I started to suffer shoulder pain last April, and it gradually got worse until I could hardly lift my left arm out from my side more than 40 degrees. I wasn’t aware of having damaged it at any time. It just got more and more stiff and painful.
For a while, I thought it would simply get bettter by itself, like other injuries, but it didn’t. Eventually, I went to the doctor who said it was a rotator cuff tear and she referred me to the physio.
You can sometimes wait many weeks for an NHS physiotherapy appointment, so in the meantime I had a couple of sessions with a private physio and then a manipulator (a tough elderly chap, who worked hard on the joint for an hour). Those sessions eased the pain a bit, but brought back no more movemment, so I started to wonder what on earth was the problem.
Talking to other folk my age, it seemed that just about everyone has had the same sort of problem at one time or another. I was worried that I might need surgery.
Then, an appointment came up at the Physiotherapy Service at Slateford Medical Practice. What a nice place it is – situated beside Slateford Green, a small car-free area.
My physio was called Gavin, and he did a very systematic analysis of my problem. At this stage I was still a bit skeptical about whether I needed physio or some other sort of treatment, but Gavin made it clear that he would stick with it until the problem was sorted. He gave me two exercises to do on a regular basis, and after only a few days I could feel a slight improvement. The exercise that worked the best was holding a broom stick in both hands, in front of my body, and using the good arm to help the bad (left) arm move up above 40 degrees.
I saw Gavin three or four times, and each time he gave me different exercises to do, including one with a strip of latex which I held in both hands and then did a ‘hitch-hiking’ movement with the left arm.
The final exercise was to stand in a corner with both forearms at 90 degrees, and push against the wall for 30 seconds. A great execrise!
Movement in my arm is now about 90% and improving gradually.
I can’t praise the NHS Physiotherapy service enough. I hope the reform of the NHS doesn’t screw up the service.