April 7, 2016

Does physiotherapy actually help?

The pain:
The ache in my right shoulder started sometime in between my wedding towards the end of December and moving day in late February.

At first I thought I had just bumped it (on what? walking down to the toilet in the middle of the night?), and that it would go away on it's own, but slowly it grew in intensity until I could no longer sleep on that side. 

The denial:
Between the wedding our move, we also had great fun decluttering and packing and then there was a gigantic renovation in between (see various blogs of mine on that topic!), so it was no surprise that I ignored the pain until it spread down to my elbow and then to my wrist, making any computer work virtually impossible.

The solution?
About 2 weeks ago, I finally took myself to my doctor.
She was not at all worried about my situation. Not half as much as I was, especially when she told me complacently that it could take 6 months to a year to heal. "Anything I can do to shorten that time?" I asked. "Like exercise, acupuncture, shiatsu, magnesium?" She looked at me with a sweet smile that reminded me of Mrs. White in 2nd grade. 

"You can try Physiotherapy," she said. 

So, off I went, full of hope and trust, to the Physiotherapy clinic at my gym, (yes, I know, working out can be bad for your health!). At the first session, my physiotherapist, who seemed pretty professional, but looked just slightly older than my 15 year old son, was rather disappointed that he hadn't healed me after a vigorous rubbing and pulling on my stiff shoulder.

The standstill:
I could see on his face today too, (our 4th session), that he was not pleased I still had pain. I wanted to console him. "It's more a 5 now, not a 7 or an 8, like it was before," but the expression of despair on his face was clear. He wanted better results, and he wanted them now. 

The reflection:
I know my body. It's fairly resistant - both to illness - but also to repair. Everything takes time, and if I built up this stress in my shoulder over the course of 2 months, then is it realistic to expect it to disappear in just 2 weeks?

Obviously, my guy thinks so, so he's referred me to his colleague, and hoping that she will shed more light (i.e. healing) on the matter. I hope so, but I'm not so sure. 

When I work with clients in therapy (mental, not physical), I don't expect immediate results. I know there's no magic pill for health. I just want a cooperative process where I can feel as if I'm also helping my body get better, while time, apparently, does its thing. 

The optomist:
Here's hoping! At least I can already spend more time on my computer - for work and writing - so it must have done some good so far!


  1. From my personal experience, physiotherapy actually can help - but it's certainly not the cure for everything. Sounds like they haven't identified the real cause of your problem which would make it hard to treat effectively. Fortunately, your physiotherapist sounds a bit more interested than your doctor so hopefully you make some progress there. Wishing you all the best!

  2. Dear Emmett, Firstly, thanks so much for finding my blog, and for commenting! :). I am happy to hear that the physio may eventually work. I should write a continuation on this blog - since then, I did acupuncture and also aryuvedic physiotherapy/massage. I would say that the pain has receded slightly, but I still wake up extremely achy and stiff, and mobility is still limited. Why the doctor won't send me to a xray or echo is not for me to guess (insurance costs?) but probably I will ask her for a referral soon, as I'm quite fed up with this situation!
    Again, thanks for commenting, and how did you find me? :)