Day 4 – Twists and Turns, Cracks and Pops

Up at 7:10am and excited for today’s weigh-in. 177.5 pounds … hmmm. Gained some, but the key is that it doesn’t show and I don’t feel it. I’ve put in much sweat equity over these last days so I’m sure it’s just water weight. Haha. No matter what caused this increase, I did my best yesterday so it is what it is. Life lesson #4 – If you do your best and don’t get the results you were seeking, celebrate your efforts and learn from the results. 

On today’s schedule were trips to the airport to drop-off two sets of family/friends, lunch with a business partner in midtown Sacramento, all leading up to my initial visit to the physical therapist. His name is Mark.

Mark, “when did you first start feeling pain in your shoulders?”

Me, “Best guess, 4 years ago and as of November 2012, during a Tough Mudder at Northstar of Tahoe, I hurt it going up an 8-fooot wall and “re-reinjured” it again coming back down that same 8-foot wall. Loud pop in the left shoulder going up and loud pop going back down the wall.”

Discussed the X-rays and they show normal wear and tear for a 42-year-old. Some disc compression. But overall, nothing out of the usual in both shoulders, including the most painful left shoulder. I think the actual medical diagnosis is “normal.”

left shoulderright shoulder

Now, it’s hard for me to describe the pain level in my left shoulder specifically. Scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, it is a 10-plus. Also know I cannot put my shirt on without pain and I’ve had to relearn how to put a jacket on. I’m right-handed so I am a right arm first and then left arm. That isn’t possible anymore so I have to do everything in reverse. The good news is I can assume this is good for my brain health to do normal tasks differently.

First session. Measured range of motion. Response from Mark, “Wow!” And “Wow” meaning not good. He asked me to do certain tasks. Press against. Pull against. Using the force of my left arm. During my second task, “POP” and another “Wow” from Mark. Yes, that sound is becoming oh-so-familiar and that is why a “normal” diagnosis is so perplexing. After a lesson on home movements to increase mobility with makeshift rope therapy and scheduling appointment two for next week, I leave actually feeling better. My left shoulder hurts, but that just means it’s working. Progress achieved!

Final diagnosis from Mark, “Frozen shoulder.” His best guess is that I tore a ligament during Tough Mudder. It healed, but since my motion was limited, I stopped using my arm and a type of muscle atrophy kicked in. Makes sense to me.

Home by 5:45pm. 3 sets of 20 on a rope tied to a door. My wife sees me and puts things in perspective. From P90X to Insanity to Tough Mudder to an “old person” workout. Funny thing is that I am sweating as much with this rope therapy that is designed to pull my arm in positions it hasn’t been in for months than I did with P90X Chest and Shoulders Day.

1st Movement includes sitting in a chair with my back to the door. Ropes hang from the top of the door. I wrap ropes around my hands and alternate pulling. Right arm up down brings left arm up. I pull until the pain isn’t manageable. Determined to increase the range.

2nd Movement includes standing with arms at a 90-degree angle. Rope at door knob level. With elbow tucked into the body, pull to rotate the arm out.

3rd Movement includes rope tied to the top of door. I bring the rope behind my back and pull to bring the arm up the back. This movement hurts the most. I haven’t been able to scratch my back with my left arm in quite some time. With a lot of pain, I tug on the rope with my right hand to bring that left arm higher. This is doable!

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Done for the day. No running. No weights. Just “old man” rope therapy.

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