The Shoulder Mystery

For a long time now, I’ve had a strange shoulder condition which has been giving me pain and discomfort. For the longest time, I had very little help or support from doctors, and have basically had to just “get on with it”. Slowly, I’ve started to get some answers, although it’s still a work in progress. For those who are interested, here’s the story so far…

I have, from the day I was born, had very loose and “clicky” joints. Including underdeveloped and dislocated hips as a baby; I spent the first 10 months of my life immobilised in a splint.  This meant that I couldn’t learn to walk at the usual time, instead I learned to talk (and it can be argued that I haven’t shut up since!), and was reciting the alphabet at 10 months old! Since then, I’ve always been great at the booklearning, less great at the sporty stuff. As much as I enjoy playing sport, I usually regret it the next day when I’m reaching for the painkillers. Not to mention the agony of the teenage growth-spurt! Sometimes, I think I’ve been given the body of an 85 year old (except that I’ve seen not sprightly 85 year olds!).

Approx 8 years ago, I was working a “sort of” science based job where I had to label 2,000 Petrie dishes with a label gun (similar to those ones you used to get in supermarkets). There were 500 per box, and I got through 4 boxes. In one day. Subsequently, I ended up with a repetitive strain injury. A few months later I also left that particular job. As it turned out, the lab work was less “sciencey” and more like a production line. A few months after that, my shoulder was more or less back to normal, and I had started work at my current employer (but in a different capacity).

Things seemed fine for a couple of years and I was simply getting on with work and life.  I have always found driving very tiring, and something which generally doesn’t agree with my joints.  After a particularly long drive one Christmas, I was suffering a fair bit with my “usual” joint pain.  Myself and some family were spending a couple of days at Centre Parcs over the Christmas period.  It was suggested that going swimming, might help to ease the pain. Unfortunately, for me, the pool had a wave machine (and I am not a vey stong swimmer), so I spend a good portion of the time clinging to the side hoping not to drown!  The following morning, after a particularly uncomfortable night, I awoke to discover that my neck and shoulder were completely locked up and nothing short of complete agony.

From that moment on (and that event was now 4 years ago) I have been in constant pain.  I have seen doctor after doctor.  I have had 2 cortisone injections.  Months of physiotherapy. X-rays.  More physiotherapy.  Private osteopathy treatment and acupuncture – which I have learned NOT to mention to the doctors, who just roll their eyes when you say you have tried ANY type of homeopathic treatment (despite the fact that you can be prescribed acupuncture on the NHS).  My poor liver is probably damaged from all the painkillers that I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I am also currently relying on friends and colleagues to give me lifts to work, which us an hour drive from home.  If I drive myself for more than approximately 3 days in a row, I end up unable to move, and have to take time off work.  Coupled with the fact that I have periodic migraines, my work has started to question all the sick leave (which is no secret, I have sent emails, letters, had face to face meetings with my line managers and HR – none of which has made any difference according to “official” records).

I have seen the orthopaedic surgeon twice now (the first time prescribing more physio – done. Next?). The second time 2-3 months ago and I am now waiting, and waiting, for my next apparently “different” course of physiotherapy.

To be honest, I’m not that hopeful.

But, to anyone who is interested, I will update progress in due course.

To be continued. Dot. Dot. Dot.

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