Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Portrait of a busted shoulder....

Long story short. Extended periods of boat driving without stretching afterwards has led to an repetetive strain injury in my left shoulder. Thankfully I'm right-handed or I'd be cack-handed. My shoulder has been sore the previous two summers but this last summer it couldn't take any more. Nothing dramatic, no popping sounds etc. I just couldn't lift my arm in front of me or sideways without sharp pain. First treatment: rest and cold pack, anti-inflammatory painkillers. After a couple of days, mobility returned but with pain. This was while we were still in the field. Back on the mainland, a visit to the work doctor got me a cortisone shot, more painkillers and an order to rest. And it helped, at least for a while...

Within a couple of months though the pain was back and slowly getting worse. Bugger! Tried a couple of visits to an osteopath as I figured if I went to the doc again I'd just get the cortisone, etc. treatment again. It was good and I enjoyed but it didn't really seem to help. I was still trying to train fencing normally, which didn't work so well. Push-ups were just about doable but dagger exercises were difficult. The worse the pain got the stiffer I became and so more pain. Hmmm.

Back to the work doctor and some really fast appointments later, which included x-ray and ultrasound, as well as a visit to an orthopedic doctor, it seems I have a small tear in one of my shoulder muscles (the supraspinatus apparently), inflammation in the tendons of my shoulder joint and a weakened rotator cuff. Prognosis for healing with physio 3-6 months if all goes well. If it doesn't, then I have keyhole surgery to look forward to.

Supraspinatus muscle

Because it's close to Christmas, it is difficult to get a time slot for the physio, so I'll have to wait until January until that visit. In the interim, I decided to visit an acupunturist as a stop-gap to try to deal with the pain and discomfort I'm experiencing now. I'm not anti-western medicine per se. It's just that I'm not too happy with popping painkillers like smarties, especially as I got two types prescribed for me after the last visit to the doctor. The mild ones are fine, they're the same as regular anidin/burana. The other one, Tradolan Retard (I know, if the cap fits...) are only 150mg but holy hell, I took one the other night and I was stoned off my tits for most of the night. This wasn't too bad but I got some not so pleasant side effects the following day including, light-headedness, waves of nausea, dizzyness and difficulty focussing. They weren't even that good in dulling the pain!

I did a bit of a search on the net for acupuncturists in the local area and finally found one. I've just now come back from the first session. Interestingly, I didn't get acupuncture at all but something called tui na. It's a sort of massage I suppose combined with acupressure points. Anyway after being twisted like a pretzel, my shoulder was much more loose and I could move the shoulder with noticeably less pain. Result!

 For anyone interested in tui na, here's a tui na massage on youtube. I had something like this today. I don't really know how it works beyond the basic idea of opening meridians so the chi and therefore blood can flow better to the affected area. I'll go again at the beginning of next year for a series of treatments and I'm looking forward to it! I will try to keep a record of how I progress.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Giving myself to training

Wow, tempus fugit and I've not put a word in the blog yet this year. I've been lazy I guess. Just after Christmas and through the first part of February, I got a pretty bad dose of kaamos or winter blues. I didn't feel like training or even going outside. I did a bit of skiing to get fit and it certainly helped. Thankfully it seems the blues are over and I'm feeling a lot better these days.

I must say that I've been really enjoying training, whether it's taking part in a class with the beginners or a saturday's training with the more advanced people. I also went to the syllabus syllabus day and 11th anniversary party last weekend. Both were a blast!

Anyhoo, I was thinking about why I'm enjoying training so much and came to the conclusion that it's all about my mindset when I put on my black and whites. I "give myself" to the training, to the experience, to the time spent. In short, I try to get as much out of it as I can get. It's an uncharacteristically (for me) positive way of looking at things. I find myself actively looking forward to training and have a nice sense of satisfaction after we do our final salute and finish for the evening.

I'm not otherwise doing anything diferent, no extra physical stuff, nor even mental. Perhaps it's that as things stand I'm in a comfort zone and am not particularly challenged right now. Perhaps I can turn my new mindset to adapting and evolving my training so I can start to feel I'm making progress again. Early days yet.....