Friday, February 17, 2012

Fitness Friday: Working through Injury

Last week I had no idea that this would be my topic for this week. Unfortunately this topic is now very timely as I've injured myself and am dealing with a lot of both pain and frustration.

It hasn't come out of the blue but waking up Tuesday morning in extreme pain was a surprise none the less. For the past several weeks, the front of my shoulder/top of my arm has been tweaky. As a result, I've kept working out but stopped when it hurt. So lighter weights when lifting above my head or to the side, not going as deep into my pushups, and trying to keep it stretched out.

There is a moment when you hurt yourself that you ask yourself do I stop and baby it or do I lighten the load and keep working it, hoping to strengthen?

You know what I did and it was clearly the WRONG choice. My Monday night workout was only a 30 minute run. It felt awesome. There was no weight in my hand, no poses where I was supporting my body weight with my arms. The last thing I expected was to wake up Tuesday morning unable to move my shoulder without pain. Even completely still, it hurt. I couldn't put on a jacket or reach for anything. Moreover, ice and ibuprofen were not cutting it. Neither did an ibuprofen/muscle relaxant combo. Sleep on Tuesday night was a nightmare - this injury was actually more painful than when I broke my wrist! Finally at 3 a.m. I tried extra strength Acetaminophen WITH an added 200mg of ibuprofen. It was the only thing that would touch the pain. Notice I said touch, not alleviate. But resting my arm on a pillow and those meds finally allowed me to get some sleep.

My niece, who has a Masters in Kinesiology, was visiting and agreed that it seemed to be a deltoid issue or possibly a biceps tendon. By Wednesday morning I had called the doctor and left a message. I did NOT want to go to emerg and wait for 7 hours again. Though maybe I should have. All I wanted at that point were some drugs to work on the pain and any possible inflammation going on in there.

I didn't get in to see the doctor until Wednesday afternoon. The diagnosis was anterior bursitis, so I had the deltoid part right. As a result, I'm taking anti-inflammatories and obviously can't use the arm until it stops hurting and I've done some physio - at least a month's worth, according to Doctor's orders. Doctor was also sure to point out that this might have all been avoided if I'd treated it when it first started troubling me rather than leave it to exacerbate. She told me a good rule - when it comes to sports injuries and joints, they tend to come in pairs (knees, hips, shoulders, etc). If one feels different from the other, there's probably a reason. For someone who is usually good at listening to her body, I messed up.

I had my first physio appt last night and the diagnosis is slightly changed - not bursitis after all but tendonitis around my rotator cuff. That makes MUCH more sense to me, actually. I had some TENS type treatment with ice, did some range of motion assessments and got an exercise to do. I have to go back today and three times next week just to start. Fun.

I also filled the pain meds after a night of little sleep and a lot of pain. Last night the pain was greatly reduced while sleeping, and they didn't knock me out like I expected. I woke several times but went right back to sleep again. So no grogginess but I DO feel rested. Good move on my part. Made starting the day much easier. The PT suggested a hot shower to loosen muscles, alternating with ice for the inflammation. I have to admit - the shower felt heavenly.
Which is all well and good for the right now, but the question is - as I'm trying to lose more weight and I don't want to go backwards in fitness level, what do I do? First of all, I know I have to watch food a lot more closely as I won't be getting the same amount of burn from my workouts.

It is shocking to realize how much you use your SHOULDERS. Yoga's out - I can't do down dogs or cobras or any other position that uses my arms. I can't do my P90X cardio - it starts with yoga, goes to Kenpo which is punching and kicking and ends with Core which uses a lot of stability aka using your arms to support your body weight or hold poses. Kenpo's out. Stretch is probably okay. Any of the upper body strength workouts...nope. I can probably do plyometrics, modifying anything I need to use my arm for. I can make it through Ab  Ripper - modifying a few moves where arm balance is required. For example, the lateral hip raises where you balance on your elbow is out, but I did an alternative oblique exercise by doing a spinal twist and then oblique crunches to isolate the muscles.

I'm also doing Legs and Back, without the Back. Lunges, calf raises, squats - all good. I just can't add any weight like I normally do, because I can't hold it in my hand. Even running, the front and back arm motion is KILLER.

And there's walking. I hate to say that because it's not a high enough intensity for me, but at least it's moving and burning calories which may keep me from putting any weight back on.

Once things start to heal, I'll be able to add in exercises like running and very light weights along with my physio treatment.

The important thing to remember is something that I heard Tony Horton say: you injure your arm, you work your legs. Injure your legs, work your arms. Just don't stop. Keep moving whatever it takes. I know that feeling so frustrated makes it tempting to just QUIT until things are better. But I know I'll regret doing that. So until things are healed, it's up to me to be creative and keep my butt moving.

Any suggestions? I hate cycling, but for the first time in years I wish we had an exercise bike!

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear! I hope your recovery is a speedy one!
    I have been trying to lose weight too and was going well, though very slowly. Then 2 weeks ago i did something to my neck and now have wicked headaches whenever i move my head....needless to say all the weight i had been losing is back :(
    Hopefully soon i'll be able to get back to a decent movement - heads really are needed for more than we think!