Letting My Body Down

Letting My Body Down May 4, 2020

In February 2019, during the extreme recovery aftermath of Hurricane Michael I began some experiencing pain in the right side of my neck and shoulder. The neck pain I attributed, in part, to arthritis and having to turn my head a certain way to see at a distance with a pair of glasses that had been incorrectly filled and fitted and I had not been able to go back to the optometric shop to get them redone since the storm. My shoulder was painful at certain angles, too, but seemed to improve with rest. My doctor advised that I might have some inflammation or a small rotator cuff tear that might heal on its own. So we’d give it rest and see. So, a year later I was finding it getting worse, not better, and by April 2020 I was losing more and more range of motion with my right arm due to shoulder pain. It was even waking me at night sometimes. I was dreading having to see an orthopedist. I do not have time for surgery and lengthy recovery. But finally I was having to accept that it was not getting better on its own. I would have to face whatever was at work in the shoulder and neck.

This week I saw Dr. Noble. After x-rays, he came to examine my neck and shoulder. I was surprised when he said I had two things going on and neither was especially serious. What? The neck issue was the result of some age-related degenerative arthritis, but nothing more than might be expected and only in the bottom two cervical discs. Okay. That’s a relief. The shoulder? No rotator cuff tear. No shoulder problem at all, actually, but a bound up trapezoid muscle across the back! A hard-as-a-rock knot in the muscle that is causing shoulder impingement syndrome, limiting my arm’s mobility. Too much lifting, shoving, and other strenuous activity and stress over the last nineteen months! After the examination he said my strength and range of motion, reflexes and neurological responses were all very good. All of that was a relief.

I had visited a massage therapist fairly regularly at FUSION for several years until she closed her practice to go to nursing school and then the hurricane hit, decimating FUSION’s facility in October 2018. The therapist there always had to work out a knot in that right upper trapezoid muscle. It was the focal point of all my tension. I was also prone to periodic muscle spasms in the right side of my back. Her work kept me flexible and relaxed. Then, too, I was also doing once a week stretching mat exercises with a Christian group of friends until our leader had knee surgery in October 2019. That, too, had kept me going. I had not realized how much until the orthopedist’s diagnosis this week. Now I am facing six weeks of physical therapy to get my shoulder and arm dis-impinged.

I thought my body was letting me down. In fact, it seems, I was letting my body down. I think that is often the case. We fail to give our bodies the care and support they require and they let us know by showing us what happens as a result……. repetitive use injuries, dis-ease conditions that are clearly the result of our habits, neglect and abuse.