I saw the orthopedist this morning. I spent two hours, mostly filling out paperwork and waiting, waiting to fill out more paperwork, waiting for my name to be called, waiting for x-rays, waiting to be evaluated by the stawart young assistant, and then around fifteen minutes actually talking to the doctor.
The diagnosis: Frozen shoulder
The prognosis: Good
The treatment: There is no treatment.
So, when I had this condition in my left shoulder in 2007, I went to another orthopedist, who gave me a cortisone shot somewhere in the vicinity of the pain and prescribed physical therapy three days a week. As it was the middle of the Centennial celebration and I was working 24/7, I didn't go. Later, in early July, I started appointments with my own massage therapist, who eventually worked the shoulder back to near-normal.
Today's doc says that probably none of the above made any difference. He does not advise *any* specific treatment, although he's willing to try anything, including passing me to his more aggressive partner, who might do manipulation under anesthesia, x-ray driven deep injection or even some form of surgery. According to the handout I was given, ultrasound, acupunture and leeching might also be prescribed. (My own guy mentioned acupuncture as a possibility, but declined to suggest the leeches.)
He did give me a prescription for physical therapy, if I choose to go that route, and said he'd hook me up with an MRI if I wanted to rule out a rotator cuff tear, which we both know this ain't
. And he gave me some stretches to do to help with the pain.
The upshot is: A frozen shoulder will eventually thaw. In the meantime, it's painful and restrictive. It's also rare for the condition to manifest itself in more than one shoulder, so I'm privileged. The good news is, my doc has *never* seen in reoccur in the same shoulder (in answer to my question about having this happen every three years for the rest of my life). Evidently it's more common in women of a certain, ahem, vintage, so it might be tied to hormones. According to my handout, "diagnosis and treament of this condition has alluded investigators for over a century."
Great. I'm feeling a little historic now.
I have already booked my first deep massage in nine months for next Monday evening! And even if it doesn't help the shoulder, it will feel great everywhere else!