March 07, 2006
Bad and good news!
I spent most of today having a shoulder injury (well, what I thought was a shoulder injury) diagnosed. Two doctors, plus a visit to a rehab specialist.
I'm an exercise nut, and among other things I do a minimum of 120 consecutive full-motion pushups on alternate days (with stands, and feet elevated), plus a minimum of 50 consecutive pullups. I've done daily exercises for years, but a few weeks ago, pain began in my left shoulder without any precipating injury, and it got worse -- to the point where reaching behind me (to put on a coat or fasten a seat belt) was excruciating. This seemed to fit the symptoms of a rotator cuff injury, but I couldn't figure out how I injured myself. So today my doctor referred me to a sports medicine specialist who diagnosed the problem as adhesive capsulitis
. . .a condition of "unknown etiology characterized by gradually progressive, painful restriction of all joint motion . . . with spontaneous restoration of partial or complete motion over months to years."(More here.)
I'd never heard of this before, but I don't need surgery, and I was told that because it was caught early (in the "freezing" stage), assuming I do the exercises they've prescribed, the shoulder will return to normal with no permanent limitation of motion.
I was sure I'd suffered a rotator cuff injury and I've heard horror stories about them. I'm glad I didn't follow the recommendations to stop all exercise which causes pain (I had already stopped the pushups and pullups, hoping that the rest would help, which it didn't). I can and will return to my full exercise plus the new stretching routine.
It's a good lesson in the importance of going to the doctor rather than attempting self-diagnosis. These things are tricky to diagnose -- even for specialists, and the guy I saw today sees nothing but shoulders.
As to the cause, no one knows. A few months of torment, and I'm sure I'll be as good as new.
Just having an answer feels better.
posted by Eric on 03.07.06 at 08:12 PM
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