At Least I Know What It Is Now…

To be filed under: Getting Old Is Hell

About a year ago my right shoulder started hurting whenever I had to reach for something on a high shelf or turn off a ceiling fan. I ignored it because it wasn’t debilitating, but as often happens when you reach a certain age, it didn’t magically go away, and of late has become a pretty painful affair, causing me to wince whenever I reach for my wallet in my right hip pocket. I saw my doctor last month about it, she sent in an order for an x-ray and I finally got around to getting it done last Friday. The results were as more or less as expected. At least it isn’t a torn rotator cuff.

“Your shoulder x-ray shows that there are no fractures or dislocations but you do have mild to moderate degenerative changes in the right shoulder. Degenerative changes are considered similar to arthritis type changes. If you would like to try physical therapy we can do that and if your symptoms persist then we can consider MRI.”

What the fuck is physical therapy going to accomplish if this is a “degenerative change” other than to drain my wallet?

5 Replies to “At Least I Know What It Is Now…”

  1. I got a similar issue, but it was a torn muscle / ligament thing. It’s harder to see on a x-ray scan.
    The movement hinderance was the same, the kind of “nazi salute” movement.

    While sleeping, I had let my arm above my head, and it had streched a muscle.
    At night, when the body produces less pain-killer, it felt like knife stabs in the wound. The repairing process makes the muscle do micro-contractions. That’s not helping. And it last 2-3 weeks.

    My father had an electric device used by kinesiotherapist. The eletric impulse produce microcontraction, it helps the muscle repair faster, be calm, and to stay numb at night.

  2. I’ll also echo the recommendation to give PT a try. A good PT shop will set you up with exercises you can do at home to strengthen the shoulder, and will release you to work exclusively on your own once they’ve taught you what they can.

  3. I agree with Mark M. After failed orthotic surgery on my knee
    (they all are failed surgeries!) PT trained me to strengthen the
    muscles around the knee allowing to walk without pain. I do
    the exercises every day the moment I wake up. Along with yoga breathing (everyone should do this!) I feel like I’m approaching normalcy (I’m not sure my husband would agree,
    the approaching normalcy part) Good luck, mwg

  4. I have the same thing except mine is in my lumbar spine. Take the PT, it strengthens the muscles and works on flexibility. Exercise does quite a lot to improve the quality of our lives as we age.

  5. I had exactly the same issue this summer. After xrays and an MRI it turned out I had some arthritis and some pretty bad bursitis. I had lost about 60% of my range of motion in my right arm and a cortisone shot did absolutely nothing. I was skeptical about PT as you are, but I started and they had me doing shoulder strengthening exercises. It took a couple of months, but it worked. I have regained my range of motion and I’m not in pain anymore. I highly recommend trying the PT and giving it some time to work. They set me up with power bands and excersises I did at home.

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