Finding out about a Frozen Shoulder
I wasn’t even aware of the condition they call Frozen Shoulder or, to give it it’s medical name, Adhesive Capsulitis, until I got it back in November 2013. It has to be one of the most awful, painful and disabling conditions I know.
Take a look at this photo for example:
This was taken just after I found out I had a frozen shoulder. the photographer asked me to raise both arms out of the car. My left arm was up as far as it could go!
Seeing a Doctor
After around 5 weeks of being in pain with every sign that it was getting worse I decided to visit the doctors a month after the pain started. It had originally began when I reached behind me in the car to help Grace with something. I wrenched it but didn’t really think anything of it. Until I started to be unable to lift my arm up and I’m not one of those people who likes to ask for help. I need to prove – sometimes to my detriment – that I can do it myself!
The doctor told me that he thought I had hurt the ligaments and tendons in my shoulder so he gave me some anti-inflammatories and sent me to see the Physiotherapist.
Seeing a Physiotherapist
My first visit wasn’t so good. I nearly passed out with the exercises. I was told to take strong painkillers before my second visit so she could see what was wrong (I was later told by a reliable source that she shouldn’t have done this as it could mask the actual area of pain and not help!).
The second visit saw my diagnosis with the Frozen Shoulder. I was given a bunch of exercises and told that there was nothing I could do. It could take around a year to get better and if the pain got really bad I could get a cortisone injection.
A different course of action
A couple of weeks later I went to visit Charlie from The Mad Mummy Musings who told me that the Physio was talking rubbish and her friend Fay, a Sports Massage Therapist, would be able to help. So, just after Christmas, I rang her and have now seen her twice. It’s helping I’m pleased to say but I can see that it is going to be a long process.
What does the pain of a frozen shoulder feel like?
It’s hard to explain the different types of pain you get with a Frozen Shoulder but let me try. Firstly, there’s the cramping pain. It feels like when you stub your toe but on a MUCH bigger scale. There has been quite a few occasions where I’ve moved my arm and the muscles have gone into spasm. Goodness how I’ve cried. I feel like such a baby but it does bloody hurt! Grace has been really lovely to me as has Ross. There are times when the nerves are trapped and you can feel it all down your arm. One of the most memorable days for this was New Years Day. Along with all of this, most days your arm just feels like it has been lifting weights and is really tired.
There are all the things you take for granted which become extremely painful. Lifting your arm to put on deodorant, shaving your armpit or simply getting something out of the cupboard. Getting dressed can take forever so I’ve got quite selective about the clothes I wear!
Getting in or out of the bath, having a shower, holding cutlery, washing, drying and brushing my hair, folding washing and making the bed. Then there is changing gear when driving. I drove my mini this morning for the first time in ages. The gear stick is very stiff and with each change it was excruciating. And, of course, sleeping! I can’t get comfortable! Thanks to my Mum, I have a neck pillow for my bed (which does encroach onto Ross’ side a little) and this helps a bit.
Tips to help you with a Frozen Shoulder
So, what can you do to help if you are suffering with a frozen shoulder? These are some things that help me;
- Get someone to give you a small massage. I even stood against the corner of a door frame over Christmas to push the corner into my shoulder blade where it hurt
- Ignore the NHS and see a specialist. Fay – my therapist – told me that the biggest problem is that people leave it so long to see someone. She had one lady who was in a lot of pain as she had two frozen shoulders (there are many cases where, if one shoulder goes, so does the other) and it took ages to help her out.
- Take painkillers regularly.
- Use ice packs or frozen veg to take the swelling down
I’m hopeful that this will be sorted before the year is out. If you are suffering then I hope my post has helped you a little. You have every sympathy from me. Please do go and see a therapist!