Constant pain makes me feel crazy-grouchy. These past 5 weeks have been a challenge to my health both physical and emotional on account of tendinitis in my left shoulder. My shoulder had been painful on and off for about 6 weeks before the pain became excruciating and constant. When the pain became unremitting I knew I had a serious problem. And so started my journey into wellness. Again. (I had a back injury several years ago.)
I tried many things (all safe) with a questioning mind. Below are 19 things I did or am still doing to deal with the tendinitis. Some things worked right away, but most took time. I don’t know if my results are typical are not. I do know that I had to have patience and diligence in order to get to the point where I am today. There is a noticeable ache (half the day) in my shoulder with jabs of pain when I move the arm in a way not appreciated.
- Chiropractic Care. This is where I started. I went to the doctor who treated my back injury several years ago, Dr. Chris Bambus. In addition to adjustments he also does Myofascial Release Therapy. He works on the knotted muscles by applying pressure to them. This article here gives a good explanation of trigger points. Here is a cool video showing what this is about.
- Interferencial Current Therapy. I also get this treatment at my chiropractor’s office. It is a creepy crawly sensation delivered to the shoulder muscles via electrodes. This therapy is meant to help with pain management. I have not noticed an immediate reduction in pain after the therapy. But I am willing to try all safe avenues to help with pain relief.
- MSM Powder. According to the research MSM helps with inflammation and pain relief. I take vitamin C (also in powder form) with this. I have not noticed that it reduces the pain. I keep on taking it because I know that supplements often take at least a month of use before any difference is noted. I also read that MSM smooths out wrinkles. Now that would be a good side benefit. I buy the MSM from my chiropractor’s office.
- Epsom Salt Bath Soaks. This provides relief every time. I use 1 cup of salts in a hot bath and I soak for 20 minutes. I usually take a nap afterwards. I am investigating other types of additions to the water to see if or how they can help.
- Vitamin Supplementation. Since the Epsom salts soak helps every time, Dr. Bambus wondered if I have a magnesium deficiency. Since I don’t take vitamins, he suggested I take magnesium with calcium tablet. Please don’t leave a comment telling me how I should be taking vitamins a-z. I know I should take more. This is a process and at least I am taking these.
- Ice and Heat. I do this at least 3 times a day in the manner prescribed by my chiropractor. The icing feels particularly good on the deltoid muscle and on my wrist. This also helps relieve pain every time I use it.
- More Rest.I am not a great sleeper and have had sleep issues for years. But even if I am not sleeping, I can rest. I am making myself get more rest by going to bed earlier and taking naps when possible. I always told my children that they grew and healed while sleeping. While I may not be growing while sleeping, I am hopefully healing.
- Stretching Exercises. I am doing the ones suggested by my chiropractor. If it is painful, I stop. The exercises came from a book by Bob and Jean Anderson titiled, Stretching.
- Mechanical Aids. A hand-held massager (thanks Marsha for lending me yours) and a massaging chair (named Olga which is at my sister’s home) have provided some great massages. Both feel great. When I visited my dd she paid for me to have a massage. Oh man, did that ever help too!
- Hang my arm. I’ve noticed that I tend to keep my arm crooked at a 90 degree angle. So whenever I can, I hang it down, like when I am driving or walking. I like the feel of this gentle stretch.
- Work Environment Assessment. While most of my work-life I’ve been able to be ergonomically incorrect, my body (at least my left shoulder) won’t tolerate this anymore. So I looked at my office to see what I could do to be more kind to my body. I.e I lowered my keyboard, take 30 second stretch breaks once an hour, and am sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair.
- Taping. I am an athlete! At least my left shoulder is. It is taped (by the chiropractor) like an injured athlete’s shoulder would be taped. This is supposed to immobilize the muscle so that it can rest and not strain itself. Mark (my b-i-l) was a gymnast in college and says this helped them whenever they had injured muscles and tendons which was like all the time. I don’t notice that it makes a difference, but it is free, not invasive, and doesn’t hurt.
- Pay Attention. I hold my stress in my shoulders. Evidently I hunch up my shoulders when feeling stressed. So throughput the day I do a stress spot check to see how I am doing. If my shoulders are high, I consciously stretch and then lower them towards the ground.
- Arm Sling. I never realized how much I use my left arm/hand. If I was to take a lie detector test before this injury, I would have sworn in good conscience that I hardly ever use my left limb. Wearing the sling made me more conscious of my movements and it helps me to not use the left arm. Thanks Marsha for letting me borrow this.
- Expectations. I am learning to lower them. I cannot and should not carry things that are heavy. I either need to get help or take more trips to transport the groceries, items for Goodwill, or stuff to and from work.
- Positive Attitude. I remind myself that this is a temporary situation. I tell myself I can handle anything for 3 months. (I just picked a number.) If the pain is still severe after 3 months, then I will make a new plan. I tell myself the promises of Scriptures where God is my source of comfort and help and that He won’t give me more than I can bear. I ask God to help me with my attitude as I tend to get grumpy when I’m in pain that lasts for days (never mind weeks and months).
- Advil. Because of all these other ideas I have been able to cut down on how much and how often I use this OTC medication. I don’t like swallowing pills (which is why I don’t take vitamins) so this really is a last line of relief for me.
- Other ideas. Google turned up other ideas here , here and here.
- Prayer. I have asked for prayer 6 times from my church (staff prayer, gone forward at church service and attended the Wednesday night prayer for healing time). Even though I haven’t received instantaneous physical relief any of these times, I believe and know that God can and does heal in this manner. I.e. I’ve been healed from my glaucoma, but that’s another story. However I did receive emotional encouragement from the prayer which was something I also needed. If and when I feel prompted, I will ask for prayer again.
I feel much better today than I did 5 weeks ago. Pain is no longer my constant companion. Pain no longer dictates my to-do list. However, I see that I do need to maintain some of the above practices. I do need to continue with a life-style audit and continue to incorporate more healthy living practices into my life. The next practice I want to address is some way to deal with stress. I naturally hold onto stress and want/need to find ways to let it go.
Your Turn . . .
- Do you deal with a pain issue?
- Does it influence your emotions?
- What have you found that works?
- What life-style changes are you making?
- How may I pray for you?
- What is your best stress releasing idea?
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- Memory Falters When Dealing With Pain or Grief
- Recovery Actions for Woman in Chronic Pain
- Things to Do/Not Do for a Woman in Chronic Pain
- What to Say/What Not to Say to a Woman in Chronic Pain