Last Fall, all of a sudden I felt the oh-so-familiar burning sensation but this time it was in my left shoulder. “Again?”, I protested, “But I didn’t even do anything to hurt you this time! Why are you doing this? It’s not like the last time, when I gave you a reason.”
Flashback to 5 years ago: in my quest never to drive with snow on my minivan’s roof, I’d climbed up, contorted myself to get snow off the top and next thing I know, I’m falling backwards! Thankfully I caught myself but the pain was instantaneous….a burning in my right shoulder that slooooooowly faded away. Many of you know that story: how I went to physical therapy, it just got worse, I lost all kinds of range of motion, the pain hit “suck-the-air-from-your-lungs-and-drop-to-your-knees" level, yada, yada, yada [Ever tried washing your hair with your head horizontal with your shoulder? Not fun.]. Ended up having a surgical manipulation and even more months of PT, but 14 months after the original date of injury, it was fiiiiiinally better.
Back to Last Fall: Still stuck on “Whyyyyyyy?” I waited it out a couple months [ok, it was longer than a couple], hoping it would go away [dare I say? I was avoiding? Not practicing what I preach? Smh]. So a few months pass and now it’s January and I’m losing range of motion. I take my head out of the sand and off I go to the Ortho doc who says, “Yep, it’s frozen shoulder again” and dutifully writes me a script for PT. 😒 But here’s where it gets interesting.
A week or so after seeing the Ortho doc I go looking for something for a client. I go into one of my Peter Levine books and I’m looking for info about an apparently new therapy that’s based on his work. As I’m searching, I come across something in the Index that says, “Frozen shoulder.” (😮) I flip to that page, read on and, sure enough, he’s treating a guy with a frozen shoulder that came out of the blue but ended up being tied to a trauma he’d gone through something like 8 months before. So we all know “the body keeps the score right?” So now I’m thinking, “Is it possible my frozen shoulder is a delayed reaction to a strong emotional situation? Something I wouldn’t have thought of as traumatizing but, still encoded in an unintegrated fashion because of high emotional intensity? Now I’m intrigued. 🤔 And what catches my eye next? Another book on my shelf by Louise Hay, called “You Can Heal Your Life.” [It’s a beautiful book! I’ve never seen another book like it! The artwork is a feast for my eyes and salve for my Soul.] I’ve never read it all the way through [Full disclosure: I’d not even read it halfway through.], but I do consult the table in the back a lot. So I pulled it out, flipped to the table to look up what the possible emotional correlation might be to my frozen left shoulder. I ended up taking the book home with me and started reading it again; “This time…” I said, “all the way through”. [So far, so good.]
So another week passes: A client tells me about a Netflix documentary called “Heal”. I watch it and I L.O.V.E. it [may write another blog about that later]! It’s right up my alley. It’s about the power of our minds to aid in or be an obstacle to our body’s ability to heal. So now, as I look up into the Heavens, I’m like, “Ok, ok, I’m hearing it.” I decide not to go to PT for my frozen shoulder. I decide I’m going to do stretches as it feels right to my body and I’m going to modulate the pain, meaning I’m not going to force my body to just “endure” like I did the last time [I’m not going to “white knuckle it.”]. This time, I’m going for gentle stretches with a focus on mindfulness on my body’s reaction. I’m going to combine this with visualizations that are in line with what I’m reading (in “You Can Heal Your Life”) and hearing about (from “Heal”). I’m going to actively change my thought patterns. And….I’ll see what happens.
Flash Forward to today: Just got home from the second Ortho appt. My frozen shoulder is not gone but it is better. I’ve got better range of motion in all areas as compared to 4 weeks ago. 🤯 He asks me what I’ve been doing and I tell him. He says “keep doing what you’re doing and come back in 4-6 weeks.”