Wednesday, June 18, 2014

State of the Shoulder

I won't lie, I'm a little down.  I joined a 3-week challenge that started last week, and despite the allure of points and knitting-related prizes, I haven't been doing that great.  Mainly because I haven't been working out.  Part of it is because I haven't been sleeping that well (which is odd) and of part of it is because I've been down about my shoulder.

With physical therapy, I've been doing a bit better.  My range of motion has improved and I've strengthened the muscles around my shoulder to stabilize it better.  Last Wednesday I went to Masters swimming for the first time in a few months.  It was so great to be back in the pool, but I paid for it.  I swam in the slower lane, and swam last so I could take my time.  I got out of the pool early, but I still did too much, I guess.  All day, my shoulder was stiff and sore, and I wound up with a really bad headache as the soreness crawled up my neck and into my head.

The next morning I went to pt and my therapist spent about a half hour working on my super tight traps and neck muscles to try to get them to release.  By the time I left, my headache was finally going away, but I was still miserable at my failed swimming experiment.  Later that day, I met with the orthopedic PA and he gave me a cortisone shot.

The idea of a cortisone shot scared me to death.  I mean, doesn't the idea of a shot in your joint sound horrifying?  But it was seriously no big deal.  Over the weekend I felt a bit sore at the injection site, but I gradually realized my regular pain had lessened.  Except for this one pinpoint on the front of my shoulder.  I went to physical therapy yesterday and my therapist poked around the sore spot and explained that it's the convergence of a muscle and a tendon and sometimes that tendon can get frayed or ripped. If that’s the case, tendons don't heal on their own and surgery is the only option.

Yesterday I was sore from the piddly little weight exercises they have me do at pt.  So I skipped Masters this morning because I didn't want to aggravate my shoulder any further and have a repeat of last week.

I'm seeing the PA again in about 2 weeks.  If I'm not seeing significant improvement, the next step is an MRI to see if there is a tear.

I’m trying not to think too much about surgery until it's an actual possibility.  Apparently it can take 6-12 months for full recovery.

I'm just really sad.  Swimming has always been the one thing I’ve loved and never got tired of. 

So in the meantime, I think what I need to do right now is focus on strength training.  My gym has all of the weight machines, and thanks to pt, I’m pretty aware of what my shoulder can and can’t handle. At least I can lift heavy with my legs.  I don't love it, and it doesn't give me the endorphin buzz like swimming, but it's what I can handle right now.

Also, I need to walk.  If I could walk 3 miles a day, or most days, that might get rid of some of this excess energy I have balled up inside of me that's keeping me from getting to sleep at a decent hour.

1 comment:

Laura Llew said...

I am so sorry about your shoulder! That sounds painful and frustrating.

I've been out since February 1st with an injury, and have just been able to weight train. Once I got into it, I really grew to love it. Seriously, it's awesome. Why have I not been doing this from day 1?

I've still be able to lose weight too - even while doing NO cardio.

So, I encourage you to just give it a chance and stick with it. Don't dwell on what you can't do (which is what I did for months.)

The important thing for me was getting on a plan rather than just walking in the gym and figuring out what I was going to do that day. (There are a ton of programs out there. I've done a couple of free ones on

Good luck, and I hope you feel better soon!