Holding my "before" favorite shirt after losing 125 pounds on my journey to better health.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Frozen Shoulder What??

   Over the past year or so I have been dealing with an interesting situation. I would go to reach for something with my left arm and pain would shoot down to my hand.  Wow, really bad pain. Then achy pain all the time. I was propping my arm up on a pillow at night. Wearing my hand braces and a shoulder brace at night. Ointments rubbed on it seemed to help a little. On the worse days I would take a couple of ibuprofen. (I try to not take anything for pain.)  I wondered if it was related to the surgeries I had years ago on my hands to release adhesions.  I also had surgery on my Right arm to release adhesion that had tacked and entrapped the nerves clear up into my shoulder.  The Dr. at that time felt that the left arm was not as bad so wait and watch.  Now this began. I kept trying to ignore it and eventually began noticing that I was not using that arm like I use to.  I was protecting it and it was becoming stiff.  Really stiff.  It got so I could not move my shoulder in some directions. Some directions were not as bad of a problem.  I couldn't lift it up from my side more than about 6 inches. I couldn't lift my grand baby. I couldn't lift anything with that arm.  Getting dressed and undressed  was not fun.  It was so frustrating. I finally decided I better get to the bottom of it. My family Dr. informed me that he thought it was arthritis and I probably needed Rotator Cuff surgery. (That's one of the reasons I had let it go on so long I didn't want surgery.)  I was not a happy girl. He took X-rays and sent me to an Orthopedic surgeon to hear the plan. The Ortho took one look at my X-rays and said, " just a little arthritis nothing to worry about right now." After watching my lack of range of motion he said you have, "Adhesive Capsulitis (frozen shoulder)"  The capsule of connective tissue thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint restricting movement.   Okay, now what do I do?  He told me that there are stages to the syndrome and that it usually gets better over time.  There are three stages: Freezing Stage, Frozen Stage, and Thawing Stage. He said from my examination that I was going from Frozen Stage into Thawing Stage. He gave me a list of exercises to do with that arm. With a word of caution to go very slow and not inflame it. It is going to be a challenge because I have taught myself to guard and protect that shoulder. Now I am to gently push and pull my arm  slowly to unfreeze it. This may sound like a frustrated post but when I heard that diagnoses and that I (probably) don't need surgery I just about danced out of his office. This is something I know how to fix. I will recover! There is no reason why this syndrome decided to visit me at this time. I have always had a little bit of residual weakness in that arm and shoulder.  There is nothing I could have done to stop the progression or speed up the stages. It just takes time. Complete return to normal or close to normal strength and motion typically during the Thaw Stage  takes from 6 months to 2 years.  The most important thing is to not injure the shoulder. I will just continue doing my group of exercises and hope that the Thawing Stage goes fast. (Maybe the hot summer in St. George will speed it along?)

No comments:

Post a Comment