The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

RSS feeds: v0.91; v1.0 (RDF); v2.0; Atom.

Previous entry. Next entry.

1:20pm on Thursday, 9th April, 2009:

Not Learning


A boy comes running home from school one day, smiling happily. "Mum, mum!" he says, "I don't have to go to school ever again! Teacher said she couldn't teach me anything!"

Yesterday, I was kicked out of shoulder class.

I'd been suspicious for some time that the exercises I'd been given were doing more harm than good, and that the physiotherapist was not paying sufficient attention to notice. For example, one excruciating exercise involved putting my arm flat against a wall then turning away so as to stretch my pectoral muscles. Unfortunately, my arm won't go flat against a wall because of the problem with the shoulder, and turning away from it causes agony. Worse, my pecs aren't in need of stretching anyway — it's not tightness there that is pulling my shoulder forward, it's just that it won't go back.

Anyway, after yet again doing an exercise that causes one of the muscles on the front of my shoulder to swell up (it'll go down tomorrow), I suggested to the physiotherapist that perhaps its intended aim (strengthening some muscles on the side of my ribcage) was being met at a cost beyond its worth.

The physiotherapist finally had another look at my shoulder and concluded that one of the exercises might be helping a little, but the rest were either a waste of time or counter-productive. I was expecting him to draw up a new set of exercises that would address my actual complaint instead of the one he'd imagined I had.

That's not what happened.

What happened was that he informed me he'd read a new piece of research 2 days earlier, as part of a module for a part-time MSc he's doing, which suggested that patients with frozen shoulders would get better faster if they received no treatment but tried not to use their arm too much. Apparently, the reason frozen shoulders persist is inflammation, and messing about with them by doing exercises and so on merely stokes the inflammation and makes them take longer to heal.

Hmm, that's not what happened with my right shoulder, though.

I told the physiotherapist that I thought this research would prove a great boon to physiotherapists who had no idea how to treat their patients: go home and it'll cure itself. The word "flinch" was invented to describe his reaction.

I secured from him an appointment 2 months from now, on the grounds that I didn't believe his view that things would be better by then. He was unable to refuse, because then he would have appeared to contradict his statement that I'd be fine. I, however, wanted some assurance that if things did get worse I wouldn't have to go to my regular doctor and begin the whole process of getting referred again.

Having done this, the physiotherapist did a little bit of paperwork and told me to go home.

So, after all that my shoulder didn't learn a thing at shoulder class.

Referenced by The World in 2011.

Latest entries.

Archived entries.

About this blog.

Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).