The Joys of Physical Therapy

Three weeks ago I began therapy for my shoulder to strengthen it following surgery for a torn rotator cuff.   I go two times a week and each week brings new exercises along with incredible sensations inside the shoulder.  Then, at home I am to continue the exercises as long as I don’t have pain while doing them.

So far, so good, although after I have therapy my shoulder is not happy.  Day or night I apply either hot or cold compresses to calm the discomfort.  A therapist, trainee watches over me as I do exercises until the main therapist needs to give me exercises that stretch the tendons.  She moves the arm–I am only to relax!!  They both question if I am in pain as the therapy progresses and will stop it all if I am.

Pain is unique to each person and I have a high tolerance for pain.  After the first couple sessions my shoulder began to relax so I could do whatever I needed to do.  There is always a threshold I cross….not true pain, but more a resistance to moving that feels strange because suddenly I cross the threshold and the shoulder completes the exercises without much discomfort.

Well, not all exercises!!  This week, holding on to a cane with both hands, I was to raise my arms as high as I could.  Mnnn, that was a bit more than resistance.  My eyes crossed as I tried.  By the time I got to 4 raises I was pooped and the shoulder was screaming at me.  Next my therapist stretched the tendons and muscles in the shoulder.  She moves the arm up to my head and back down as I lay on the table.  Yesterday the stretch was even further and at first my shoulder resisted until I closed my eyes and quickly removed myself from her work!!

The assistant and the therapist have said I am doing remarkably well.  I said to M. was that do to my way of dealing with pain.  He quickly let me know that I have never stopped doing things at home and regardless of what I do it  is also a way of strengthening the shoulder.  Well, that is what I am to do and I will continue on my way.  The sooner back to normal, the better!! 

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