The Ottumwa Courier

Columns

March 10, 2012

Cold shoulders no fun

Et Cetera

OTTUMWA — No pain. No gain.                                       

That’s my physical therapy!                      

Here, I’ve been giving people the cold shoulder for months and didn’t even know it.

No, I wasn’t being unfriendly. My shoulder was hurting. Starting the lawn mower last spring did it, I think. One too many pulls. It was right before my daughter’s wedding, so I ignored it, thinking it would get better. Then another health issue arose, and I forgot about it — until summer when it would hurt off and on. I just tried not to reach or do any straining with my right arm.

Finally, in late fall, I had X-rays taken. No bones broken, but the doctor gave me a medical name for the pain. I liked “cold shoulder” better. So, I started physical therapy.

The exercises are painful, some more than others. The things a therapist tells you to do with a towel are almost maniacal.

And, who knew a soup can could produce so much pain?

Or, he or she comes in with a bar and you have to maneuver it into painful places.

Oh, the big ball looked OK. Nope. Had to go stand in a corner and push the ball up the wall, stretching, stretching, stretching. Not only stretching, but holding the stretch for 20 seconds.

I thought I had all the painful procedures learned until another therapist introduced two more exercises. You would think slowly stretching your arm up a wall wouldn’t be too bad. But, if you have a cold shoulder, it hurts, especially the higher you get up on the wall. And again, holding the stretch.

The good parts of the early therapy sessions were at the beginning and the end. First, a gel was administered to the sore shoulder and rubbed and rubbed on.

And, if you were good and did the stretches and holds correctly, you could end the session with a wonderful ice bag placed on your shoulder for 10 minutes.

I’m glad I went to see about it, from the doctor to the therapists. I can take the pain if I know it is supposed to hurt and that it is good for me and that it will eventually feel a lot better.

My progress is being measured, and slowly my movement is improving.

As I told my friend, who had therapy for a sore knee, it’s like being at a gym. It’s good to know you are improving. But you wish it was for a diet workout and you were losing inches and/or pounds.

I’m being good and doing my exercises at home daily. I think the cats think I am crazy.

I was just feeling good about my numbers improving and noticing less pain in the right arm, but probably because I relied on my left arm so much, it started to hurt. So now, I have two cold shoulders. The good news — the left arm isn’t as bad, so my workouts benefit both arms. And, it actually feels good to do the therapy. I can feel the results, and now my right arm is my good arm.

I figure by spring — about 10 days away — the weather will be warmer, and so will my shoulders.

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor.

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