Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Never Tempt the Gods


So, after I allowed as how I couldn't wait to try the muscle-up, it appears that I will be able to wait after all. How long, I dunno, but after tossing my grandson, a well-appointed boy who is probably seventy pounds and tall for his age, into the air a few times, it appears that my failure to warm up properly has come back to haunt me.

I pulled something in my upper back.

Not fighting off nine ninjas whilst out walking the dogs; not even in silat class doing legwork. Hoisting my grandson up for "wheee!" Worse, while I was hoping it was the trap, I don't think it is, because of where the pain is, how much it hurts, and a couple of tests one can do to narrow down which muscles might be involved. That's the curse of having a little knowledge, you can't be blissfully ignorant of some things.

What I fear is that I tore my rotator-cuff on the left side. Just a partial, and probably in the supraspinatus, one of four itty-bitty muscles you can't get to from the outside -- infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis being the other three. For years, I've done shoulder exercises to prevent just this.

I hope not. I hope I am out-of-practice in diagnosing such things, that's is just referred pain from a few strained fibers in the trapezius, and in a week, why, I'll be right as rain.

But: ice, eating ibuprofen like M&Ms, rest, and wishing it into the cornfield have thus far done little to make it ease off, so I expect that I'll be calling my doctor tomorrow and seeing if she can see me any time in the next eight or ten years.

And if'n it is what I hope it ain't, the options of doing what I'm already doing, cortisone injections, or surgery will be bandied about. None of which appeal, thank you.

Ick. Ick.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi,

i'm a regular reader of yours and i got interested in silat because of your blog and the blogs of your friends (now trying silat mindanaw asli and really interested in maul mornie's silat suffian).

i hope you recover swiftly, painlessly and completely... and i'm glad you can still type!

tristan

Steve Perry said...

Thanks, Tristan -- I appreciate the good wishes.

Good luck on your silat studies -- I've heard good things about Guru Mornie.

Brad said...

Ouch! Makes my foot blisters seem tame in comparison. Hope you get to feeling better. And definately see a doctor. I learned long ago, stop self diagnosing. The docs aren't always right, but they are usually closer to the truth.

Mark Jones said...

Sorry to hear it. Here's hoping you're completely and utterly wrong....

Irene said...

's okay, now you can do left-handed machete training with me.

Dan Moran said...

Woah, big boy ... ibuprofen overdose is dangerous. You can wipe out your liver and other internal organs with the stuff if you take too much of it.

It's one of the few painkillers I'm allowed to have, because it doesn't cause internal bleeding. But you should really be careful with it.

Bobbe Edmonds said...

Ouch. Sorry to hear that old man. I've had to sit out of class because my herniated disc has flared up this week, so I can sympathize.

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

And/or possibly some PT. Ouch. I sympathize.

Steve Perry said...

Of course, today is my doctor's half-day at work, no way to get in, and since I don't really want to spend the afternoon at their affiliated doc-in-the-box just to get some good pain pills, I'll gut it out until tomorrow, when my doc can see me.

Long-term ibuprofen can rot your liver, but I should be okay at normal doses for a few days. Anything up to about 800 mg at a whack is okay for acute injury. (The OTC versions comes in 200 mg. but the doctor can prescribe the 800 mg horse pills for a round or two.)

Not that it does much, but it helps dull the ache some. An ice pack seems to offer about as much relief. Fortunately, I have this little neoprene shoulder strap that looks kind of like a bandoleer
in my orthopedic appliance box that'll hold a cold pack in place.

Sorry about your back, Kid. That's worse than this, and probably more likely to need the knife eventually ...

steve-vh said...

Sunday was the one year anniv of my shoulder spur cleanup that turned into a major reconstruction when they got in there. Not to put it gravely but everything changed afterwards.
The surgeon warned before " I really can't be sure what's in there till I get in. If I find something else, I'll be fixing that too".
Yeah sure, I was just happy to have someone finally agree that I had a real biomechanical issue.
3days in the sling became 6 weeks.

But getting to the point, i've worked extensively with a brilliant physical therapist. Due to alot of causal factors (genetics, hard labor, unresolved injuries, training like my hair was on fire for a decade), my body had done alot of compensating and it has alot of ingrained problems that we're still working on resolving.

Caution, alot of the things I thought I was doing right, were wrong too.
Something like this is a symptom of something else, not just a stand alone injury (specially in light of how you did it).
Listen to your body and spend the time to investigate with a good PT with lots of history. One that knows everyone's body is different and a result of all their years of physical experiences.
Good luck, the shoulder is a complex joint.

Steve Perry said...

Steve --

Yeah, I have to acknowledge that possibility. I spent some years working as a PA at a family practice clinic, got a fair working knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and tried to apply that to my conditioning. My best guess is that failing to warm up before hoisting the grandson aloft is the direct cause, but that could have been abetted by banging on that arm doing other stuff. Might have been the last straw kind of thing.

The rotator cuff is notoriously weak -- poor circulation to the tendons and connective tissue seems to be the culprit, and it's the most common back injury in people over forty -- especially among those of us who keep trying to move as though we were twenty instead of sixty. When I go to work out, I warm up. I need to remember that sudden weight-lifting counts at home, too ...

I dunno how my doctor will go, but I wouldn't be surprised to see an MRI and an orthopod in my future, and PT, too ...

Todd Erven said...

Guh, that sucks. I hurt my rotator cuff about 10 years ago and it still gives me flak some days.

Here's to hoping that it's nothing serious.

Dan Gambiera said...

Ouch.

Steve, you like Sera. But if you show up with one of your feet mashed you're taking it too far.

Steve Perry said...

Well, yeah, but according to some -- choke -- authorities, I'll live to be at least 102 years old. Not bad for a one-armed, gimp-leg when the normal life expectancy was probably forty ...

(Those of who not acquainted with the history of Silat Sera won't get the joke, but it goes to the supposed- founder of the art, who was reputed, among other things, to have a clubfoot and only one useful arm. And who, according to a writer who likes to use smiley faces in his books, lived to a very ripe old age in a time when such a thing would have been most remarkable.)

J.D. Ray said...

I used to toss my niece around like a sack of potatoes until the day I really wrenched my upper back. Somehow I hadn't noticed that the forty-pound giggling eight year old had turned into a hundred-pound twelve year old, seemingly overnight. Luckily her mother is a physical therapist and was able to provide some immediate massage care, which did wonders. I was still a couple weeks in recovery, and now my niece and I (she's sixteen, my how they grow!) restrict things to the occasional playful shove when the other isn't looking. I have to be careful with that, too, though, as she's quite the athlete, and can shove pretty hard...

Steve, have you ever tried acupuncture? In my experience, it's not the be-all-end-all that it's biggest proponents make it out to be, but it certainly makes a good supplement to Western medicine. It helped me recover from upper back injuries acquired in a car wreck some years back.

Steve Perry said...

J.D. --

Yep, I have used acupuncture, when I tore a calf muscle some years back. Helps with pain, though I don't know how much it works for healing injury.

I have a massage therapist that I see a couple times a month, and I expect that once we have a confirmed diagnosis, that will be useful.

I'm used to throwing weights around, but at the gym, I warm up and stretch. A cold muscle or tendon is more at risk for injury -- Just didn't have the grandson figured into my risk-category ...