Monday, October 6, 2014

Therapy for the physical, too

I spent a large part of this past summer concentrating on my mental health. Lately, I’ve had to start paying more attention to my physical health.
I’ve had some physical pain for a number of weeks. It started in my right arm, between my shoulder and elbow. I figured I was sleeping too much on that side. I’ve had pain in that spot before, and it went away on its own. Why wouldn’t it just go away again?
It just got worse. It hurt to lift my glass off the table to take a drink. It hurt if I lifted it for anything.
But still . . . why wouldn’t it just go away on its own?
The pain spread to my shoulder and down my arm. My hand felt numb sometimes. The pain made me want to grit my teeth.
I finally went to see my orthopedic doctor last week. I suspected I had bursitis or tendonitis in my shoulder.
The doctor said I had a pinched nerve in my neck caused by osteoarthritis. There’s a vertebrae out of place and some degeneration in the bone.
He wrote out a list: medication, physical therapy, epidurals, surgery. We’ll start with the medication—anti-inflammatory—and the physical therapy and hope that takes care of the pain, he said.
I plan on it working, I told him. I don’t want to have surgery.
I admit, this threw me for a loop. This wasn’t something I could get a shot for and be all better. This would probably be an ongoing challenge.
I even wept a little on the drive back home.

But I rallied and went to my first physical therapy session on Friday. The physical therapist said that even though “there’s a lot going on in there” (my neck), I was getting treated early, which would help.
And then he said something that set me straight.
“We have people come in there who can’t walk,” he said. “Three weeks later, they’re walking just fine.”
Of course, not everyone has such great results. But his statement reminded me that my situation could be far worse. And physical therapy can make a positive difference.

Besides the physical therapy sessions, I’m doing prescribed stretching exercises at home.
I’m happy to say that the pain has lessened.

And I am once again reminded that I have to give my physical health the attention that I give my mental health. It all works together: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.

So I’m paying attention now.
I’ve been taking some short walks in my neighborhood as a start to being more physically active. The photos today are from those walks.
I’m going to work hard in physical therapy. I’m going to rest my arm and shoulder when I should. I’m trying to be more aware of my posture.

I’m doing my best. And that’s all we can do, right?


  1. Oh I am a great believer of physical exercise in the outdoors it helps my mental health so very much. Keep working on that neck physical therapy will help a lot. I have to go to a chiropractor for the same reason it works well for me.Take care and enjoy the view. HUG B

  2. I'm sorry to hear this! I hope that you get a lot of pain relief soon. May the PT be your miracle worker :-)

  3. sorry to hear of your pain. that is no fun. i have found it interesting - i have issues with my left leg being longer & it works on or effects my sciatic nerve, i just wonder what has changed since i have gotten older? strange that it never messed with me as a kid? any who .. i have to stretch, some down days, exercise, lately i have been using a tennis ball ... found this idea through Dr. Oz ... to work on that lower muscle ... it is amazing. i just wish it was something i could keep permanent ... & could have constant comfort. i wish you well on your muscles/posture. i know i need to watch mine too. ( :

  4. good for you! glad it is already lessening!

  5. Glad you're doing all the right things, Tina. The older I get the more "maintenance" I require. My motto these days is to just keep moving!

  6. I loved physical therapy. They work you just right -- it may hurt but not hurt so much you can't do it and boy, doing it faithfully will serve you well. You have exactly the right attitude and while I'm sorry you have to go through this at all, I'm grateful you are doing this now and not so far advanced that recovery will be more difficult. Hang in there!

  7. Good luck with the physical therapy! It has worked wonders for me in the past especially after I had my knee replacement. I hope it helps you avoid surgery.

  8. That is all we can do. I feel your pain – almost literally. I had to go to PT last spring for arthritis in my arm and shoulder. For some reason it really bummed me out and made me feel "old." That's part of what's motivating me to exercise more now...a desire not to fall apart before my time!

  9. Some of these situations give us a real jolt. I had a jolt this year but it took a long time before I accepted that I had to work very hard to bring things back to normal. Keep at it It's worth it to be pain free.

  10. I feel so much better emotionally and spiritually when I am getting exercise but unfortunately it is the first thing to go when I start getting down. I really have to push myself.

    I hope your therapy gives you better than expected results.

  11. Hope you start feeling better soon! I guess this is a wakeup call to me to go to the doctor as well. I've been having significant pain in my right shoulder. It's hard to lift my arm at all. I've been putting off dealing with it, but I supposed the earlier I get to it the better.

  12. that's all we can do foot in front of the other. walk more often, i love what your seeing!!!

  13. I understand that pinched nerve pain is awful, hope your regime takes care of the situation and surgery is a way down the line, however I have several friends who've had the surgery and all swear by it-feel like new people.


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