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Friday, June 26, 2015

A Little Cortisone Mixed with PT Please

It has been nearly a month since my tendinitis and bursitis flare up in my shoulder that landed me in the ER. After I received my cortisone shot during that ER visit, although it took two full days for the inflammation to even begin to cease, it only took about about a week for most of my mobility to return and even more of the pain to go away. After the cortisone had kicked in, my family doctor suggested PT, so I agreed to try it out. I will do anything to attempt to NEVER have acute bursitis again, and I pray that this will never become a chronic issue (more than the minor pain I deal with once in awhile).

I have been going to PT once a week since then, and because this is my first time going, I have been a little cautious and weary of it. I keep thinking that PT is for a stroke patient learning to use an entire side of their body again, or for someone that has had a hip replacement who needs to learn how to walk again. I never imagined that PT could help out with such an insignificant issue, in comparison, as bursitis. So far, though, I have learned that I am a good candidate for PT and am learning even more about how to get full mobility back in my shoulder.

Since the cortisone shot I feel like a new person. For the last 5 plus years I have had significant pain off and on in my shoulder when I do various activities, like taking clothes off over my head, posture issues in long runs (over 10 miles), bootcamp or boxing classes, sleeping on it wrong, or playing catch with the kids. The pain has really limited many of the activities I can use my shoulder for. My shoulder is now 100% pain free, other than a little aching once in awhile, and I can't even believe how amazing it feels to be able to take off my sports bra and not feel pangs of pain as I do it.

But here is the kicker. I still need PT. I swear that every week when my PT day approaches I say to my myself, "Just cancel your appointment, your arm doesn't even hurt anymore." But PT for me isn't about the lack of pain I feel right now, it is about prevention.

My right shoulder and some of the muscles in it are so tight from years and years of pain and tightening to support my weak shoulder, that I have limited mobility when I rotate it. I also have some burning and aching in that shoulder when I do many of the exercises I have learned in PT, whereas I do not feel a thing when I do them with my other arm.

The therapists I have seen have explained to me that life is great when you have that cortisone shot, but eventually it will wear off, leaving my shoulder susceptible to inflammation again. Our goal is to get my shoulder muscles unwound, to stretch them, elongate them and get them to the point where they don't tighten up anymore and I can have normal function and full rotation by the time the cortisone expires.

I have a few more appointments, but so far I am seeing progress. The hardest part is remembering to do the exercises I need to do each day, as chasing around my three kiddos while teaching online and evening classes takes a toll on the free time I have.

The best news is that I can still run! These past few weeks I have run a few 7-milers, a few 5-milers and a couple 3-milers, and they have felt spectacular. I will start training for my fall races next month, so I am happy to be back on track with my running. 

I will keep you updated as I continue to navigate through my recovery process.

During a beautiful run one morning this week.


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