Injured List

Sometime last summer between Bikini Body Guide Week 13 and Healthy Body Guide Week 12 I injured my shoulder.  It hurt when I did those push-ups where you stick your butt up in the air, but I didn't think anything of it.  I was working out 5-6 days a week so there were always aches and pains.  I was sore for like two months straight, and my knees always hurt.  I can work through pain, and pain is all I thought it was.  After a while I stopped doing push-ups that hurt, and stuck with regular ones.  I figured maybe I'd just tweaked my arm somehow, and that it would eventually go away.

But it didn't. 

I did circuit training workouts with cardio in between from January through September.  As planned, I went to Hawaii in October feeling better about my body than I had in a long time.  When I returned, I settled into a less intense and less structured workout schedule.  I bought a Yoga strap and was excited about shifting my focus to Yoga, and working on my back flexibility, but by the end of November I could barely lift my purse.  Up until then, my shoulder only hurt when I did those butt in the air push ups (also known as pike push-ups), but suddenly I couldn't lift my arm, or reach for things, without a searing pain ripping through shoulder.  I couldn't sleep on my right side or my stomach.  All arm workouts ceased.  I couldn't even do yoga.

I have bad knees.  I can't overwork my lower half, so I cut down to walking and/or running on weekends one leg circuit training workout per week, until eventually I quit the one circuit too. The only thing I really felt comfortable doing without knowing what was wrong with my shoulder was walking, but also I was burnt out.  The weather was cooler, the days were getting shorter, and my Insomnia was bad so when my shoulder pain started to take over, I kind of gave up.  If I moved my arm a certain way, or even moved it too fast it hurt.  Even simple things like driving, opening doors, and lifting my arm to wave at someone hurt.  I couldn't even cuddle with my husband unless he is on my left hand side.  I'd started walking around with my elbow stuck to my side because that was the best way to ensure there would be no painful movements.

I went to the doctor in January and got sent home with a list of shoulder exercises.  I did them diligently every day, and my shoulder started to feel worse.  Then it started to feel better.  Then it started to feel worse.  I went back to the doctor and pushed for a referral to Orthopedics, because in my eyes, this was way past a wait and see situation.  I needed some answers.  Orthopedics sent me for an MRI in March which confirmed a tear in my Supraspinatus rotator cuff muscle.  Physical Therapy started in April. 

There are four rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder.  One along the top, two across the back, and one that runs up the side. That's the one I tore.  It affects abduction, so for me it's kind of like having a dead arm.  My arm feels about 50 times heavier than it actually is.  I actually feel gravity pushing against it whenever I activate my muscles to lift my arm.  Depending on the motion I either feel weakness or pain.  Sometimes it aches from my shoulder all the way to my collar bone with no movement, and other times I forget it's injured until I'm trying to pull up my covers while lying in bed or reaching over to hit the switch for the garage door on my way out. 

I wasn't sure how I was going to fit in my daily physical therapy exercises, but I make it work because a rotator cuff tear is not the kind of thing that will just go away on it's own.  I wish it would.  I do a set of exercises before work, a set when I get home, and the last set before I go to bed.  I do this every single day, because being injured sucks and I don't even want to think about having surgery.  At my last physical therapy appointment they added three additional exercises.  Two months later, there is some improvement, but it also seems to be up and down.  Some days are better than others.  I can sleep on my stomach now, which is pretty exciting, and less things are causing me pain throughout the day, but my arm is still not 100%.  Not even close.  It's very stiff in the mornings and getting in and out of shirts and sweaters still hurts.

I don't want this to turn into a chronic pain type of situation.  I want to handstands and bridges again.  I want to be able to do push ups, and as much as I love to hate it, I even want to do Bikini Body Guide again, but until then, I'll be in the corner working my therapy bands and over the door pulley system from the 1980's.  Last month I realized I'd be on vacation in a bikini in less than two months and had only been running on the weekends.  Oops.  So I started a no impact mostly abdominal/lower body toning workout I can do with only a few adjustments multiple times per week without moving my arms too much.

What a difference a year makes.

I still don't know know why or how, but the cuff is torn.  I'm being careful with my shoulder.  I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing and hopefully the physical therapy does what it's supposed to be doing and I'll be using that Yoga strap in the not so distant future.


Catherine Gacad said...

i am so sorry you're going through this pain and hoping it will heal quickly!!!

Faith said...

Awww, so sad to read this. I know how much you had been working out and I'm sure it was becoming part of your routine.

I hope it heals completely and that you won't need shoulder surgery.