Being an older dad with young kids I try fairly hard to keep myself fit and active so that I can keep up with the kids as they grow older. I also enjoy a game of golf occasionally, a good walk ruined as they say. I’m not a great player as I am never able to play as frequently as I would like but I do like a round every now and again, so was really annoyed when I developed a shoulder injury that stopped me playing.
It was more complicated than that. My shoulder problem turned out to be nothing less than a torn rotator cuff which stopped me from doing any sort of activity. It was painful when I walked or ran, even though I am right handed, any movement caused serious pain in my left shoulder. If I forgot and made a sudden movement I could end up crying with pain. I can remember exactly when I did it. I was being my usual impatient self and trying to lift some flat packed furniture on my own rather than waiting for help, felt something go in my shoulder and that was that. Shoulder messed up| The next day I woke up with shoulder pain and it just got worse with each passing day.
Reaching above my shoulder, reaching out for anything was impossible. I couldn’t reach behind me. Sleeping was impossible because I couldn’t get comfortable and I couldn’t do a thing with the kids. Golf was just not going to happen for the forseeable future. So it was off to the doctor who sent me to see a specialist. He diagnosed my torn rotator cuffand confirmed it with an MRI scan. The shoulder joint is a simple ball and socket joint. It is different to the hip joint in that the socket is made up predominantly of cartilage and not bone like in the hip, and doesn’t grip the bone of the arm. Instead, a group of four muscles help to hold the arm in place and stabilise the shoulder joint. These make up the rotator cuff. What I had done was tear one of these muscles which caused inflammation. Because all the muscles fit snuggly together any inflammation can cause pressure and pain.
The muscle that I had torn is called the supraspinatus. I had manged to tear a tendon that runs under my collar bone or clavicle and the end of my shoulder blade or scapula. Because it was inflammed, each time that I moved in a certain wayit got pinched or impingedpinched and was aggravated. Surgery was recommended to cut away part of my collar bone to release the impinged tendon and allow it to heal without any more damage. It all sounded very easy but I was still a bit nervous.
As I live in the UK we often have to wait for surgery so I used the time to do some research on the subject while I waited for my surgery date. Having read up on my injury extensively I finally discovered that most rotator cuff problems are cured with physical therapy .Even a torn rotator cuff can be solved in this way, as long as it is only a partial tear. You start off by resting the joint to allow the inflammation to calm down, treating it with anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen and using ice packs. Once things have reduced you can start gentle exercises aimed at building up and strengthening the rotator cuff
In just six weeks my shoulder was pain free and the movement had returned to near normal. A few more weeks saw me return to full fitness. I have put off the surgery and will probably be cancelling it altogether if I remain pain free.
In the meantime I am playing golf again, still losing but hey, I do have a bad shoulder!