A year ago, I was walking my two dogs at the beach when one lurched in one direction and other decided to swing around behind me to catch up to the other. The result was one heck of a sore shoulder! For nearly 2 weeks I had trouble moving my shoulder without pain and I had many people telling me I had torn the rotator cuff and I was doomed for surgery.
Unlike myself, I let it sit and I took time off and then went back to doing yoga and activities that I normally do and just favored it, when it would speak to me. A year later, I found myself suffering elbow pain when I would massage my clients and physical weakening to the point I gave up many poses in yoga due to no strength and continued limited range of motion. Finally, a month ago I was looking at my shoulders in a mirror and I could see a structural change to my left shoulder, which is my dominant arm. Movement had become so impinged that I was compensating in ways that were not healthy long term for my body and shoulder. I showed my business partner and Rolfer, Cosper Scafidi, my upper body and he jump with alarm at the condition my shoulder. I was showing classic signs of adhesion encapsulated shoulder or frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder is the result of an injury in the joint where the head of the humerus, or upper arm, fits into the socket of the shoulder. The ligaments that support the capsule become inflamed and cause pain, stiffness and limited motion. Frozen shoulder seems more common in women and people living with diabetes and generally more cases appear in ages 40 and older.
I quickly got a prescription for PT and booked an appointment. I booked a Rolfing session with Cosper, and added one appointment a week for deep tissue massage, acupuncture and chiropractic. No wasting time, I want to be active and need my shoulder to do it!
The first week was torture! The physical therapist immediately started to work at stretching out the ligaments that were now glued to the socket and forcibly open the range of motion. Next day I saw Cosper for Rolfing. Rolfing is a different type of bodywork. Rolfing is often referred to a "structural integration". It works to realign the connective tissue, or the fascia, of the body.
Cosper has been Rolfing for 28 years and I love to watch him work on the intricacy of the body and it's sticky wrapping called fascia. Rolfers start by looking at the pull of the skin. In other words, if you have a frozen shoulder, the skin on my back, arm and chest pulls upward toward the injury and therefore throws the body's structure, the bones and ligaments, out of proper alignment. From the back, my left shoulder blade was higher than my right. My left shoulder joint also tipped forward, looking like I was slouching. My hour of Rolfing was not quiet!! I winced in pain and sweated as he drove his fingers through scar tissue to get the capsule, or joint to move.