It’s been about a week since I saw the Physical Therapist for my arm. That appointment was on the third of this month, and it went very well. The PT guy, Scott Hickenlooper, I saw was very thorough.
He noticed I tend to sit in a slouch and told me to correct it as that may be part of the problem with my shoulder, so I’ve been working on maintaining proper posture while seated at my desk. Hurts my back a little, but I’ve noticed a definite difference in a variety of things about myself with the proper posture.
When I went in, I had a pretty wide range of movement in my arm, but Scott tested my limits by having me move my arm every which way it could be moved. I of course experienced pain well before full range of motion, but he seemed pleased with the range of motion I had. He brought in a little model of a shoulder joint and explained I’d probably strained or irritated the muscle which comes in under the shoulder bone (the part which connects to the collarbone and, iirc, makes the socket of the arm joint) and over the ball of the arm joint. Our best guess is that I slept on my arm wrong, which he didn’t seem to think to be anything out of the ordinary.
So then he had me lay on my back. I should probably mention he was testing my right arm’s range of motion as well as a sort of guide to what limits my left arm had due to the pain. With me on my back, he tested my right arm’s motion by having me completely relax it so he could move it every which way. There was no problem with this.
When Scott moved my left arm, I had slightly greater range of movement and the pain wasn’t as sharp or debilitating. This however meant my shoulder now hurt. I wanted help sitting up when he told me to, but he didn’t help me ’cause he wanted to see how I managed to wrangle myself upright without complete use of my left arm, and he seemed satisfied with the care I took.
When I explained I wasn’t using the sling unless I was square dancing—to remind other dancers not to jerk my arm behind my back—Scott said he would have told me to stop using it anyway. He did approve my use of it in dancing once I explained that some of the calls we perform result in the arm being drawn back into painful range.
I also showed him the exercises the ER doc had given me to perform, and he told me he was going to give me exercises “the next level up” from those. So now I do scapular retractions—draw shoulder blades back and down; arm slides scaption—where I slide my arm out at a 45 Degree angle; arm slides flexion—where I slide my arm out in front of me; and arm slides abduction—where I slide my arm straight out from my side. Scott told me to use a foam roller to do all the arm slides with, and to perform 20 repetitions of the exercises 2 times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
Before I left, I asked him about his last name, Hickenlooper, because it was so unusual. He said it has something to do with his ancestors “leaping” over hedges to poach from the king’s lands, then joked that he was trying to repair the thieving reputation by going into a respectable career.
He wanted me to make an appointment to see him again in two weeks from the third, but there weren’t any available to see him until the 23rd of this month, so that’s when I’m going in, at ten again.