Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the Physical Therapist's ...

So I went to see the PT guy today. He did his evaluation -- pulled and pushed, tugged this way and that, and came up with his diagnosis:

I have injured my left rotator cuff.

Guy was good -- he asked all the right questions, did the tests, and even though I didn't prompt him with my own diagnosis, arrived at the same conclusion -- the focus was in the supraspinatus. A severe strain, i.e., sprain -- though they don't use the latter term much any more, and possibly torn. Only way to be sure at this point is to do an MRI, but since it seems to be getting better, we are going to do a cycle of PT. If, at the end of which, things aren't hurting and the weakness is gone or much improved, then it probably wasn't torn, or not much.

Look as if I have dodged a scalpel.

I have a little red rubber band, a set of exercises using it, along with some using itty bitty weights -- two or three pounders, max, and I go back for a follow up in a week.

I laughed at the pansy weights and rubber band -- but after fifteen reps on each of the exercises I stopped laughing. I thought I was passing fit, but the little muscles that help keep the shoulder stable and rotating hither and yon get tired real quick, especially on the injured side. I have to do a couple sets a day of each.

The good news is, I can mostly go back to doing my normal routines, exercise-wise, and in fact, the PT guy encouraged me to do my martial arts' forms, the djurus, since they work the rotator muscles in a good way. I can work the big muscle groups with things like chins or dips or weights, though I shouldn't climb the rope.

I'm not back yet, but I am on the way -- Boo-rah!


steve-vh said...

Outstanding! I've been doing those wimpy exercises for a long time with bands, ect.
Problem with muscles is, the stong get stronger and the weak get weaker, IF you have improper motion/form. Mutliply that times a few years of bad form and something will "break" for those of us with a tendancy to train hard.
Stick to those exercises faithfully and before long you will feel better(stronger, more capable) than you have in years.
Great news!

Steve Perry said...

Yeah, I'm gonna do 'em. Thing is, those muscles were pretty strong -- relatively speaking. James, my PT guy, pushed down on my injured arm and nodded, "Pretty weak." But on the right arm, he could have done chin ups. My big problems was thinking that my 70 pound grandson was still a toddler. I'd never have gone to the weight room and started tossing a dumbbell or kettlebell that heavy into the air and catching it without warming up, and never at that angle. I could have thrown him up all day if I'd kept my hands next to my body.

Martial arts tend to work the shoulders, rotationally, and our djurus hit them fairly well. Third motion of our first one almost matches one of the rubber band exercises at the bottom.

Still and all, you are right. It's too easy to over-strengthen the deltoids and develop an inbalance in the cuff. I try to work opposing groups equally -- strong abs are great, but you have to work the low back; thats why compound exercises are generally better than isolation exercises.