Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oh, my aching shoulder

Apparently I have another gardening injury. For the last nine days I've had a muscle or some other tissue in my right shoulder that's painful - either achy or a sharp pain, either beneath my shoulder blade near my spine or on the outside of my shoulder. I've had three massages and appointments with my chiropractor and my acupuncturist. They all say, "have you been gardening?" or "yes, you've got an injury". And I have full range of motion so it's not a rotator cuff tear.

This pain is especially bad when (1) I'm trying to go to sleep at night or (2) I work on the desktop computer). I've tried heat and ice and exercises and they're of limited use. The best solutions are to stay awake, to stay off the computer, or to be 20 years younger.

I've limited myself to absolute necessities on the computer: finding the number of a Honda repair place to get a quote on a timing belt replacement; getting the route between my house and a drumming circle meeting; checking multiple times to see if my friend and housekeeper has responded to my question about whether she'll be cleaning next week before my granddaughters arrive for a visit; checking my online calendar for times of meetings. Once in a while I sneak a game or three of Candy Crush (I'm mortified to say I'm on level 461).

I always regret spending more than five minutes on the desktop. My shoulder starts to ache, or aches worse. If I've gone all day in reasonable comfort, and then I spend half an hour working on a genealogy project, and the shoulder aches. Then I lie in bed for an hour or more trying to get into a comfortable position and then I wake up every hour to replace the ice pack.

I decided recently to wean myself from computer dependence. It's not friendly when I spend a few hours a day with my back to my husband. He has said he feels left out. So the timing is not really that bad for me to have this gardening injury.

What about balancing the bank statements, though, or reconciling the credit card? I like to get right on those when they come out. Being up to date with finances gives me the illusion of control.

Give it time, I'm told. And then those ugly, ugly words: "As we age, our bodies take longer to heal." I hate that!

Instead of spending a lot of time on the computer this week, I've sat in my garden, torn out the spent peas and spinach, picked some green beans and beets and carrots and zucchini and eaten a lot of blueberries directly from the bushes. I've spent more time with my cat Larisa (she's currently sharing her yard with my sister's four cats and one morning she got chased by one of them; now we put a baby gate on the stairs to the deck to keep the various cats in their places). I've gone to bed early with my husband and read to him until he fell asleep. I've read more than usual. It's actually quite like the days BC (Before Computers).

Maybe the Universe is helping me spend less time on the computer by making it painful. I'd like to think I could have done it on my own.

By the way, this blog was created on my laptop, on my back deck. Different position, not so painful.


Olga said...

I often think I should cut back on computer time, but I hope the universe is not listening to me if an injury is the answer. Hope you feel better soon, but there is something about those shoulder injuries...persistent cusses.

Madeline Kasian said...

Not sure if you really want all this "advice" but I have had shoulder issues too and my husband and I are in natural health care (Nurse Practitioner and Chiro/Acupuncturist.) For me, during a bad shoulder episode,I sleep best on my back with a pillow laid long wise,supporting both arms,shoulder.If any way possible, get a couple of acupuncture treatments.i also do brief healing meditations where I repeat "This injuuy came up suddenly and it can also GO SUDDENrY." I just tell my mind/body spirit it is ok to heal suddenly, just like the injury came on!!

All that said,I also use ibuprofen in prescription doses to get a good nights sleep at least 2-3 times a week.I avoid the drugs otherwise.I discovered that a homeopathic cream called "TRAUMEEL" helps a whole lot too!!

Hope you feel better soon!!!!!!

Of course I have to say that this info is not meant to substitute for medical care. LOL!! It's just what works for me!! <3

Madeline Kasian said...

Excuse typos! It's dark out here on my patio!!

Betty said...

Three words I hate to hear from my doctor: "At your age....."

Arkansas Patti said...

Wow, I sure feel for you. I've been nursing a bum shoulder since January from a fall. Even though I had a scary, unusual reaction to the steroid shot that I finally got after several months(racing heart and zooming blood pressure),I wish I had gotten it sooner. It really turned me around from almost crippled to functional. Still have some pain but very minor by comparison and I can live with this if it never gets better. Pretty sure age was a big factor. Sigh. Hope computer abstinence works for you,then maybe moderation?? Be well soon.

DJan said...

I had a real pain in the next a few weeks back. Something went "ping" between my shoulder blades and for two weeks I was miserable. I finally got a really good massage (it was already getting better, though) and that took care of the rest of it. We really are beginning to need to take better care of ourselves as we age. I'm the oldest Vashonista and still kickin'! :-)

Mango Coffee and Me said...

Good luck with healing your shoulder Linda…my experience (unfortunately extensive) with various injuries is that if they tell you to back off on an activity that caused or exacerbates an injury, in your case desktop computer usage and gardening, heed the advice. Sometimes it can take months but if you don't allow full recovery it will take MORE months. Sit on your deck; enjoy the tranquillity of the summer days. Relax your shoulder. XX

Tom said...

Sitting at the computer can be hard on your body. It's really important to take a lot of breaks; do some stretching -- and relaxing on the back deck ain't bad for you either!

Linda Reeder said...

If you really do have a "gardening injury" you should have some idea how it happened. Just plain achy muscles don't last that long. Then of course one thing can trigger another, like muscle spasms.
Anyway you seem to have figured out what you CAN'T do for a while. But there is always the lap top!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you are in pain. That is no fun, and especially when you have things to do.

A solution for the computer problem: sounds like you have a desktop? You should look into a laptop or tablet that you can use any where, even facing your husband. 8-) I also use my iPhone as a computer. I take it everywhere and do 99% of my email on it. I also prefer texting to email or phone calls so the phone makes that easier, too. You can even play that crazy game on it.

Unknown said...

Gardening is gratifying work, so it must be frustrating for you to have to lessen your gardening. Perhaps cutting back on computer time could do the trick to relieve the soreness? Though sometimes you'd have to spend time in the computer for some reason so you can't escape it. Did your chiropractor teach you exercises that you can use when the pain gets to unbearable? I hope you can find a solution to this! Take care!

Alfonso Warren @ Arkansas Pioneer Chiropractic Health Centre

Unknown said...

We really can’t deny the fact that as we age, our bodies take longer to heal. It’s good to know that you have consulted with a chiropractor and an acupuncturist. I hope that your appointments with both have been continuing on. Anyway, spending a lot of time in front of a desktop computer can really cause you body pain, especially if it is not ergonomically designed. In any way, I hope that you're faring better these days, Linda. Thanks for sharing that! All the best to you!

Derek Sparks @ Forgey Chiropractic

Unknown said...

Looks like the pain is triggered when you’ve been stuck in the same posture for a while. That’s how I inferred it, based on how the pain goes bad when you’re trying to sleep at night or working on your desktop computer. How was it after you resorted to different alternative treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic and massage? I hope they somehow helped you alleviate the pain in your shoulder, and all other sort of pain for that matter.

Jacqueline Hodges @ Dr Koziol