Hi, I'm Dr. Molly with Your Goals Physical Therapy. If your shoulder impingement is stopping you from kayaking, this is the right video for you in this video. I'm gonna talk about how my client, Penny overcame her shoulder impingement and got back to kayaking so much faster than she thought she would after months and months of dealing with doctor's offices and not feeling like she was getting anywhere and she didn't have to have surgery and she didn't need any medication to get there. So let's get started!
Kayaking. So Penny was telling me that she and her family just love outdoor adventures. So she's a mom with three boys and her husband loves, loves, loves to go camping and do all these outdoor recreational things. And so one weekend they put the kayaks on the car and they went down to one of the little lakes around here.
I think it was one of the nature preserves and the family's all kayaking. Well, what good would any kayaking trip be, Unless there was at least a little bit of race or some antics among family members. Right? So she's racing one of her sons and she knew it when she did it. She just pulled really hard and her arm went and did something weird and she's like, “I don't even understand how I did it, but I just knew something. My shoulder was gonna be sore the next day.” And she was perfectly okay with that. She's like, “I know what I did. I know I irritated it, whatever.” What she wasn't prepared for was that it would take months for that to stop.
About a month after that weekend, Penny thought that that had been enough of a break for her shoulder. It wasn't aching all the time. It was only a little bit. So they decide that they're gonna go on another adventure and do one of the ropes courses where you're latched in. The ones where you're high up and you're doing courses that are uneven and you have to do a lot of balance. So there's a lot of hanging on. She's like, “I got up there and I was all ready to do it and just ignore my shoulder. But it just felt too weak and it was popping and I just didn't feel strong. And it was really, really uncomfortable.” So she had to sit it out. So there she was with all the stuff, just waiting for everybody else to be done having fun.
She's like, “It was miserable. So that motivated me to go to my primary care. And they ordered x-rays and MRI to see if there's something going on in my shoulder. They said there wasn't anything that they found on the MRI, just a little bit of inflammation. So I was told to take these anti-inflammatories that they gave me a prescription for and rest it. So I rested it for another month, maybe longer, because life gets in the way. But it didn't get any better. So she called her PCP again and they sent her to an orthopedic.”
So the ortho said the same thing. There isn't anything really wrong with her shoulder. There's a little inflammation. If she wanted, they can do a cortisone shot for now and then here are these exercises. If it gets worse, then they’ll do surgery, If the pain just gets worse. She's like, “I don't want surgery. I just want my shoulder to stop hurting if there's nothing wrong.”
So she has a lot of conflicting information in her head. She goes home to kind of process some of that, but she's looking over the exercises that they gave her. She's like, “I don't have any idea how to do any of these. honestly, I didn’t even look at them again. I was confused by reading the paperwork. So I just didn't do anything. The cortisone shot didn't help me at all. So here I am still stuck, they're basically telling me my only option if I go back to the doctor is surgery. So I'm not really sure what to do.”
She ends up finding me on the internet and we talk. When she comes in for the evaluation, I walk her through what we’d be doing, she does some movement so I can see how her arm is moving. She shows me exactly when it hurts. I press on a bunch of things to see if we can recreate her pain and certainly make it better. Because that's ultimately the goal. And we figured out that she has a shoulder impingement.
So just for those of you trying to figure this out, shoulder impingement is really a mechanical motion. So your arm is not doing a really good job of rotating inside of its joint. And so the bumps on your humorous or your arm bone are hitting the top of the joint space. So you get this like pop and it can be, it can be anywhere from just uncomfortable to downright painful. It just depends on where you are in this process. So normally as you raise your arm you're okay, you're okay, you're okay. Until you reach shoulder level and you're like, I know it's coming. I know it's coming and as you keep going it gets painful and it's painful, it's painful. Then your arm is fully up right and it's done. You're like, why just this middle range from shoulder level to fully up right, why?
But it really affects more than you would think it does. So when you're trying to put your dishes away, it bothers you. When you're folding laundry, it bothers you. When you're driving, it bothers you and it's just this little annoyance that over time, by the end of your day, you're like, my arm is just achy and it needs to stop. And I don't like it and something has to be wrong because nothing lasts for two months, nothing lasts for six months, nothing isn't better with anti-inflammatories after months and months and months.
Again, during the eval, we were able to talk about that. Talk about how you take off the pressure, how you stop that pinch, what it is that we need to do to make her joint work correctly. Then ultimately to make sure all the other muscles around it are the right strength so that she can get back to kayaking. Because ultimately her goal was “I wanna be able to go and enjoy my weekends with my family and not feel like I'm old and decrepit and not feel like I'm gonna fall apart and not feel like I'm gonna rip anything to shreds. I don't want another injury. I just want to get back to my life. The way it was before I raced my kids, yeah I won, but I lost at the same time.” So, this is where she was. And we created a plan for her that worked for her in her lifestyle, talked about all the things that she needs to do and exercises she had the videos to do.
Now we are on the other end, and this is a wonderful story because she was able to go back and kayak with no pain. I won't tell you Penny was full force because it was her maiden voyage after all. So she was a little bit hesitant, but she was able to get out there. She had no repercussions, she was not sore. Everything was wonderful. She did race a little bit, but she was still very guarded, but she says that she knows that her shoulder is a lot better and she knows that with continuing what we've been working on, she'll be able to get a lot stronger. And so Penny is just super, super excited now that she is back to fully herself again and not feeling old and decrepit.
So if this is the type of care that you're looking for, I have a few things. I have a book where I put all of my best tips for shoulder pain. So if you're just looking for a little bit more information. To get to know me better or just to find out a little bit more information, I put all my best tips in my ebook. It's a shoulder pain ebook and I will leave a link to that below this video. You just click the button, fill out the little form and it'll send it right over to you. Or we can set up a one-on-one meeting. I call them discovery visits. Basically we just get to discover if we will work well together. If I will be able to help you get back to your goals, because ultimately at the end of the day, you should never be seeing any medical professional that is not going to be able to achieve the goal that you're looking for. If you're trying to get back to kayaking without any shoulder pain come and talk to me, during a discovery visit, we'll talk a little bit about what your goals are. I'll be able to see you face to face, see how you're moving and make sure that I'm the one that can help you get there. So I hope that you are having a lovely day and that you have kayaking on your to-do list for this month. You have a great day. Bye!
For more blog posts like this one, click the links below
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald