Since seeing my doctor last month about the persistent pain in my wrist and shoulder, my wrist has recovered almost completely. Throwing a bundle of remedies at the wrist (changing mouse hands, changing desk and chair at home, wrist bandage, and prodigous quantities of anti-inflammatories) seems to have given it enough of an opportunity to heal up. Unfortunately, as my wrist got better, my shoulder got worse. (Or so it seemed. It might well have been just as bad all along, but cloaked by the higher-priority wrist pain.)
The other remedy my doctor lined up for me was physiotherapy, and I had my first appointment yesterday morning. Based on previous experiences with physiotherapy, I was expecting to come away from the session with a list of tips to improve my posture, and a photocopied sheet of daily exercises to strengthen my shoulder muscles. What actually happened was more like magic.
While lying down on my back, the therapist manipulated my neck by lifting up my head and rolling it around from side to side. Then she picked up my right arm and spent about ten minutes gently pulling, pressing, and twisting it in the air like a snake charmer. She suspected that a bundle of nerves had got bunched up and uncomfortably twisted, and she was trying to “unwind” them. She kept her eyes closed for most of the time, concentrating on what she was doing with her hands. It felt like an odd and very focused kind of massage, punctuated by occasional sharp bursts of pain when she pushed my arm into the zones that had been giving me trouble.
When I sat up again, I felt a pleasant glow spreading from my shoulder down to my elbow, and I found that the arm had complete freedom of movement again with almost no pain. To be honest, I was shocked. I really hadn’t expected the change to be so complete and so sudden. But it was an enormously pleasant sensation to be able to rotate my arm in a full circle again without it hurting.
The therapist said that there is probably some soft tissue bruising that might take some time to heal, and that a further session or two might be necessary to work out some final knots and twists, but essentially I’m fixed. Wow.
For the rest of the day yesterday I couldn’t quite believe how good the shoulder felt. I found myself tensing up, and not using my right arm too much, out of fear that I might break the spell. But even now, a day later, the pain is still mostly gone.
Hey, going to the driving range might start being fun again!