Today I completed my 28th session with a torturo-therapist.
Today marks the end of my twice-a-week visits. Next week I start one session a week until the end of July.
So how I am going? Well, an artist I will never be…. these are the 3rd or 4th renditions but you will get the idea. They might have been better if I'd had a compass and protractor set – but probably not!
This is the exercise I do most of - the I's, Y's and T's..
First I lie on a bench on my stomach with my head and shoulders hanging over the edge and then lift my arms to make the letters IYT. I do this with no weight; 1lb weights and then 2 lb weights – 2 sets each letter position with each weight.
I then stand and do the same letters but with 2 sets of 1lb weights and then 2 sets of 2 lbs weights. I did advance momentarily to a 3lb weight but on the first Y I did something very bad to my deltoid muscle – something that required me not to do any lifting at all for over a week and then to downgrade the weight!
Oh – but I've jumped ahead! When I first get there I do 10 minutes on an "arm bike" and then I lie on my back on the bench and my torturer pulls my arm as hard as she can and then ties it with belts to the legs of the table. This is extended stretching – 6 -8 minutes in 3 different positions. This hurts!
Then I do those IYT things and then I get to play with giant elastic bands on a pulley – those are actually pretty easy and I am on the strongest elastic. They don't let me do many of these as I am strong but I don't have range of motion - doing strengthening exercises when you don't have range of motion shortens the muscle more.
So here we come to "art' displaying what my range of motion is:
Lifting my arm straight up from my body (in a Roman salute motion) gets it *almost* level with my ear – I have 8 more degrees to achieve full ROM. (cartoon top right)
Lifting my arm from the side of my body – it also has to get up near my ear….. I find this one the hardest motion to do. It feels as though a huge claw is sitting on my shoulder when I try this. Degrees to full ROM – another 36 degrees!
Then, that handy little movement that allows you to do up your bra at the back instead of hooking it at the front and swiveling it around (not easy in humid weather!)…. it also has more than 30 degrees to go but this motion doesn't hurt – it just doesn't happen! (Edited to add: that's the bottom photo but things have got reversed – my right arm is at the bottom trying to crawl upwards but it should be on the right hand side because you are looking at my back. Where was GOM when I needed him with his snazzy little line drawings!).
Oh and another one which I didn't draw because I forgot it… See how easy it is to get the crook of your arm (the inside of your elbow) up to your nose? My left arm does it easily so I know most of you can do it too… Pathetically, my right arm crook is 7 inches away from my nose – and that's with cheating a little by bringing my head forward!!
These ROM limitations are why I have to keep going to PT - I hope I will be done at the end of July. Sometimes I feel that I'm never going to get the full range back but then I remember how at first I couldn't get my arm an inch away from my body in any direction and I realise how far I've come!!