Cry Me A Rotator

August 5th, 2011

I knew my corpse could be kept on ice for resurrection by some wack-ball pseudo-science. I did not know my rotator could be given the cold shoulder by my own body while it was alive and well and living next to my torso. Welcome to middle age.

Who ever heard of a frozen shoulder? Let’s see, my dentist, her assistant, Mom, my boss, a co-worker, and Teri Hatcher. Apparently one in four people over the age of 35 are so blessed, most of them menopausal women over 40. The Japanese call it “fifties shoulder.” I was surprised to find George Michael on Apparently his shoulder let him down too — so much for “Freedom.”

This is not supposed to be happening. I eat organic, spend a gajillion dollars a month on food-based vitamin supplements, I exercise every day. I feel good, look younger than I am, I’d like to think I’m kind of a poster girl for age as a state of mind. But one day in March something fell out of the kitchen cabinet and as I jerked to react my bicep tendon sent an arrow straight to my pain receptors. “Weird,” I shrugged.

Soon an annoying intermittent jab in my left arm became an alarming 24/7 stab, accompanied by such limited painful range that I can barely douse my armpits with deodorant, and I sure as hell can’t change a light bulb or reach behind to touch my back. Doc says if I went to a desert island I would recover on my own… in 1 ½ to three years! Meanwhile, back on the mainland, a cortisone shot, the electrical stimulus machine I’m wearing right now, and pricey and time-sucking twice weekly physical therapy might cure me in a year or so.

Shift your shoulders down and toward the back of your body so that your shoulder blades come together: Apparently that is the healthiest stance for your shoulders. Bad posture is a suspected cause of adhesive capsulitis, aka frozen shoulder. Other risk factors are diabetes, injury, too much exercise, too little exercise, and just plain being alive.



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Our Friends Say
  1. Harriet says:

    Hi Marcia. After reading your post, I automatically sat straighter and pulled my shoulder blades together. I need a recording of your “do this” to play at my desk all day long. Ever since I got a herniated disc in my neck after 20 years of slouching at a computer I have been much more mindful of my posture. What a wake-up call. Unfortunately, I started to forget that painful lesson the minute I began to feel better. Thanks for the reminder and hang in there. It will get better.

  2. Don says:

    I am at Frozen Shoulder Land twice a week—I, too, had this little sensation thing going on for about a year—left side—down the arm near the tricep.

    Then, about a month ago—I couldn’t move my arm during YOGA.

    I know I have awful posture and I sit too much and I type too much and I’m a bit of a sloth…

    This thing is so painful! But I have the cutest physical therapist and he is ripping my adhesions limb from limb. It’s fabulous. And then he moves my bones around like he has giant gorgeous strong hands and I have just a sad old man left shoulder. Oh wait, yes, that’s exactly what he’s doing. It’s a thrill.

    Look—we’re at that age where certain tissues are turning sclerotic.

    But at least we’re not in our 70s—the famous age where someone coined the following line:
    “Whatever hasn’t dried up is leaking.”

    Let’s get old and laugh and die together. It’ll be fun.


  3. Lis Peery says:

    I’ve never been in as much pain as I was when I had frozen shoulder. NEVER. Acupuncture and massage cleared mine up in a matter of months. That, and copious amounts of weeping and profanity…..

  4. Nadine says:

    I noticed this post on the sidebar as I was reading the current post about obesity (really good post). Everything clicked — this is what I currently have. I’m having problems changing clothes, getting tickets out of the parking machine while in my car and basically doing anything that involves rotating my left arm. Next stop — acupuncture!

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