(I will try to update this more often. I am feeling well and able to sleep and do most things as normal. I would say I'm almost 80% recovered.)
This time last year I was in agony. I would fall to the floor crying in pain just from a slight bump or jarring into something. I tried to pull the trunk of my car closed and almost passed out in the garage. My children didn't understand why I was crying all the time, or why I was always in a bad mood.
Ever heard of FROZEN SHOULDER SYNDROME?
Nope? Me either. But guess what? It's fairly common. Especially in white women, over 40, and more likely in breast cancer victims. Read my first post about my pain and experience with the medical profession HERE.
I can't believe I have gotten to a point where I am functional again. I'm sleeping again. I'm almost better. But it hasn't been easy, or instant. It's been a journey of excrutiating pain, sleeplessness, fear, and then getting to a point of realizing that a doctor cannot help me without hurting me more. That is when I had to let go and believe that I would heal myself.
I don't like doctors anyway. So it was easy for me to tell the googly eyed orthopaedic surgeon NO I don't want to go under anesthetic and let you rip the tissue in my arm and possibly injure me worse (broken bones, torn muscles, more therapy and worse). I have an irrational fear of being put under already, and I can only imagine how that would've played out in the OR.
So I said NO and I moved on. I was still in pain, but the weeks of physical therapy I'd endured had given me a hope. I improved 20% with physical therapy. But I wasn't improving fast enough. They want you in and out and on your way! The thing that really gave me hope was that I saw others getting better. I learned all the exercises and I knew I could do them at home.
Things to purchase: an exercise ball - perfect for stretching out that shoulder. I got mine on Amazon for about $10 with a pump. Tennis balls - good for pushing on the wall with your shoulder.
I also purchased a little machine that is supposed to help warm up the inside of your muscles. I only used it a few times because it was hard to do without another person to do it for you. Still hoping to use it in the future.
What I think really helped me get past the pain is VITAMIN D. I have no degrees behind my name, I am speaking from my own experience. I could see a correlation between lack of sunlight/limited movement and PAIN/limited extension. Get some sun every time it comes out. Sit in the window, the garage (to block wind etc.), put your head out the car window...make time for sunshine. And research Vitamin D and how much you can take. If you are deficient you can take high quantities for quite some time. Your doctor can even test you!
My last post was written in April 2011 when I had just decided to not have the surgery and I was still in pain. I would say that my pain truly subsided from a very high 10 to a 7 by the end of May. I was still stiff, I could still feel the pulling pain that was causing me to not want to move, but the knife plunging, gut wrenching, lightning strike pain was subsiding.
It is now January 2012 and I have to offer you HOPE if you're reading this. It will get better. You will recover yourself. I'm not 100 percent recovered. I can lift my arm over my head now. But I cannot move my arm out to the side like I used to. I still have to be careful that I don't do something to cause pain. My arm still falls asleep while I'm sleeping. But I'm sleeping better than I have in the past 5 years put together! (From November 2010 to March 2011 I was only getting a few minutes of sleep at a time).
More thoughts on FROZEN SHOULDER:
Once you've had this, you can get it again. You're more prone to it. Avoid this by staying active, getting sunshine and taking your vitamins.
If you work on a computer you are at risk. Computer work keeps you sedentary, inside, and you can get stiff. (My shoulder is stiff right now and achy). Move around a lot and stretch. Don't just sit there.
Talk about it. Tell everyone what you are going through. I was just chatting with a homeschooling gal I have recently met, telling her I was recovering from Frozen Shoulder. She looked at me and said "I have that". What? I would never have known if I hadn't mentioned it slightly. Now I can help her!
Try glucosomine condroitin. It's good for joints. I didn't try it, but I would if I had to do it again.
Maybe try a lamp that mimics the sun. The sunlamps are over $100 but if you live in a cold climate I think it would be helpful.
I met a lady at therapy who had just had a mastectomy and got frozen shoulder. If you are in pain and can't move it will cause your muscles to tighten and stop working. Try to get past the pain. I don't think the cortisone shots are a good idea, but might help in the short term.
Pain killers didn't work for me at all. Heat or cold packs work quite well.
Research Research Research Research Research Research Research Research! Keep searching for an answer.