my shoulder muscles actually detached? This was entirely new. This wasn’t just discomfort that I could work around, this was serious pain and serious lack of mobility. I needed serious help.
My physician only works two days a week at this point, so it was unlikely I could get in to see her (or even one of the other doctors in the clinic) within the week. I considered finding a physiotherapist or acupuncturist. I thought about going to the nearest walk-in clinic, or even to emergency at the local hospital. I finally decided to give the chiro one more try. He, at least, knew me and some of my medical history.
So there I was, in his examining room this afternoon. I brought him up to date, and he started off massaging the tight muscles down my back and neck. He cracked my back and neck – and said I’d “moved beautifully”. Then he started on my shoulder. He probed around and told me to tell him when it hurt. I SO told him! He asked a few questions, poked around again, moved my arm as much as it would go without pain, and made his pronouncement: bursitis. He manipulated my arm and shoulder some more, told me to ice it for about twenty minutes tonight, and showed me some stretches to do at home.
“It’ll hurt,” he warned, “but keep trying, little by little. It’s like a piece of leather in there: it needs to be gently stretched in order to get supple again.”
He also wants me to come back to see him on Wednesday. After that, he added, we should have the problem licked and I should have no more pain, so I shouldn’t have to come in again. Relief that fast? Yes, apparently so.
I am feeling better now that I know what I’ve got and how to treat it – but I’m also wondering why he couldn’t have just done this last August when I first came in complaining about my shoulder. Maybe I could have been spared some pain – and also saved some time and money – if he had paid more attention to my shoulder back then.