Working with an Injury

Recently I abused my body in a workshop and ended up with a very sore, tight left shoulder/neck. I was very uncomfortable, but then began to experience some numbness and tingling in my fingerpads and extreme sensitivity in my wrist and elbow. This made me very nervous. Having been a personal injury paralegal for a number of years, I knew that numbness and tingling and sensitive nerves was not a good thing.

In the meantime I tried to continue my practice. In the first days I felt confident that it was just my normal shoulder crud with additional soreness from overuse. I got a couple of massages, which helped, but it got to the point where I couldn’t raise my arm beyond 45 degrees without serious pain and cracking. So I thought I might actually rest it for a bit, and alternate ice and heat (and Toast), along with some prescription ibuprofen. That seemed to help some. But I couldn’t help but notice that the Toast was losing it’s heat or that the pain and discomfort was getting worse and less predictable.

At this point at a previously scheduled doctor’s appointment, I mentioned it to my doctor. He immediately scheduled me for a nerve conduction study and EMG both of which were normal, thank goodness. I’ve been told to take it easy and have a follow up in six weeks. Muscle relaxers have worked wonders.

Once I accepted that my shoulder was not going to loosen up after a few days, I began to focus on the gentler side of my practice. When I attended class I only took the simplest form of each asana, but really worked on my form and breath. I couldn’t do much with the shoulder, it was really locked up, so just did what I could and really didn’t push to my edge, but I did try to work as hard as I could within my restrictions.

Now that my shoulder seems to be substantially better, I know that I have to accept my limitations. I can’t just try to power through. I have to take a step back and work on some basics before I can move forward again. But for every step back, I like to think I will take several steps forward.