Laddie: In last week’s post about frozen shoulder, I mentioned that my story is almost identical to that of Sue from New York. Similar age, same risk factors, and currently experiencing the condition for the third time. I wouldn’t wish frozen shoulder on my worst enemy and I’m sorry that my friend’s story mirrors my own.
My first bout with frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) began in 2002. I had noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult to put my left arm behind my back and I couldn’t raise it very high. I tried not to use arm and shoulder thinking that rest would be the best medicine. Because it continued to get worse, I finally I went to my family doctor who told me I had frozen shoulder. I had never heard of frozen shoulder before.
The doctor suggested physical therapy, and I made an appointment to go. When I arrived I gave them my insurance card and was told my copay would be $20 a visit. I was set up to go three times a week. I remember on one of my first visits lying on my back while a strapping young man took hold of my arm and tried to move it up, all the while straining and exerting a great deal of pressure. I was amazed that my arm barely budged, and decided that the term frozen shoulder was very appropriate. I continued my daily walks with my husband. One day while walking I stepped into a crack in the sidewalk and the pain was excruciating. After that, I carefully watched where I walked. My physical therapy progressed as my shoulder gradually loosened, and I was given exercises to do at home with an arm band. I went to physical therapy from January until May, when I was told I could stop coming but continue my home exercises. My frozen shoulder gradually recovered almost completely.
In 2007 I once again got frozen shoulder, this time my right shoulder. I didn’t have the degree of inertia that I previously had, so I decided to cope with it on my own. I did the exercises at home with the arm band, and a friend at work suggested some other things to try. Once again I gradually recovered from the frozen shoulder and moved on. I told myself that I was done with frozen shoulder since I’d had it in both shoulders already.
Now it is 2013 and once again my left shoulder is showing signs of freezing. I noticed it while descending the stairs and lifting my arm to turn off the light. I am being proactive and starting to exercise my arm, but I know that it will run its course in its own time, with or without any effort on my part. Because I was told during my first bout with frozen shoulder that it would get worse if I favored the arm and didn’t move it, I plan to keep using my arm and shoulder as much as possible.
And I will keep praying that number three is the lucky number that will end my story with frozen shoulder….