Working with a Torn Shoulder

I pulled the muscles in my right shoulder, triceps and forearm in mid April. Combination of auto incident, moving heavy equipment and over-exercise. Might have damaged some connective tissue. The first 3 weeks, I decided to do a test. All my regular activities would continue as normal, and I would work through the pain. The idea was to test my ability to push on in the face of a serious injury.

I did well. (Pattin my self on my back – with the left hand…) Any degradation in my performance on the job was the result of spasms and sharp burning pain, but was short-lived as I pushed ahead anyway. After those 3 weeks, I visited my doctor, who gave me the usual advice about icing and heating, anti-inflammatory drugs, and stretching. He said one other thing. “Your connective tissue will not stretch as quickly or as well as when you were in your 20s.”   He was right. As well as I managed to perform, my pressing-on only made things worse.

Some of the pains have lessened, but there are a few that are persistent. I am no longer “testing” myself. I am watching what happens, and paying great attention to body position, posture, arm usage and informational pains.

I learned a few things.

  • proper warm up is important as we age
  • muscles warm up to a task sooner than connective tissue
  • proper stretching is done gradually, without bouncing or pulsing the muscle group
  • listening to your body is almost as important as listening to your spouse
  • any man can push it hard for a time, but the recovery will be lengthened

I know my limits fairly well. I’m no stranger to physical activity and injury. My thinking, though, was still locked into those early years where I was partly made of rubber and healed quickly. I still heal quickly – just not from ripped flesh. So, I’m making adjustments, and accepting that I’ll be carrying some pain around with me for a while. I’ve found that one old limit has been adjusted down, and that bothers me. On the other hand, as the country song says, I know for sure now that “I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once, as I ever was.” Heh heh heh heh …..

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