Stretching and dragons

Today I was back in my comfort zone – with “my” PT.

We did the usual exercises and he was happy with the ROM I have kept and some I have gained. Next week we will add strength training.

 

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My shoulder shows big improvement on internal & external rotation and when I stretch my arms over my head, I am only three fingers width away from touching the table behind me.

I also can feel a significant difference in the movement of my shoulder blade. Yay!

 

One way to help go through tough exercises was talking about the new season of “game of thrones”. Time flew by and I was distracted from pain. Win win situation.

 

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I also can lay in full “superman position” on the floor, stretching both arms straight out. I am not sure where this will get me in life, but it’s good to know.

 

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As so in real life…

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My nights are very mixed lately. I either sleep really good, then a few nights super bad and then so so. No real reason for it.

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For the moment I am supposed to keep doing the same exercises as I have done so far. Some 3x a day, some 2x a day.

 

So far, so good. I am content with the progress.

 

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First prize for “most bizarre” PT goes to…

My  PT couldn’t make it today and I was reschedule with another guy who I never had before. He was a young guy, nice; but the session was in one word – awkward.

 

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Started off by him not knowing what injury, leave alone “body part” I am even there for. He admitted, he has not been filled in and when he asked how I usually start, I told him “with the pulley”. Answer: “ah, frozen shoulder”. Bingo. One step closer.

 

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After my pulley warm up he was nowhere to be found and once I finally saw him, he was excellent at not making eye contact and busying himself with other patients, which was getting on my nerves.

I understand PT’s get several patients at the same time and run forth and back but it just did not seem efficient that he was sitting next to an old lady, who had an icepack on her leg, doing small talk, while I am waiting around and wasting time.

I did as many stretches on my own as I could but there are some I just need a PT for and that’s the reason why I am going there in the first place.

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After 25 minutes of absolutely nothing happening, my patience was running real low. If he would not have shown up for another five minutes, I would have left and make a stink about it. Luckily for him, he showed up.

He apologized for the delay but said he got several patients on top of his, so he is scrambling. (Hm, each time I saw him, he looked pretty chilled, but whatever.)

 

Anyways, he really had no idea what kind of stretches to do, how many reps, nothing. I told him to check in my file but he didn’t, so I guided him through the exercises.

 

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He liked my  ROM  and said for having a frozen shoulder since 5 months I am doing really good but also asked me “if I am not a bit young for having this.”

(I swear, a dollar for each time I hear this….  I have lost count how many times I have heard this in the last six years, also during my three hip surgery recoveries. People always act like I signed up for all of this.)

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In general the stretches he did on/ with me were the same as my usual  PT  does but he put his own twist on it and I mean “twist”. At some point he stretched my R arm across the chest so far that I told him “you do know that the goal is stretching – not unpopping the shoulder, right??”

He also had the tendency to bounce the deep stretches, complete with the soundtrack “bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce!” to it. Now I know “frozen shoulder & bouncing” should never be in one sentence.

 

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As one of the last exercises, I told him to help me stretch the muscles around my shoulder blade, which love to be super extra tight. He had never done this before and looked at me like I am from planet Mars.

He then tried and failed…. to find my shoulder blade. While he was on his search party, I had to give him directions (!) where to look for it. I mean, coooome on! It was so awkward that I asked him in all seriousness if he really is a PT.

And once he found it, he did really weird moves with it. It seemed real clumsy.

 

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I have no idea what my night will be like, could be one for the books again since he not only stretched but overstretched me.

Hopefully next time my usual  PT  is back. I never have good experiences getting shoved into some other PT’s schedule. In case that’s the case again in the future, it’s a “thanks but no thanks” from me.

 

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Zombie nights

I guess my good night sleep spell is over.

My PT up-ed the abduction exercises from 5x/ twice a day to 10x/ twice a day and ever since I am back at having night pain; my shoulder, arm and shoulder blade area is aching like there is no tomorrow.

 

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I am fine during the day but nights are crappy.

There is hardly any sleep, I can not find a comfortable position for my shoulder and arm and it’s not restful. I told my PT about it and we went back to 5x/ twice a day but I still can not sleep well, leave alone sleep through.

 

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Yesterday was my day off from anything PT related, to give my muscles a rest. Rest is as important as using your muscles. It gives them time to restore.

I hope it did the trick and I can find some sleep again.

 

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OS & PT

 

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At my orthopedic surgeons office the nurse asked me how my shoulder is. I told her “much better. Not there yet but getting there.”

Then she wanted to know how  PT  is working for me and I said “good, it really helps me.” She looked really surprised and said “that’s great but….that’s not what we usually get to hear.” This made her day.

My  OS  was happy with the progress as well.

 

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To be equal to my good side I am missing 26 degrees in flexion, 40 degrees in abduction and quite a bit in the back. Think “trying to reach your bra” and your hand gets stuck in no man’s land near the height of your jeans pockets. That still needs  A  TON  of work and attention.

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For only doing  PT  since three weeks, he is super happy with the progress and even hinted at possibly going solo after completing my six week program with a home program. PT  is really worth it but paying each visit out of pocket, three times a week, is not very budget friendly.

I will do what they tell me to do but if I have reached that point when I can continue at home, I will do so. On the evaluation paper my  PT  had even written “the patient is extremely dedicated to home program.”

 

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At  PT  itself I first was asked by another patient, who was laying on the table next to me, what I was there for. He himself is in it for a rotator cuff tear. When I told him “frozen shoulder”, he said “that’s not so bad”. Oooookay.

