Saturday, June 15, 2013

History of my neck/shoulder pain

Ok folks it's been a lengthy journey. I'm sure I've forgotten bits and pieces but I think this is main gist of the issues I've experienced with my shoulder. It doesn't feel like it, but it has been more than a couple of years of me dealing with issues with my left shoulder. Hell, my very first post on this blog was about me recovering from a partial thickness tear in my supraspinatus.  That was in 2008, FIVE YEARS AGO. That post was titled "hopefully short road to recovery"

Twice in my life I’ve had small partial thickness tears of the supraspinatus, first in high school during wrestling and again shortly after joining crossfit in May '08. Did physical therapy for both and seemed to make a full recovery.  As I got back into Crossfit I developed tendonitis in the shoulder. Learned about self-massage with a tennis/lacrosse ball, and finally fixed that.  Still had issues with tension in my neck, would crack my neck countless times throughout the day. Would also always sleep on my left side, with my shoulder compressed pretty much up to my ear. I also experienced some pain on the inside of the shoulder blade, but when I went hunting with a lacrosse ball I never seemed to really find it.  I also learned through seeing a chiro that my first and sometimes second ribs were almost always out of joint. 

Came across the Kstar Mwod that talked about stretching out the scalenes and how they can cause referred pain on the inside of the shoulder.  Started massaging the scalenes and that helped a lot; without the scalenes pulling on my ribs all the time they stopped being out of joint. However, it seemed like I was having to massage them all the time.  Learned I am tricep dominant (weird right?) and sleeping on my side was shortening/tightening all of my muscles. Eventually taught myself to sleep only on my back and things got considerably better, but still had a lot of discomfort.  I learned about hanging from a bar to help stretch things out.   With the hanging from the bar I could feel the adhesions in my neck tearing and eventually everything learned to stay loose and supple.  This stretch seemed to also help loosen up my tricep and chest.

It is at about this time I started to notice that I when I woke up I would experience temporary numbness in both of my ring fingers and pinky’s. Learned this was from my C7-T1 being out of whack almost constantly. Got some prolotherapy to tighten up everything and now I no longer have the numbness, but I still have the discomfort inside of my shoulder blade.  After seeing a massage therapist I learned that the pain I’m experiencing is coming from a super tight Rhomboid. He tried releasing it first but it would not budge. So after a while he gave up and released my scalenes, then my tricep, and then the rhomboid released “almost too easily”.  This granted relief for like two weeks, but my rhomboid slowly tightened back up.  According to the massage therapist it seemed like the tricep and rhomboid were playing tug of war.  This thought led me to start thingking these muscles are tightening up in order to try to protect some joint, but what joint or why I wasn't sure.

Saw a physical therapist for it and although there were some exercises that helped some, it did nothing to help the tricep and rhomboid relax.  I even told my PT I thought there might be some damage to the shoulder joint, causing the muscles to tighten up, and he told me that everything looked strong so that was unlikely. I finally decided to see a Physician's Assistant and after some tests he ordered an MRI with an arthogram. That proved that I have a laberal tear in the back of my shoulder, probably from an injury I got in high school.

So now I know what is going on, and the question is what am I going to do about it.  I am going to ask Dr. Hauser a ton of questions, and perhaps go the prolotherapy route since it helped out my hip so much. But for now, I'm just going to have to grin and bear it while I move to Dallas.

MRI Results

Well, looks like I have a tear in the back of the labrum in my left shoulder.  ...Having a tear in the back is fairly rare, but I think I know the exact moment of when it happened.  I was on the wrestling team in high school, and during practice I was slammed into the mat, shoulder first, so hard that I cracked my collar bone.  Upon that impact, the head of the humerus slammed into the labrum and caused the tear/damage.

It's not that severe, and obviously I can do a lot with it. I just have super tight muscles that hurt sometimes.  I don't think surgery is really a good option, so I'm going to try to do some physical therapy and then if that doesn't help maybe do some prolo.  It's a hassle since Dr. Hauser lives in Chicago and I am moving to Dallas, but I will be going back up there for the wife's family.

