Have you ever just accidentally reached back for something super fast and ended up pinching something in your shoulder, the sudden pain comes down your arm and it's just shocking. And it makes you pause for a few minutes and then check, okay I can move my arm all right, Everything seems to be okay, but there's just a mild ache that kind of residual but it's not bad, It's just sort of noticeable. And you're like, okay, I think that's just gonna go away. That is exactly what happened to Erica.
So several months ago, Erica was in her kitchen and she reach down for something in her bottom cabinets, Right? She knows that she should squat all the way down and then reach in because it's kind of a low shelf and you know, but she's in a hurry. So she just bent down really quickly and reached back for something and felt that sharp pain that just takes your breath for a second and then you're checking your body, Just to make sure everything is okay. Well she was able to move her arm and she's able to keep doing what she was doing in the kitchen. So she assumed, all right, it's just annoyed for right now, It'll get better. And she kind of went with that thought process for a week now, or two.
Then, you know, then she's like, well, I mean, it's gotta get better eventually. It's not really limiting. I can still use my arm, but then it started to affect her workouts and it started to affect her sleep. This what seemed like it was gonna heal on its own has been lingering for close to six months. So at that point, you're kind of like, well, what do I do now? Right. So do I have to go see an orthopedic surgeon? What do I do to make this go away? Did I really damage this? And am I gonna have to have surgery? Is this something that cortisone gets rid of? Do I just need a massage? What is it that I need? So when Erica came in, these were all the questions that she had. Mr. Google had told her that it was a rotator cuff, but she didn't understand exactly what that would mean.
So it was just a lot, it's very scary when something is injured, especially when it interrupts your sleep, it becomes something that you really just can't stop thinking about, even if you can still do your daily activity. That was exactly where Erica was. Then her stress relief was working out and now she wasn't able to work out because everything that she did with her arm, especially with weight, was starting to bother her. So here it is, something seems relatively minor. I mean, how often do you have to reach back? You know, unless you have kids and you're trying to get to the backseat. It doesn't seem like it's something that you have to do all the time, but it really was affecting her life. And so when she came in, she had all these questions.
And so after watching how she's moving, I was able to go over and explain the questions she had, and kind of explain the different things and paths that she could take so that she could make the best decision for herself. So watching her move, I could see that things didn't move exactly the way that they were supposed to.
So I went and explained how the rotator cuff works. So your rotator cuff helps move your arm bone down and out of its joint. That way, when it rotates, it doesn't hit the top bone, therefore it doesn't hit your acromion. That's what you're trying to do, You're trying to get everything to pull down. And then that way you can rotate without getting that clonk, that click and the grinding that some people get. In her case, the sharp pain down the back of her arm, because every time that happens, that's telling her that her rotator cuff is being pinched. And a small pinch here and there is not a big deal.
I mean, our shoulders are designed to do 360 degrees worth of motion. So they are very mobile. The problem is that that means that they need to be very stable so that you don't have problems. And that conundrum is often what brings people in to see a movement specialist, something in that keeping the flexibility and making sure that everything is moving correctly is typically what happens. Something goes wrong in that. And that's what brings people in. Now, the pain in and of itself is just something being pinched. It doesn't mean it's torn. It doesn't mean there's any lasting damage, but as you can continue pinching it, eventually you'll bore a hole through that tendon, and that would require surgery.
So it's good that Erica came in when she did, because in just a few more months, that could have been a bigger problem. So it wouldn't just be some exercise and some learning how to move differently. It could be cortisone shot surgery because that pinch eventually will wear down the tissue. So that was kind of what I went over with in that.
So massages would definitely help relax muscles and help things feel better and stretch them out, but it's not gonna address the fact that things are not contracting when they do and really helping to pull down that arm bone. And so at this point, learning how to make sure her rotator cuff and her Deltoid muscles, and some of her back muscles are working correctly and working together. So that everything is aspiring in the order it's supposed to, that is ultimately what's gonna help her get out of pain.
Of course, just like you're experiencing, that's a whole lot of word salad. That doesn't mean a whole lot to many people, but after her first visit and just doing a few simple stretches and learning how to move within the range that she was comfortable with, she was like “oh my gosh, it's so much better. It moves better, It doesn't shutter as often, I don't get that pinch and I can sleep through the night.” Which was probably her best thing that she really appreciated cuz you know, who doesn't like to sleep well. So just by having somebody work with you and figure out exactly what's happening with your shoulder and what's causing your specific pain and what mechanisms are going wrong to cause that pain, is what a movement specialist is very good at.
And so if you didn't scoop the way down or did something else where you reach back really suddenly, and now you're suffering from this sharp or dull pain that goes down your arm then don't fret. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to have surgery, but it does mean that you need to have somebody help you kind of navigate that path back to healing and back to all your activities, don't stop working out, don't stop cooking and don't stop doing all the things that make life worth doing to avoid something that could very easily be fixed in not that long of a time. So I hope that this finds you well and that you are having a great day. Bye.
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