I have so far dubbed 2015 the ‘Year of the Shoulder’ in my clinical practice. Almost every client I’ve seen so far has consulted me for shoulder pain. Almost everyone has also come to my studio saying they realize they have been working too hard and not taking enough time out to rest.
These two things often go hand in hand. We ‘shoulder’ too many responsibilities, shoulder the burdens, and sooner or later our shoulders start to get tired from the constant ‘weight’ of all that tension. If we don’t pay attention to our body’s need for rest to balance with our work and stress, it creates pain messages that are the equivalent of shouting to get our attention. If we continue to ignore these messages, our bodies stop functioning as they should and collapse, ‘seize up’, ‘freeze’, spasm and/or experience constant strong pain. Just like you, your muscles get tired when they work long and hard, and they need to rest to recover their strength.
Are you listening to your body? Rest and time out are the Yin to the Yang of work. Neither can exist without the other. If you demand a lot of output from your body you must be prepared to give it what it needs to restore and recharge.
One of my clients worked constantly all last year in a state of overwork and stress. She ended up by December with extreme shoulder pain followed by major restriction of movement, being unable to raise her arm to shoulder height. An MRI confirmed her doctor’s diagnosis of frozen shoulder. She was offered cortisone injections or a procedure known as ‘shoulder manipulation’ under general anaesthetic, where the ‘frozen’ arm is forcefully moved to the extent of its range to break up adhesions around the joint. As you can imagine, patients usually experience a lot of pain following this procedure. She decided against both these options and decided to try Ortho-Bionomy instead.
We began sessions in early January, with visits twice a week initially, reducing to weekly, and fitting around her schedule – so far we have had 9 sessions over 7 weeks.
After the second visit her pain was less frequent and less intense and she was sleeping better. Since then she has had more improvement every week so that now she only has occasional pain in certain movements, can use her arm almost normally and sleeps comfortably, with approximately 70% of her range of movement restored. Other clients with the same condition have needed treatment over longer periods up to around 6 months. For clients who begin their sessions after having the condition for 12 months or more, the recovery time may be longer, but generally with obvious improvement each week that we work. This contrasts starkly with the 18 months that many doctors estimate for recovery of this condition.
Many people believe the medical treatment options shown above followed by painful physiotherapy exercises are the only possibilities for this condition. However my experience has shown me that the pain-free approach of Ortho-Bionomy is extremely effective, usually with quicker recovery times and more lasting results. Because it is a gentle technique with a strong focus on immediate pain relief, it is suitable for clients suffering from intense pain and severe restriction of the shoulder and arm. Beginning sessions early is also beneficial, as this client’s experience shows – she began Ortho-Bionomy sessions soon after her diagnosis. She was also very committed to using the release techniques I gave her for home use and the combination resulted in her quick recovery from this debilitating condition. She is also taking steps to reduce her workload and increase rest time to balance with work and stress levels.
Another client works long hours 6 days a week and developed shoulder pain that was so strong it could take his breath away. He was becoming dependent on strong pain killers to get through the working day, which he was not happy about. After his first Ortho-Bionomy session he had the best night’s sleep he’s had in months. He also remembered during that first session that he used to have a long bath once a week, listen to music and fall asleep, which allowed him to forget all his worries.
I asked him why he stopped doing this for himself and he said he didn’t know why or when it had happened. I suggested that he bring this habit back into his life – we should all give ourselves permission to take time out from the work and stress more often. If we did that, we would balance all that tension and responsibility with some restorative relaxation, and our bodies – particularly our shoulders – wouldn’t need to shout so much to get our attention.
This information is offered as my opinion and should not replace medical diagnosis or treatment.
Ortho-Bionomy is the trademark of Ortho-Bionomy Australia Ltd and is used with permission.