Sometimes it is easiest to ignore that nagging back ache or stiff shoulder. After all, you have things to do and it isn’t like you can’t move at ALL. But what happens if we ignore the nagging pain?
I get it. I’ve done that. Because I have, and because I have experienced the consequences of it, let’s talk about why that is a really bad idea.
I had some issues with my right shoulder after reaching out and back into the back seat of my car without turning around. If you have children and have ever handed back a tissue or toy to the wee one in the back seat, you can picture the movement.
I noticed the pain immediately. I also immediately decided it was bearable. And then…I ignored it. The pain didn’t diminish. Over several weeks’ time, it took on a life of its own. I could be sitting perfectly still and I suddenly had a breathtaking pinching pain right at the apex of my shoulder. I WASN’T EVEN MOVING! Later, I developed headaches. I also had burning pain whenever I tried to move.
When I finally decided it was more than a minor nuisance, and could no longer tolerate the nagging pain, I started physical therapy. Because I had waited so long, my problem went from a simple muscle issue to a network of challenges that affected my ability to sleep and almost my entire right side. Over time, I was once again able to use my shoulder comfortably and my sleep issues decreased. I am more convinced than ever that addressing a problem EARLY will not only prevent further damage, it will also help you learn to move in ways that you might not have considered.
Working with your strengths and abilities is the hallmark of an excellent physical therapy program and critical to individualized care. You have a right to expect that from your physical therapist.