In the beginning
You lift a weight, pick up something heavier than you would normally, your arm compensating so it's at a weird angle. Soon you notice a twinge, increasingly it deteriorates until you've put it off for months. The thought of going to get it checked is just a bother. Until you realise if you can't change the gear shift in the car it's probably not going to get better.
Getting it checked out
Off you go, physio once a week, it takes 3 days to get passed the pain it puts you in, but you've waited too long and now you're serious about sorting it out. Religiously, you do your exercises because in ignoring it you've put yourself in this position. Or have you?
The shoulder is a full on injury now. You can't sleep at night, you can't use the arm at all, the discomfort is now out right pain. You decide to try something new, dry needling, apple cider vinegar, supplement after supplement, nothing, nothing works. Take a break, stop moving it, doesn't help, but doesn't make it worse.
It's a what?
'I've had one like that', 'a friend of mine had a frozen shoulder too'. A what? Frozen shoulder... Noooo, no, no,no. Not me. This is an injury. Ok, now this is serious, let's see a specialist. Scans, 'bursitis with calcific foci...'. Oh yes there is, it is an injury. Maybe all I need is a steroid injection? Check out the research, oh gawd not a great success rate and may weaken the tissue, hmmm, no definitely want something with better odds than that.
Let's see what the specialist says about my injury, I have a couple of weeks to get some positive movement before the appointment, so let's get stuck into some supplements. Magnesium to encourage tissue to reabsorb calcium, anti-inflammatory (natural of course) in the form of a supplement with Salix alba (natural aspirin), and keep up my fish oils. Keep up the rehab, the pain ebbs back to discomfort, clearly exercise is not the go, ouch!
Off to the lovely specialist who we have a sporting connection to. Brief test and check the range of movement and pain, 'yes frozen shoulder'. No! Shut the gate!!! Bugger! Really? Are you sure? I do yoga every night? Are you sure.... groan.
So, what have I learnt?
I've learnt that;
1. The shoulder is the least most stable joint in the body.
2. If you have a niggle, be seen by a physio who specialises in shoulders.
3. If the treatment you get makes your shoulder worse, then stop, before you end up in capsulitis.
4. The supplements may have helped, but it's not definitive.
First it freezes, then it's considered 'frozen' and of course sometime down the track it begins to unfreeze (takes on average over 12 months). Luckily, I was on the down hill run at about 6 months. The specialist suggests that it's progressed through the stages quickly. One win. YAY!
What worked for me?
But my big find was Bowen treatment. Wow! It was the single treatment that has led to the biggest improvements. It seems to me that Bowen is about waking up a muscle and surrounding inflamed tissue to disperse inflammation.
At 7 months I'm getting good nights sleep, I can sleep on my back for a while now and partially on my tummy, I've almost got my arm range of movement to 90 degrees (from about 45) and the nerve pain down my arm is barely there. Bowen Therapy has been the relief of pain that I needed.
And, yes, perhaps when you get an injury you should have it seen to earlier than later and maybe, just maybe, S L O W D O W N . . .
Don't just settle for one treatment if you aren't getting the results. Do your research and be willing to try new things. Only you know your body and what it needs.
We all have a role to play in community health, the only question is how do we play this role? Through intelligent, evidence-based inquiry we can understand how to health coach to support others in taking on positive behaviour change.