Thursday, July 8, 2010


Pain is such an all-consuming experience. I went to physical therapy today for my shoulder. The pain was so bad I couldn't speak. Tears were running down my face. The therapist asked me something--I can't even remember what--and I just muttered some one-word answer. I was trying meditation, trying to just be in the moment and accept it, to analyze how intense it was. I don't know anything effective for dealing with it. I know that I had a vacant stare on my face.

I've been told that I need to get through it, that ultimately it is the cure for my almost frozen shoulder. But in the course of four sessions of physical therapy, the pain has become increasingly worse, and considerably worse than it was when I began.

Now, hours after the treatment, the pain is still intense. I've taken prescription and non-prescription pain relievers. I used ice packs alternately with heat. I've paced the floors because I couldn't sit still with it. The pain has migrated now to include my shoulder, my entire right arm, my neck, and occasionally my other previously painless shoulder. And I have a splitting headache.

And whom do I trust? Do I trust the orthopedic surgeon who saw me three times, handed me a sheet of exercises that he never explained and said come back if I want to? Do I trust the chiropractor/physical therapist who says just to stick with it and bear the pain because if I don't I'll be in much worse condition?

I think I'm going to trust myself and stop getting treatment. I'll stretch, do yoga, just do what feels right and keep it moving. I hope I'm not wrong.


  1. I had rotator cuff damage, and it was excruciating. Cortisone was injected in both of my shoulders at one time or another, which helped the pain. Ibuprofen helped, as did ice packs from time to time. Ultimately, it healed on it's own, but it took over two years to get all my range of motion back. It healed without PT, which was offered by Kaiser.

    A friend who had a frozen shoulder went in and had the orthopedist manipulate it to break up adhesions...but was under anesthesia at the time. Personally, I think it's cruel for a PT to try to achieve that while someone is awake and conscious. It's just too painful.
    I've been there, and know exactly how horrible the pain is. Hugs and sympathy!

  2. I got cortisone injections too. That was fun, eh? Never saw such large needles used on a human being. I'm willing to accept that it might take two years to get back the range of motion. I'm beginning to agree with you that the PT may be a bit of a sadist. Thanks for your feedback, Sue. It really helps to hear from someone who has been there.