Sunday, 13 January 2013

Shoulder update...

The visits to tui na are continuing with approximately the same treatment each time. Certain points in my shoulder are pressed and damn! it is uncomfortable. As soon as the pressure is off, it feels quite good. This is what's known as good/sweet pain. My overall flexibility is improving but I still have pain in the shoulder at night. The most uncomfortable move is when my arm is lifted above my head, outwards and backwards. I feel it right in the corner of my shoulder. The tui na chap massages and warms up the sore bit and I can move a little bit easier with a little less pain. The sessions continue....

The 7-Step Rotator Cuff System self-treatment also continues. I have been heat treating and massaging my shoulder for the past two weeks (Step 2) and today I began looking and practicing Steps 3 and 4. These involve relearning balance, proprioreception (touching my nose with my finger when my eyes are closed, etc) and simple exercises like slowly crawling on the floor like a toddler, swinging a tennis ball on a 30 cm string in different planes (I knew my slings would come in handy onde day!) and (Step 4) various static stretches to work on the muscles around the shoulder joint. The idea is that steps 3 and 4 complement each other and should be backed up with occasional massage and heat when needed. The hardest thing for me in all of this is having the patience to slowly progress day by day. I want it fixed, NOW!

I've been a lazy boy last week. Some walking and three goes with the i-Move fitness thingy. I'm still eating like a horse though and go through cake and biccies like a hot knife through butter. Tsk! Have to try to bring my diet under control. I've not lost any weight since Christmas ended. Not good: cannot let my shoulder injury be an excuse for being lazy and eating crap. My mother in law is visiting this weekend and she baked dry-cake especially for me, which is very thoughful of her but the stuff is LETHAL and I cannot get enough. My wife and I have been talking about making more juices and smoothies. Luckily, along with the dry-cake and Karelian pies, we also got a shipment of frozen strawberries and raspberries! Yum!

The i-Move has been fun but I have had to be very careful with the choice of arm/shoulder exercise I do. Some really put strain on my bad shoulder and oddly enough it wasn't the punching exercise but simple jumping jacks! When raising my arms to the side I got a sudden shooting pain in my injured shoulder. Thinking about it afterwards, I realise I went too fast but also I was yet again guilty of my oldest training vice, namely working with non-relaxed (read hunched) shoulders. Shite!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Heat treatments, self-massage, neti pipes and playstation workouts....

No major improvements on my shoulder. One interesting thing is that the book I ordered from the net arrived: "The 7 step Rotator Cuff Treatment System" by Brad Walker. I read it through and found some interesting stuff. Right now I'm on step 2, which is to apply heat and give myself massages. I bought a hippie heat pack: a bag filled with wheat grains which you can put in the microwave/oven for heat or keep in the freezer for cold treatments. It's pretty good actually. I've been using various topical rubs to generate bloodflow to my shoulder, white and brown Tiger balm, an American one containing arnica called Badger rub and the dit da (medicinal spirit) from the swordschool. I've been wondering how deep the heat effect and positive benefits actually penetrate to the muscles. The heat I feel from the rubs lasts longer than the dit da, with the Tiger balms lasting longest. The brown Tiger balm produces terrific heat which is almost unbearable, while the white version (contains more mint and less camphor) is more mild. Then again, I have the feeling that the dit da penetrates best.

Step 2 involves heat treatment and massage up to three times daily for 14 to 30 days depending on the severity of the injury. For safety sake, I'm going with the latter. Another tip in the book is to learn to recognise the difference between pain and discomfort. With the former you stop, rest, take painkillers and recoup. with the latter, you can push it a bit more, but not too much. I guess you learn to know your own body and its limits. Steps 3-7 involve retraining the nervous system, stretching, light and then heavier exercises. As long as I take things handy I'm hoping this system will complement my physio and tui na treatments. More info here: Injuryfix

One weird symptom I've had for a while now is that I get a smell "stuck" in my nose. I can smell something and then that scent overrides everything else for the rest of the day. Some triggers I've noticed include the chemical/rubber smell in Biltema (I know it's strange!) or espresso coffee. The chemical smell is like some sort of cleaning agent with an antiseptic perfume, while the espresso just smells like espresso. I like espresso but I don't want to smell it all day! It could be the temperature difference between inside and outside during the winter or the fact that it is so dry inside. I'd seen an ad for a type of pipe you fill with warm salty water and pour into one nostril. The water fills your sinuses and when full it pours out the other nostril. I thought it would be fun to try out so I got a pipe. It comes with a little measure for sea salt. When the pipe is full of tepid water you add the salt and the salinity (0,9%) is supposed to match the mucous membranes of the sinuses and doesn't irritate them. It works! It does feel a little odd as you can feel your sinuses filling but as long as you keep your head tilted forward the water doesn't run down your throat. Blow your nose to finish off and hey presto! Fresh tubes and no weird smells! Yaay!

The lack of physical exercise and Christmas splurging has meant I've put on 5 kgs since November. Horrors! I started to go for a walk the other day, got 100 metres down the road and slipped on the path. I didn't fall but pulled my shoulder quite badly as I stuck out my arms to keep my balance. So much for getting some fresh air. I have looked into getting those thingies with spikes to put on your shoes to stop you slipping on ice in winter that old people use. A somewhat less geriatric solution is to either get spiked winter shoes or boots, like the IceBug ones. These have √§lypiikit or intelligent spikes! They retract on stone or concrete but stick out in ice or snow. Brilliant! It's also now possible to buy sets of removeable spikes which you can put into the soles of your own shoes. My wife suggested that I join a gym to get some exercise without the danger of slipping or falling but I think gyms are daft. Anyway, during the holidays I was playing interactive games on the PS3 and noticed how I was starting to sweat while playing virtual table tennis. I am not in shape. Anyhow, I noticed that last year I got a virtual gym programme for the PS3 console, which I'd never used. I gave it a go for about 30 minutes non-stop and got into a right lather. It's got all sorts of exercises and fitness programmes to work on cardio, core, legs, arms and burning fat and calories. You can even set up your own programme, which is great for me because I can remove those exercises which may put undue strain on my shoulder. Neat!

Looks cool right? Right? Unfortunately, you don't look terribly cool while doing the exercises. More like this...
But hey, it's better to do something than just sit on your ass and eat chips, isn't it?