It's late so I'm not going to review the path that led me to this place, I'll do that tomorrow, but it is really, really nice to finally have an answer for everything. Now hopefully I can do something about it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Needles, Needles, Needles!!!

Ok so yesterday I had an arthogram on my shoulder. Right now, my shoulder is feeling… different, and not in a good way. Maybe a little looser in the socket? It’s like the arthogram awoke something wrong in my shoulder, now it clicks every once in a while when it didn’t before. The joint is super sore in the back area near the lat, completely opposite of where the injection site was. I cannot wait to see what the results will tell.

So I got a big injection yesterday, and today for my groin I tried dry needling for the first time.  Dry needling is similar to acupuncture, except they just stick the needles where the knots are.  Going in my hip/groin was feeling better than it ever has, so I was a little worried I was just wasting my time.  That turned out to be a needless concern.  When he worked on my groin it caused all kinds of… sensations. Like it felt kind of like a cramp, kind of like a shock of electricity. It was also an extremely specific like it was just a single strand of pain, the diameter of a iPhone connector cable, shooting up from my knee to my hip.  Highly foreign, and highly uncomfortable.  The PT told me that the sensations indicate that the procedure is being effective.  If that's the case I really needed this.

Afterwards it still felt like there were needles in me, but when the PT tested my range of motion it was pretty ridiculous how much more I could open my leg.  It still feels... strange, but I am to keep stretching it and hopefully it will get a whole lot better.

I also got my allergy injections today, so there’s another case of me being stuck by a needle.

Also, if this shoulder thing proves to be a torn labrum, I’m probably going to go the route of prolotherapy again.  That, as you know, means even more needles.  I wish I were more comfortable around them, but even if you’ve been stuck as often as I have, it’s still no fun. But if it makes the pain go away, then I’m all for it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

MRI for shoulder, done

So went in for the MRI/arthogram today. The Dr. had some issues getting the contrast into my shoulder joint, but the dude was an artist, only felt pressure, no pain. It was weird though knowing he was rooting around with a needle inside my shoulder joint.  Perhaps he had trouble getting the needle into the shoulder joint for the same reason they had issues getting the needle into my hip joint: the joint was super tight. The Dr. didn’t say that was the reason, but it would make sense if that were the case.  I see the PA on Friday, and he’ll go over the results with me. I can’t wait.

The should felt a little strange after wards, but in a couple of hours I was in the gym working bench press, got a new (calculated) 1RM with 11 reps of 185#, pretty happy with the 531 system.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Another Labral tear????

Well, I finally saw someone to figure out what is wrong with my shoulder.  …I don’t know why, but I feel like I’ve seen many, many Dr.’s about my shoulder. But as I sit here and think about it, I am not so sure.  So I saw a PA today and we did all kinds of tests.  After passing quite a few, he then gave me one where I had to resist pressure with both arms.  My right arm resisted, and my left arm went straight down. Like, I couldn’t muster any strength at all.  “Now we’re getting somewhere.” He tried a couple more tests, all of which I failed.

He told me these all point to having some damage to the labrum in the shoulder.

Really?  Really? Another laberal tear???

We are going to confirm with an MRI with arthogram.  It was funny, having the PA explain to me what the labrum is as well as an arthogram. …Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so familiar with this stuff.

I have no idea if this comes from my time with crossfit and its dangerous kipping pull ups, or it could have come from wrestling or whatever. This kind of damage can happen slowly over time, and I think that is what happened to me. Whatever the case, I am looking forward to getting the MRI and following that a real diagnosis.

Interestingly enough, I might decide to go back to Dr. Hauser for more prolo, this time on the shoulder. I’m pretty darn sure the situation isn’t dire enough to warrant surgery, at least not surgery without trying prolotherapy first. We’ll see how this works out.

I just want to know what is going on, so I can start fixing it.