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2 posts from August 2010

August 16, 2010

Unbelievable Shoulder Pain Story

A few months ago, a Michigan woman was so desperate with the shoulder pain she was suffering from at night that she actually took a gun and shot herself in the shoulder in an effort to get some more intense care for her shoulder.  Of course, Michigan=s economy is hurting, this woman was out of work and out of insurance, and she had been long suffering from shoulder pain.  Chronic pain is obviously miserable. Chronic shoulder pain can alter your judgment just like all pain can.  Shoulder pain, just like all pain, can cause you to be depressed. This woman felt powerless, and while this is an extreme example of what happens to people when they are long suffering from shoulder pain, neck pain, or any pain, it is rather incredible.

This situation also speaks a little bit about the inaccessibility of care.  I would argue that even if she had care available, this problem tends to go on and on and on and on.  Shoulder pain, the research will tell you, tends to be a continuing problem.  Some of the other recent research that has come out  that I have found interesting is that a good daily exercise routine is just as good as surgery one year out from the surgery. This finding has been actually in a few large studies regarding shoulder pain.  Orthopedic medicine is interesting, as the best research comes from the Scandinavian countries, as they are basically more organized.  In any case, there have been two fairly recent studies suggesting that exercise is as good as surgery for rotator cuff small and medium-size tears.

Getting back to this poor woman who shot herself, it turns out that fortunately she missed the major structures.  Permanent damage was not done.  She was sent home in a sling, given some antibiotics and some pain medicine, and sad to say there is not a program to help out with her shoulder.  We have tried to reach out to her, trying to help her with her shoulder pain, as we think we have a really elegant solution, but we have not been successful yet.  If anyone knows this woman from, I believe, southwestern lower Michigan, please have her contact us.  I have blogged before about how chronic pain can affect the way you think, can affect your brain chemistry, and as someone gets more and more exposure to pain, the less able they are to deal with it.  You would think that maybe it would increase their pain threshold, but that is unfortunately not the case.

When it comes to shoulder pain, anyone who has read my blog before knows that our research and my belief based on that research and experience is that it is such a problem because people are injuring their shoulders at night, causing nighttime shoulder pain, causing daytime shoulder pain, impairing shoulder range of motion, and causing swelling and inflammation.  The key is to, in addition to strengthening the shoulder during the day, the key is to stop the cycle of injury at night.  Our research has shown a clear and effective way to do this.  We are marketing our system under the name Rotator Reliever, and we encourage people to check out this guaranteed approach to shoulder pain.  There is no money risk, and all they have to gain is a pain-free and fully functional shoulder.

August 10, 2010

Shoulder Pain and Lack of Sleep

Shoulder Pain and Lack of Sleep

Most of the time in this blog I have spoken about shoulder pain at night; why it happens and how people are suffering from it.  We know that the loss of gravity at night as you go horizontal  causes some compression of the supraspinatus tendon.  That compression robs it of blood flow.  That in turn causes it to become essentially unhealthy, as it is lacking oxygen, nutrients, and the ability to clear its own waste, if you will.

Today I would like to talk about what exactly lack of sleep does for someone.  I think it is an underrated illness I see all the time in my practice.  We know that sleep certainly affects one’s energy the next day B their alertness.  There have been numerous studies pointing to lack of sleep causing accidents.  Most of this research comes out of working with over-the-road truckers.  Additionally, one of the things not known about lack of sleep or not commonly known at least is that it increases carbohydrate cravings and leads to weight gain.  It really doesn't matter why you are staying up; whether it is shoulder pain keeping you up or a job that causes you to work all night.  I sometimes have to counsel patients that I don=t want them waking up early, causing overall lack of sleep, in order to exercise.  I think that is spinning their wheels.  They need to fit the exercise into their daily routine.  Lack of sleep has been shown to increase the sympathetic tone in the body.  Basically people are a little bit more jittery; that is, of course, when they are not drowsy.  There have been some suggestions that lack of sleep can lead to depression as well.

Whether your lack of sleep is due to shoulder pain or any of the other numerous reasons why people may have sleep issues, it is important to pay attention to sleep and pay attention to the quality of sleep, as it is your body’s time for recovery.  In my area of particular study, that has been the insight that I think all research has shown B that restless sleep causes rejuvenation of the shoulder and appropriate sleep position allows the shoulder to heal itself.

So, if you are not sleeping well, then start.  Just do it on your own, then touch base with your doctor or read a couple of articles. There are a few simple things you can do such as not watching TV late in the night.  The light from the TV or computer screens will often activate the brain stem to think that it is morning time rather than night time.  So, those are some of the few things you can do.

Sleep well.