Friday, January 15, 2010

Shouldering the Burden: Rotate That Cuff!

Being without insurance, this is what some might call the worst possible time to have an injury. But why let that stop you, right? I like to keep things hopping around here, and what better way than to injure myself somehow? Well, life can't be too easy, that would just be boring.

Anyway, the thing is that I've been having increasingly severe shoulder pain for the past couple of months, and lately it has gotten to the point where I am feeling at least an aching, dull pain throughout the day, with episodes of sharper, more excruciating pain with certain specific actions. Things like, oh, I don't know, lifting up my son, or reaching back to him when he's in his carseat, or even raising up my arm from my side. Sometimes even just the attempt to lift up my arm will leave me gasping. In fact, right now I'm having a hard time typing; looks like today is going to be one of the worse days. There are times when it feels like I have icy-hot on my shoulder; a sort of burning cold sensation, yet at the same time it feels bruised. I've been researching on the internet to see what this might be, and it looks like it could be a rotator cuff bursitis or tendinitis, or what they call "impingement syndrome." I'm going to start treating it myself this week, with all of their recommendations:
-- Ice for no more than 15 minutes
-- Rest the shoulder
-- Anti-inflammatory medicines (naproxin, ibuprofen)
-- Passive motion exercises (see articles below)

That is, I'll be treating myself until that blessed day when we are covered by health insurance again. One day...

Of all the websites I found, this one is probably my favorite. I like the way the author, Dr. Nicolas Campos, speaks in a very comfortable, casual vernacular that is easy to understand and even easier to relate to. He describes his own experiences with impingement syndrome and how he dealt with it, as well as the ways that he treats those injuries in his patients, which is nice because it shows that he knows this injury both personally and professionally. His website has a lot of excellent information about the anatomy of healthy and injured shoulders, great pictures and illustrations, and suggestions for treatment. Wish I could go visit his office down in L.A.!

The internet is obviously a treasure trove of informative articles about how to diagnose, treat, and recover from a shoulder injury related to impingement. You can check out the web pages at emedicinehealth and for more information. I know I did. Let's hear it for self-diagnosis!

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