Here are some examples of how you can modify those simple, everyday activities I mentioned in the last blog. Make these modifications to keep from hurting, and therefore damaging, your rotator cuff;
1) Lower the items you lift from higher to lower shelves. Use step stools to reach the things you can’t lower. Move things around in your house! Store the things you use most in mid-level cabinets. Remember…don’t put them in the bottom cabinet either. Don’t forget your poor knees. Keep top and bottom cabinets for stuff you use once a month.
2) The sleeping issue is a tough one. But for sure you must stop going to sleep with your arm over or under your head. You can’t much effect what you do after you’ve gone to sleep, but if it wakes you up in pain, then put your arm back down. In time you might get out of the habit of doing that. Adjust your pillows to encourage your shoulder to stay in a painless position.
Also work on your sleep hygiene. Better sleepers are less likely to wake up with pain. See my blogs on sleep deprivation. http://barbarabergin.posterous.com/tag/sleepdeprivation
3) If you’re not an experienced throwing athlete, you should be careful when you start throwing as an adult. This is no different than trying to run a marathon. You’re not going to start out with the 26 miles. Start out with one. Same for throwing. Don’t go throw 40 balls to your 6 year old on day one. Work up to it. Make sure a few throws aren’t causing frank pain. Throw underhand. Don’t be a hero. Really. You’ll end up like bunches of my dads; not being able to do it AT ALL! Same with tennis and weekend warriors. Follow the old rules you learned a long time ago which still hold true. Work up to it. And if you have pain above and beyond the mild soreness you get with a new exercise routine, then back off. Try something different. And if you’re dead set on doing this activity and it’s causing pain every which way you try it, then you probably need to get it checked out.
4) Get a smaller purse or open your passenger seat, put your purse in and walk around to the other side.
Modify any activity which is not necessary to do for the quality of your life. If you can modify…then modify!
These are good rules of thumb for just about any adult repetitive strain disorder. I have followed them myself and have cured myself of shoulder impingement syndrome, greater trochanteric bursitis, ankle tendonitis, tennis elbow, among other things. Yep, like you, I’m falling apart. Getting old. I’m entering those “golden years.” And I continue to try to beat myself up. But I stick to these principles and most of these conditions are dead in the water in about 6 weeks or less. I usually try to get well without medications so I can test my theory of activity modification out. And it works.
Next time I’ll talk about what to do when modifying an activity affects the quality of your life. Therein lies the rub.