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2:45pm on Thursday, 17th November, 2005:

Shoulder Update


It's over a month since I was referred by my doctor to a physiotherapist about my bad shoulder. Well, that's what the doctor told me he was doing — I haven't actually heard from any physiotherapist yet, despite assurances that it should take no longer than two weeks. Huh.

Last week, my shoulder took a turn for the worse. It wasn't just the shoulder any more, it was my whole upper arm. I was waking up 2 or 3 times every night with the pain, it was so bad. I held out, hoping that the physiotherapist's call would come soon, but no such luck.

Yesterday, I got so desperate I decided to try some physiotherapy on myself.

I felt around my left shoulder (as best I could — I could barely touch my left shoulder with my right) and formed a mental impression of what it should be like, then I felt around my right shoulder to see what was different. I identified a lump near the back that wasn't there on my left arm, and a matching nearby cavity. Gritting my teeth, I pushed at the lump to try get it into the hole.

The relief was profound and immediate. Absolutely staggering. The pain went, and I felt a freedom in my arm that I'd been missing for maybe a fortnight. I managed to get a full night's sleep without waking up once.

I still have the original problem in my shoulder, of course. It's clear to me, though, that it's the same kind of problem: a muscle has got out of place. The muscle I put back yesterday had slipped into where this problematic muscle is supposed to go, and all that needs to be done is to put that one back and I'll be fine.

If I hold my arms out, nailed-to-a-cross style, Iit's easy to see the problem. My left arm has one muscle tensed at the shoulder, with dents either side of it; my right shoulder has a big lump of a muscle with no dents. It's so obvious that it's annoying my doctor didn't spot it when I went to see him, and instead gave me tablets to reduce an inflammation I don't have. It looks the kind of thing a physiotherapist will take one look at, and either massage it back into place or give me a weight and tell me to swing my arm a certain way so it pops back itself.

If I ever hear from a physiotherapist...

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).