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?