Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pain in the Shoulder

The day before yesterday I woke up with an all-too-familiar pain in my right shoulder and right side of my neck, which made my usual morning RA soreness quite a bit worse. I had a lot of trouble getting out of bed that day.

I’ve actually been having pain in my right shoulder, under the shoulder blade, since college. The way I have to sleep to alleviate the shoulder pain usually leads to soreness in my neck too. The shoulder pain generally sticks around for a couple of days, or sometimes even weeks, and then goes away for a while.

The pain started in college, a month or two after I took a particularly bad fall while snowboarding in Mammoth. It was the end of a long day of snowboarding and we were coming down a relatively steep, shady, icy slope. I started to make a turn and then second-guessed myself and tried to take it back. Instead I ended up with my feet flying out from under me. I hit my right shoulder, then my head, and slid the rest of the way down the slope. The hit to my head was hard enough to crack my helmet (thankfully I was wearing one) so the original impact to my shoulder must have been even harder.

I was sore from the fall for a couple of days, but then I didn’t have much trouble with my shoulder until around finals, when I woke up one morning with a ghastly pain in my right shoulder and up through my neck. I saw the doctor at school and she sent me to a physical therapist. But I only saw the therapist once because he yelled at me (and made me cry.) I remember him yelling: “ARE YOU SURE THE PAIN IS FROM YOUR FALL? DID IT START RIGHT AFTER THE FALL OR IS IT UNRELATED? IF YOU DON’T KNOW, I CAN’T HELP YOU!”

Now, this type of behavior is probably not the best attitude for a physical trainer to have, especially towards someone who is hurting. It certainly scared me away. But just yesterday it occurred to me that maybe that rude guy was actually right. Maybe the reoccurring pain in my right shoulder is not from that snowboarding fall, the way I always assumed it was. I mean, it’s been about five years since I took that fall. What on earth kind of injury could still be causing me pain today? Maybe the pain in my shoulder was really the onset of my RA. After all, the RA picture I used in my very last post circles shoulders as one of the main problem areas.

I never told my rheumatologist about the shoulder pain because it didn’t occur to me that it was related. So I guess I’ll have to ask him about it next time I see him. ::Sigh:: Some days, my immune system gets an “F.” Lately, it's been most days.

In other news, because of the shoulder pain and the gray rainy day, I was unable to convince myself to go for a swim today. I thought I just didn’t have the energy. But I did manage to guilt myself onto the stationary bike for about 15 minutes (while watching The Biggest Loser, obviously). I rode for 15 minutes and then I took a break. Then I rode for 15 more. Then 15 more, for a total of 45 minutes and 10 miles. So that felt pretty good.

Then, those of you who know me will never believe this: I decided to go for a jog. In the freezing rain, no less. Let’s get something straight: I don’t run. I hate running. I never run. In fact, that’s originally why I started swimming and playing water polo – just so I wouldn’t have to run. I’ve always felt like running was too tough on my knees and ankles (early RA warning, perhaps?) I also didn’t like the jarring, the banging of my feet on the pavement, as it always seemed to make my ever-present headaches worse.

But today I think I must be totally losing my mind because I decided it was a good idea to go for a jog. I wanted to, for some reason. It wasn’t a long jog – just around my town home complex until River and I were both soaked and freezing- but I actually did it. And you know what? I felt pretty good afterwards. Especially when I shed my wet sweats and sat in the hot tub in the rain.

I think I’m going nuts.

P.S. Even though I dried her when we got home, I just walked into the bedroom to discover that River had jumped up on the bed and had actually snuggled herself down under the blankets. I guess she really was freezing from that run!

1 comment:

~kelly marie~ said...

Congrats on the run! I never hated running, but it wasn't my favorite thing either. As soon as I couldn't run anymore, I kept wanting to go run a few miles!

I hope your shoulder starts feeling better!