I havenít posted here for awhile.
Just a little background: Iím fairly new to the chronic pain ďthingĒ. I have aching, gnawing pain in my left shoulder that never stops. I have neck pain, neck spasms, pain up and down my arm, headaches across the back of my head and numbness and tingling in my pinky and ring finger. Like most of you, Iíve been to see what seems like 3,000 specialists. So far, theyíve found nothing significant. Iíve had MRIís of my shoulder and spine, Iíve had a bone scan, had lots of nerve conduction studies. Iíve tried acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, chiropractic visits, osteopath, naturopath..you name it. Iíve tried probably about 30 medications until it got to the point that Iíve had to be on oxycodone since December of 2010.
I still really have no real diagnosis. I have mild cervical spondylosis which runs in my family and tested positive for the HLA-B27 gene. But according to the specialists and the MRIs my spondylosis should not be causing me this much pain. Iíve basically been told that itís in my head on many occasions.
My last two visits to physical therapy made my pain much, much worse. Every visit, they were passing me off to a different physical therapist and sometimes Iíd only see an assistant and they basically have zero training. Every therapist had a different approach to my problem. Some would give me hard, painful massages..others were gentle. It was a bad situation. They basically just threw up their hands and sent me home with a TENS unit, which doesnít help me at all.
So Iíd pretty much given up as that being an option. Finally, my PCP referred me to a physical therapist who is also a licensed yoga instructor. She doesnít use assistants and is always the one to see me. Itís her business so she takes a lot of pride in it. There is another therapist there as well who I sometimes see..but they are both great. They are both so encouraging. They have done exactly opposite of what other physical therapists have done. The others always tried to poke and prod at the sore spot and then made me do exercises to strengthen the shoulder. But like I said, the pain got worse. My current therapist told me that obviously, if the problem has been attacked directly with no relief, itís not actually my shoulder that is causing it..my shoulder pain is a result of another problem.
On my first visit she looked at me for about a minute and then pointed out to me in a mirror how my collar bone is visible on the right and not visible on the left. She also discovered my pelvis was twisted. Once that happens, it twists your spine, pulls on your ribs which in turn pulls on your shoulder. I also have a three inch abdominal diastasis. This is basically when your abdominal muscles separate and do not come back together. So instead of having your core muscles to stabilize your spine, protect your internal organs, etcÖyou are being supported by a thin piece of connective tissue. Men and women can get it. Women most often get it from having babies. Iím currently going through a program where I wear a splint on my ribs and work on abdominal contractions from a seated position. Apparently, regular sit ups make the problem worse.
We are also working on postural training and breathing. We have recently started to work on strengthening my hips and pelvis. Iím not pain free yet. But the numbness and tingling in my fingers has gone away. I can also lay on the floor now and put my arms on the floor on each side of my body (like you do for chest stretches). I couldnít do this before since my shoulder was pinching so badly. Iím also breathing better. The next step is she is going to tailor a yoga routine for me that is specific to my pain issues. She is fully confident that I can get better.
I know there are many people here that cannot do physical therapy. But if you can do it, and youíve tried in the past and it didnít work..look around and maybe try it again. I guess thatís really what Iím saying. Keep trying and keep hoping because thatís all we can do.
I donít know if she will be able to help me..but we are both working really hard and Iím starting to feel hopeful for the first time in a very long time!