Friday, 20 June 2008

The Last Physio

Nearly 4 months to the day, I had what was hopefully my last physio appointment.

Besides being significantly poorer, weaker and less fit where has this left me – with stronger joints, or so I hope.

So the theory on my injury goes as follows… I’m apparently hyper flexible in most of my joints. This means that I have a greater range of movement than the average person (whoever they are). Of course this is an advantage for me in regards to climbing, especially since I am short and have to contort myself into all sorts of shapes. However as with most good things, there is a negative side and that stems from the fact that my shoulder joints are unstable. I am more prone to injury when hyper-extended.

I’m not too sure if my condition is hereditary or not, but my grandfather had similar shoulder problems. I also didn’t help matters by doing a stint in gymnastics when I was younger. According to my physio they select people who are very flexible naturally, but through training they become exaggeratedly so to the point where it can cause problems.

Shoulder Impingement Syndrome normally takes only a few weeks to correct itself. It’s been 4 months for me and I still have a bit of work to do. I’ve had much more pain than normal as well. No one is sure why this has been the case. Because of this I always had a fear lurking in the back of my mind that I might have a rotator cuff or SLAP tear. While I still have pain this of course remains a possibility, however I am continuing to improve with the physio treatment and I am now at the point where even after climbing for some time I have minimal pain.

The Boring Exercises

My goal was to strengthen my shoulder joints and thereby making them more stable through various physio exercises. The exercises themselves also serve as a sort of engram to remind my shoulder how to move in a correct manner. They started as ultra-tedious, boring as reading a British climbing magazine, chore and progressed to where I am using real sized weights and am gaining lower traps strength as well as rotator cuff stability. As long as I climb, I am going to have to keep up with these exercises.

Certain movements still cause pain and I'm not 100% yet, but hopefully I will be soon. I don’t think that I am going to take up campusing any time soon, well I might give it a few weeks at least, but even more scary is the fact that I am running out of excuses for being cr@p – ugh!


Peter said...

wrt not campussing, what would you call your approach to the middle section of that competition roof climb last night?

Stuart said...

I wouldn't worry about a SLAP tear-whilst it doesn't show up on anything but an MRI its very easy to test for. Hold your arm straight out in front of you, palm up. Now get someone to apply force downwards to your palm while you try to resist. Hurt much at around thew area just above the crease of your armpit? Possible SLAP. Hurt doing undercuts or moves where the arm is extended but your hand twisted- even more likely. Trouble sleeping on the arm at night? Get an MRI! I struggled with one (that I just got fixed) for a year - trust me, you know when you've got one. If you don't have any of the above, don't worry about it.

Jenn said...

Thanks for your comments. When my shoulder was at its worst I did have trouble sleeping at night, but that is thankfully the only symptom that you describe which I have.

I went through a ton of movements with my physio to pinpoint what the problem was and he said that he was 90% sure that it was SIS. The problem was that it took ages to heal; hence our worry that there was something more serious going on.

I didn’t go for an MRI because they cost a ton of money, but I was going to do so if it kept on hurting for much longer.

Hope yours is doing better now!