 

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I always love it when people compare two different kind of injuries and then tell me “it’s not so bad.” Is it as bad as my hip fracture last year? No. It sucks in a different way but that still does not mean I am having a blast. An injury is an injury.

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My PT checked with me how my appointment went and was glad my OS was happy. One big happy family there.

We repeated the same exercises as always and I gained another degree on flexion and 4 degrees on external ration since the day before yesterday. It’s the little things in life.

 

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I still have a lot of problems with my tight pec minor muscle and if that is tight, it will pull the shoulder blade out of position, ergo the shoulder blade can not slide correctly which also means, the shoulder does not function properly. Ugh.

 

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Or viewed in a more positive light, when the capsule gets more elastic, the shoulder blade will glide better or vice versa – whatever happens first. Till then, I keep stretching.

 

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PT – more of the same

Good news first – I am sleeping better these days and my posterior range of motion is improving. I can reach my left hip with my “right” hand behind my back again. Everything is just better when you slept well the night before.

 

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At PT we did the same exercises as last time. I learnt two new ones, one for flexion against the wall and the other one for abduction against the wall.

 

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“Facing” the wall and sliding up, as much as I can is okay but “sideways” is difficult and much more restricted. I should try 10 of each every day and see how that goes.

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Because my first follow up appointment with my OS is coming up, since I started PT, my  ROM  was measured.

I made  BIG  improvements since I started three weeks ago and even though the progress is slower now, it’s still steady. Gained another two degrees on my flexion compared to two days ago but overall I am still 20 degrees short, compared to my good side.

 

Meh!

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So I guess my least favorite exercise at PT will stick with me for a while. And if I say “least favorite”, I am being kind.

It is really tough when my PT flexes my arm as much as he can, preferably next to my ear and pushes it gently but firmly down 20 times. And each time a bit deeper as before! At the beginning it does not feel great but each time gets tougher while the last few ones are just sheer brutal.

 

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I am still waiting for the big crack, to feel better, but it’s never coming. You know when sometimes your elbow feels funny, and once you bend and crack it, it feels better? That’s what I am waiting for. In vain.

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My PT said I am making really good progress and with my discipline and good work ethics, showing up three times a week and doing my exercises 3x/ day at home, he is confident, I will make a speedy and full recovery. Music to my ears.

 

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I never had anything with my shoulder before but this really taught me some respect for this joint and I also have more sympathy and empathy for people who have shoulder problems from now on.

 

 

Who can all relate to the picture of Leonardo??

 

Back to reality

Back from vacation, grinding it out. Literally.

 

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My PT was happy seeing me back and we did the usual exercises. A lot of stretching, pulling and pushing of the shoulder, my shoulder blade got some love to slide better and I got to do two new exercises.

 

He also measured me and was pleasantly surprised. I did not only keep my current, overall ROM, I added one degree.

In his experience, most people don’t do their exercises on vacation and lose half their ROM. I kept up with them and got a bonus degree on top of it. Sweet.

A lady on the table next to me looked at me with an open mouth and asked “you actually do the exercises at home??” Well, yeah… isn’t that the point?

 

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I also noticed that my shoulder and its muscles felt way loser in a warm place. On vacation I had more ROM and back home, where it had 26 F, everything got nice and tight again. Not cool.

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Before I left, I got an invitation. A woman snuck up on me from behind and  whispered in my ear – an invitation for “the biggest day of the year.” (Creepy…)

Honestly – I had no idea what that meant, so I asked. The lady looked at me in a very puzzled way and repeated it “the most important day of the year is coming up!”

I still had no idea what she meant till she dropped a flyer into my lap and swooshed out the door…. an invitation to her church for Easter service. Aha.

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Now I have a day off till we start all over again on Wednesday.

 

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Month 4 of my frozen shoulder

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I have now three weeks of physical therapy under my belt, another three are scheduled and then we’ll go from there. PT usually comes in six week kind of blocks.

I can already see differences in my shoulder. Some I am thrilled about, others I hardly see any improvement.

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Good news first – FLEXION, is really coming along! It was modern day torture getting there but I am almost at where I should be. I can now reach my cabinets again, maybe not as fast reaching up as with the good shoulder, but I can.

 

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EXTERNAL ROTATION – BIG  improvement. Also almost back to normal.

At least I can now rest my hand comfortably next to me on the pillow at night again. On good days I also “can” relax my hand on the matress again but not for long.

 

This is the position I mean and the kind of sleep I envy the little one for.

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ABDUCTION is somewhat better, but not by much. For some reason my PT concentrates more on flexion. I asked him about it, if we also will work on abduction and he said “to a certain degree”. Huh??

 

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I would not mind getting range of motion on that side back too.

We do work on it but somehow he puts more emphasis into flexion and I have not received a single home exercise for abduction in three weeks. Just saying…

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GOING ACROSS THE CHEST still needs some love, like so….

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….and anything  REACHING BEHIND ME  is more or less the same as when I started. That said – I was told  with adhesive capsulitis, the capsule is always tighter in the back and the posterior movements will come back last.

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Another good news – I am not getting those evil zingers anymore. Sometimes I get them borderline but that’s about it. So I am guessing I am in the “frozen stage”.

I still get referring pain though and that’s a real bitch when not only my shoulder is aching but my biceps down to my elbow, sometimes all the way down my arm, the area of my shoulder blade or on real special days – everything at once.

Living the dream.

 

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Sleeping is still a challenge because of night pain, but I think I have found a good solution for getting more relief of resting pain and better quality sleep.

Propping up my arm on two pillows at night! Pillows – my new bff’s!!!

 

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To finish up, here are pictures which show my progress since last month.

 

March vs. April

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