Thursday, August 30, 2012

Physio — Part IV

Had a really good physiotherapy session yesterday morning, and a pretty good day over all; a big difference in comparison to the day before.

I've got a couple of stretching routines added to my exercises. Maybe they helped? Or maybe I'm just being more aware of my posture sitting at my desk. Regardless, I felt pretty good and I had a good sleep last night, without waking up every hour or two. It'll be a week until my next appointment, so it'll be interesting to see how just doing my exercises will work out.

I'm still fighting the urge to try cycling.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Physio Part III

My first day back at work after 3 weeks of vacation and it started with a double-appointment of physiotherapy. Got more deep massage to work out the tight muscles and knots in my left shoulder and neck, more of my usual physio exercises — plus two new ones — and ended with the electro-therapy.

My physiotherapist said that the muscles in my shoulder and neck are definitely looser than they've been. I can also feel my left arm regaining some strength. I'm still getting the occasional tingling in my left arm, which she says is due to posture.

Trying to remember to sit up straight at work was a bitch. I kept catching myself slouching. This is probably the biggest challenge.

The two new excercises are tough. I don't know what they're called, but one involves standing on one end of the exercise band, and then pulling up on the other end to the side with a straight arm, and the other is almost the same except pulling up 45 degrees from the side and front with thumb facing down. That's apparently where your arm is the weakest. I can really feel these ones.

I'm feeling pretty sore right now from when she worked out the tight muscles in my neck and shoulder. My next appointment is on Wednesday morning so I'm hoping they're not still achy then.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Physiotherapy continued...

I had my second physiotherapy appointment this morning. It was a double appointment. That's what my physiotherapist wanted because we need to work on my neck and my arm.

It was a little on the painful side at times because the muscles on the left side of my neck and the bad shoulder are pretty tight and she pressed pretty hard with her fingers to work them loose. I asked her if they were tight beause of the pinched nerve, and she said she suspects it's because the shoulder injury is causing me to shrug as I raise my arm to compensate for the weakness.

I could really feel them loosen up. She'd press hard, it would hurt a little and then they'd slowly give way. It was kinda cool, in a weird way I guess.

After about half an hour of that, I did my physio exercises and then got hooked up to the electrotherapy machine for 15 minutes.

I left with an arm and shoulder that fell pretty damn good. My arm is still very weak, but I think I'm seeing some improvement. Slowly, but surely. The physio exercises feel like the're getting a little easier. What's depressing is when I do them with my good arm for comparison and see how easy they should be, and how much trouble I have doing them with my bad arm. It just reminds me of how far I have still to go.

I've pretty much accepted the fact that any more cycling this summer is not going to happen, unless it's on the trainer in the basement where I don't need to lean forward on handlebars. I'm pretty bummed out about that.

My next appointment -- another double -- is on Monday, and the one after is on Wednesday. I'll be back at work that week, so I tried to get them as early in the day as possible.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Physio assessment

My first physiotherapy appointment at the Carleton University Physiotherapy Clinic went very well.

My therapist wants to work on not just my shoulder, but the pinched nerve in my neck as well. I didn't expect that, but I'm really pleased about it. After the assessment, she said that it's likely due to poor posture at work, sitting in front of a computer, not from cycling. If we don't see an improvement with my pinched nerve, then she'll send me back to Sports Clinic Doctor for a follow-up so he can include my neck in the MRI that I'll eventually be getting.

Today also included some exercises and electrotherapy on my shoulder. That was kinda weird but my shoulder felt pretty good after.

I was sent home with some exercises to do twice a day and a tension band to use for the exercises. I also booked my next appointment for Wednesday morning.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Good news & bad news?

Our family vacation in PEI went well. Some of the driving really bothered my arm though. Certain positions occasionally cause nasty discomfort. It's weird because the same positions at other times are perfectly fine.

I think the pinched nerve in my neck is getting better, slowly. It still cause a weird sensation in my arm when I tilt my head back.

I went to my appointment at the Carleton University Sports Clinic this morning. I explained everything to the doc and gave him a copy of my MRI results from 4 years ago. As soon as I mentioned weakness in my arm, he had me do some strength tests. He seemed pretty certain that the muscle I had torn 4 years ago is now completely separated. I asked him about what my famiily doc said about being in pain if it was torn more and he said that's not always the case. But the fact that my arm is weak moving in certain ways and not in others is a good indicationt that the rotator cuff is torn, and may require surgery. O_o I also asked about my neck and the occasional arm numbness. He said that's a separate issue, so there are two things going on. He didn't seem that concerned about the pinched nerve.  

But, we won't know if it's torn until I get an MRI. He filled out the paper work and I guess I'll be awaiting a call to book that appointment.

First things first; an X-ray and physiotherapy.

Even if it is completely torn, he said that 70% of the time, strength can be regained with physiotherapy and the muscle may not need to be repaired. The other 30% requires surgery. I'm not looking forward to that option.

I could go anywhere for the physiotherapy, but I decided to stick with Carleton University since shoulders are one of their specialties. I walked over to the Sports Therapy Centre and booked my physiotherapy appointment for Monday morning, which also happens to be the same day that I have a follow-up appointment to see my family doctor, and also fill him in on what I've done I suppose.

I then went for the X-ray at the Merivale Imaging centre. The Doctor said he can get the results on the computer from them. I'm not sure why my family doc didn't send me for the X-ray at the same time as prescribing the Celebrex. It would have made more sense than waiting.

I guess the good news is that I'm closer to finding out what's wrong. The bad news is that it may not be that good. :(

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Partial relief

I had a good day yesterday.

First of all, my day was relatively comfortable, all things considered. One of the better days I've had in a long time.

My family doctor appointment also went really well. He's still convinced it's a pinched nerve though. That's a good thing, I suppose. More on that in a bit.

He prescribed 3 weeks worth of Celebrex with the hope that it will help. I have a follow-up appointment on the 20th, where he will decide whether or not to send me for an X-ray. If the Celebrex doesn't help and the X-ray indicates anything questionable, then we will look at getting an MRI and possibly some "nerve studies".

On Sunday night I did a little internet research. Yeh, I know... they say that the surest way to convince yourself that you're dying is to search the internet for your syptoms. ;-)

One thing that I've known for a while is that a possible side effect of taking Crestor for my cholesterol is a muscle degeneration condition which can lead to kidney problems. That crossed my mind. My doc put that thought to rest. He said I have other issues with my arm and shoulder, and that the condition doesn't usually focus on a single muscle. My other thought was that the muscle tore more than it did 4 years ago. Again, unlikely, because I have full range of motion without any obvious discomfort while moving my arm.

So a pinched nerve is the best diagnosis for the time being.

Something else I discovered while doing my evening "research" was that taking multi-vitamin supplements can apparently cause muscle aches and pains, and dizziness.

Although the arm and shoulder issues began in May, it was only recently that it got worse. It was mid-June that I started taking a multi-vitamin supplement. Whether this is a coindence or not, I stopped taking it on Sunday and since then my arm has been doing better. Also, last week and the week before I had been experiencing occasional dizziness when standing up too quickly. Kinda like a head rush. That has also stopped. Needless to say, it's unlikely that I'll resume taking the multi-vitamin.

I so miss cycling. I've already put a few pounds back on since I stopped. It's difficult to keep that in check without being able to work out on my bike. :-\