A blog by Remedial Massage Therapist Jackie Foothead about her journey with Frozen Shoulder
Ah, the joys of getting old. Stiff bones, muscles, joints…..but wait I’m only 39! I’m not old! So why is my shoulder so stiff? Why is hanging the washing more painful today than last week? Should I just stop hanging out the washing and make my husband do it? Well, yes probably, but is that really going to fix what’s going on here?
This has been a problem in the making for years now. We all see the signs and symptoms of our bodies developing issues, but how many of us actually listen to the niggles and twinges until it’s just too painful to move?
It all started with my fall from grace…..the swan dive I took, very accidentally I might add, off my roof while cleaning gutters with my husband. He says I’m an idiot, I say he warned me about the weak spot JUST AS I was stepping onto and then through it. Agree to disagree. Off to emergency we went with a left shoulder injury. Got stuck in a neck brace for hours, was very much told off for not calling an ambulance but being driven by my friend. Oh, did I mention I did this in the middle of my daughter’s 12th birthday movie marathon? Isn’t this what you do when a gaggle of pre-teen girls are entertaining themselves? After what seemed like an eternity, I was deemed well enough to go home. Many weeks of recovery with help from a great physio and I was back to work as normal.
About 6 months later I was having a lot of trouble with my left shoulder. It was really painful to move in certain positions, which is not great for a massage therapist, so I decided to get a scan done to see what was going on. Bursitis. Very enlarge subacromial bursa. I was told to rest and see how the swelling went or get a cortisone injection. I can’t rest! I have a busy job, two kids and my man-child husband…they were going to have to jab me!
This worked great for about 6-7 months, and then things started to get stiff again. This time I had the added bonus of not being able to dress properly or reach up over my shoulders. I developed this nifty little manoeuvre to get my arm up but it was causing problems elsewhere, so I decided to go get this sorted out.
After a painful assessment from my physio, he told me it was frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis. Great. Just what I needed. I was in the middle of upgrading my massage skills and working like a dog, now this? I knew that the condition can come on without warning, or like mine, due to injury. It can also come on gradually, from injury, overuse or repetition, but there are many other factors that may influence the onset of the condition. The capsule that protects the shoulder joint becomes thickened and inflamed with adhesions and scarring can often form. All of these factors combine to make your day hell every time you try to move your shoulder.
The good news is rest can often alleviate this issue. That and a massage from a good remedial massage therapist. A remedial massage treatment helps relax surrounding muscle tissue, which tightens to protect the aggravated shoulder. Myofascial release is great for relaxing the muscles and the fascia wrapped around them, and allows blood and nutrients in to help repair the damage and flush out waste. Techniques like transverse friction massage can be used to reduce scar tissue. It’s uncomfortable but very effective at helping those bad boys get back to working condition. Frozen shoulder can take a few years to recover and may never fully, but between your remedial massage therapist and your good work at home stretching and strengthening and resting(!), you can kick pain to the curb and get your range of motion back so you can get on with hanging up the washing………………….
Jackie, along with our other remedial massage therapists, help many people with their frozen shoulder and other bodily ailments. To book a remedial massage appointment, you can call us on 9193 2170 or book online here.
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My Frozen Shoulder