Dealing With a Shoulder Injury

October 4, 2010

It was one of those events that feel like it’s happening in slow motion; when my feet slipped out from under me I remember having the time to make a decision to either hold on to the railing or let go and wham my back into the steps. I guess I was more afraid of hurting my back than my arm because I chose to hold on to the railing. In any case, the wrench that occurred didn’t seem like much when it first happened in January 2008 but as it turned out it took almost a year for full recovery. In spite of the trauma and pain I was able to use the injury as a learning tool and have since been able to help my clients to circumvent the months of pain and discomfort I experienced.

During the acute stage just after the injury; the most important thing to do is to stabilize the arm and shoulder. Here is a list of possibilities for this stage of treatment:

Note: Remember these are only suggestions; you are unique and you’ll have to experiment to see what will work for you:

  • Physiotherapists (physical therapists) can tape your arm so that it’s stable. The muscles that normally do this job have been traumatized and aren’t firing the way they should so some kind of outside support is crucial.
  • When sitting, don’t let your fingers droop over ends of the armchair supports. Keep hand in a neutral position and don't excessively flex or extend the wrist. 
  • If you have stuffed animals (as in teddy bears) in the house, they can provide stable support at night. These little guys are odd shapes which help when you’re trying to find just the right thing to wrap around your shoulder and into your armpit.
  • Another possibility for relief if your don’t have any stuffed animals lying about is to lie on your back with tiny soft pillow under outer shoulder for support and/or a small pillow folded  and inserted into armpit.
  • When you use hot or cold packs experiment to see what will work for you. People often ask which is better but really it all comes down to personal preference.
  • Frozen packages of peas make great cold packs and they shape nicely to the area and can be left on for long periods.
  • Soak in hot tub and use the other hand to gently dip affected shoulder into water and then allow the shoulder to feel the movement of water from the jets (you may have to stay some distance from the jets so that the force is not too strong).
  • The most important thing is to get the proper help before your nervous system gets really "nervous" and starts sending increasingly strong pain signals (this happened to me and it isn’t fun) and/or decides that the only solution is to freeze the muscles of the rotator cuff to prevent further injury.

Next week I’ll be writing about a very gentle way to start recalibrating the muscle firings in the shoulder and rotator cuff. See you then.

If you have any questions or comments visit me, as feldylady on Twitter or on my Facebook page under Sandra Bradshaw, Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner.


There are no comments on this post yet.

Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.