Pain in the Shoulder

Back in July, give or take, I was out playing (losing at) tennis. I like to play tennis. I took a few years of lessons growing up, and it’s a fun, low-impact sport. Except I’m also competitive, and I don’t do a whole ton of physical activity. So of course, when I’m behind, I play harder.

I remember thinking, “This time, I’m really going to serve it well. Hard.” So I put all my oomph into it.

Something snapped in my shoulder. Not that it fell off or anything, but I felt it give way. It hurt some, and I knew it probably was a bad thing, but I played through the pain, and it seemed to improve.

Except it didn’t.

It came back, slowly but surely. While I was in Europe, I was driving stick, using my right hand all the time, the same hand that was attached to that shoulder. The pain got worse and worse, to the point that when I came back from Europe, it was really bad. Bad enough I wasn’t using the arm for anything. Bad enough that if I stuck it out in front of me, it wasn’t really bearable.

I had a physical therapist friend look at it, and he said he thought it was impingement syndrome. Part of the tendon was rubbing the wrong way against the shoulder bone. He gave me a few exercises to do to get over it. I did those more or less faithfully. It hurt at first, but the pain eventually subsided.

Except it’s still been there, lurking in the shadows. And here we are more than 5 months later. I finally decided it wasn’t going to go away on its own. Rather than ask a friend for a favor again, this time I went to my doctor and got an official referral.

When I showed up at my friend’s office, he kind of laughed it off, telling me we’d be able to do some more exercises, and chances were I wouldn’t have to come back again for another paid visit. Of course, then he actually did some tests. I didn’t think my shoulder was any different than my working one. But once we did those tests, I saw it’s not as flexible, and it’s not nearly as strong.

It’s got some real issues. Not serious ones, but ones that will need some work to improve. I’m glad I didn’t continue to ignore it.

So I’ve got a slew of exercises to do again, and I’ll be going back weekly for at least the next month or so. Fun times, but I’m thankful for insurance and modern medicine. Having shoulder pain isn’t fun, and I’d rather be rid of it than not.

Wish me luck.

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