Friday, June 24, 2011

Got Bumped?

I have been having some problems with my left shoulder for a couple of years now. I could not tell you what triggered the whole thing but it has been a hell of journey.

It started as tendonitis and bursitis. That in and of itself bugs me as these are both symptoms that Drs. like toss out there like they are a diagnosis. Tendonitis simply means inflammation of a tendon, likewise bursitis means inflammation of the bursa. I always ask my patients what caused the inflammation? Over use? Poor bio-mechanics? Trauma? I wish I had an answer.

Eventually my shoulder simply started to seize up, the up side of this was the tendonitis and bursitis eventually settled down (it turns out if you can't get enough range of motion to use the involved tendon and bursa they become far less angry) the down side of this is really poor range of motion and therefore a decrease in overall function.

I started treatment with the easy stuff, chiropractic and massage therapy. When those things did not work I tried acupuncture and did a spiritual workshop in an attempt to hear what my body was trying to tell me with all this pain and dysfunction. I have worked with people and their bodies for 15 years and in that time have learned so very much, I understand that pain is not just physical but that it can be emotional as well. I see many patients that I believe get something they need out of their pain experience and I wanted to explore the idea of this being the root of my shoulder dysfunction. I wanted to know if there were emotions in my life I had chosen to ignore until they decided to make themselves known with physical pain. With all this work I had still come up with no answers and no relief.

As I traveled this road of treatment protocols my thoughts have always been of working from the least invasive treatments and gradually into more invasive treatments if the less invasive stuff did not work. At this point the next up was seeing a pain specialist who injected lidocaine into the joint space to numb the entire shoulder and have Paul attempt to move my shoulder through the range of motion and break up some of the scar tissue thereby increasing my range of motion, breaking the pain cycle and putting me on the road to recovery. No go. In fact we were never able to numb the shoulder enough to increase the range of motion more that maybe 10 degrees, and that improvement only lasted days.

Next up was cortisone injections, some would put this under less invasive than the last procedure, but in fact the long term damage from cortisone shots can be quite severe. Most medical practitioners do not use cortisone as it is meant to be used. The idea of cortisone is to turn off the pain response so you can rehab an injury. Today most Drs. use the shot as the treatment protocol by itself and leave the rehab portion out, I believe this is one of the reasons why some Drs. find themselves giving cortisone shots every six months or so for the same injury. They have in essence used the cortisone to shut down the pain, but have not taken any advantage of that period of pain relief to change the function of the injury they are treating. The cortisone did give me temporary pain relief but by this time I had so much scar tissue in the shoulder my range of motion was very poor and limited my rehab, so this was an unsuccessful treatment protocol for me. I have wondered if it may have worked if I had been less stubborn and tried it before I lost so much function.

This has left me with no options except surgery. Over a year ago I saw a surgeon who said I was one of the worst cases of frozen shoulder he has ever seen and that I was indeed a surgical candidate. He put me on his wait list.

A year and a bit later and I had my surgical date. Until yesterday I was scheduled for surgery Wednesday June 29th. Yesterday I got the dreaded phone call from the surgeons office. I got bumped! After all the planning, organizing and time booked off work I got bumped!

I should not be so dramatic, I am very lucky that only got bumped a week. My new date is for July 6th. I am so thankful that I am not the emergency that someone had to bumped for, I am thankful that I got bumped only week and not three months. I am thankful for the fact that they tell me they are not allowed to bump me again.

Random photo: I was downloading the pictures off of PJ's camera for her and came across this one, they clearly took this one of themselves. I love it, it made me smile so big I thought I would share it with all of you. That is PJ, Paul's mom Judy and Paul 's sister Jodie. Aren't they beautiful!


dwgnldy said...

I had my frozen shoulder surgery in my left shoulder done a few years ago. I finally went in when the pain got so bad I'd drop to my knees in tears.

I called the doctor on Thursday, had the MRI Friday and was in surgery a week later. I didn't have time to ponder or worry about the operation. I was supposed to have the surgery at 10:00 and they called and said there was a cancellation could I come in immediately and have it done at 8:00. Of course I jumped at that offer. I was still filling out insurance papers when they were inserting the IV. I signed the paper, they put me on the funny little table and that's all I remember. Today, I have full range of motion in that shoulder and it's completely pain free.

My right shoulder's been painful for almost two years now. Since I didn't have medical insurance, surgery was out of the question. A small % of women start seeing a decline and reversal of the frozen shoulder after 15 months. Yep, this on has eased and it's not nearly as painful but I'm contributing it to a fall last year which forced my shoulder backward and upward. I think it just bought me some time to decide when I want the surgery.

PT for me was 9 weeks and I really beat the crap out of the shoulder with my exercises. It was worth the pain and discomfort.

Good luck kiddo! I hope you get the surgery soon. It will really make all the difference in the world.

Shannon said...

I'm glad that your surgery was only bumped a week. I hope it goes well. I had lost some range of motion in one of my shoulders. I found working out with weights really helps and I have full range back and never had much pain.

Wudas said...

Does anyone see a pattern here? Brown family women with shoulder problems? Is it because they all push themselves or is it a family genetic thing. I have a completely different body type than dwgnldy but have two bad shoulders. PT helped me with them both. I do not have full range of motion in either but it's not too bad. And I no longer have any pain. But I'm more careful now.