Shoulder Almost Fully Rehabbed!


Over the weekend I did a dead hang with almost no pain at all. I’m talking a 1-2 on the pain scale. I felt so good that I also did some scapular pulls hanging there. Today I added up dog pushups to my routine. Prognosis, I am almost completely recovered.

Actually doing the up dog pushups caused an old elbow injury to rear its ugly head. It’s not that I have reinjured it, it is something that just flairs up from time to time when doing pushing motions. I messed it up in my twenties doing seated triceps pushdowns. I guess the ligaments weren’t strong enough to handle the load my muscles were. Luckily, I think I have found a rehab program for that too. I’ll keep you posted on how well it works.

I know it seems like this has turned into the shoulder rehabilitation blog, but my real purpose for this blog is to keep this human machine running (in the best condition) I can for as long as possible. It’s about the challenges I face in accomplishing this as a 49 ½ year old man. It’s also about the challenges I face trying to be resilient as the middle class implodes.

Life Update

About 2 months ago (maybe more), the spin cycle on my washing machine went out. Since I live paycheck to paycheck, buying a replacement is kind of like sticking my elbow in my ear – not sure how to make it happen. So we have been wringing out the clothes by hand before we throw them into the dryer. What a beating, especially with towels and sheets. None the less I remain undaunted. I am a rock, nothing can break me and nothing keeps me down for long. That is one of the gifts of my faith.

Well I started telling guys at church about it whenever they would ask how things were going. I made it a point to tell them that I view the questions “How’s it going” and “How ya doing” as two completely different questions. The timing of the washing machine going out just makes me laugh (We went a week without a water heater back in November). Turns out a guy (a friend) at church has one in his garage – a remnant of combining households with his lady. Then my mom informs me she found out that my aunt has one in her garage as well. The timing for getting my aunts was better, so I hit up a different (younger) guy from church for help since he has a truck and strong back.

We got the washer (and her extra dryer) on the April 8th, I hooked it up, and ran a test run to make sure everything was kosher and hooked up correctly before I did a cleaning cycle on it. Well, it leaked during the spin cycle. It also spit some weird material all over the drum. It looked kind of like paper does when you leave it in your pocket and run it through the wash. I swept out what I could and then vacuumed it out, but it just kept coming. It was coming out from under the agitator.

So I get out the tools, break loose the rusty bolt, and remove the agitator to give it a good cleaning. Man it was filthy under there. It must have been a decade of fabric softener build up that molded and then dried up once it was put into her garage. First I took the agitator outside and scraped it as clean as I could, then I had to start digging it out of the drain screens in the washer. Once that was done I vacuumed it out, reassembled it and did another test run. This time it leaked during the agitation cycle as well as the spin.

The leak was coming from directly underneath the washer toward the front. My ex-brother in law told me it was most likely the pump. The screws holding the front of the machine on are rusted in, so I just pulled the top up and looked down inside from there. I tried to look, but couldn’t really see where it was coming from. It was only leaking about a pint of water, so I figured I would just put a towel down and soak it up when I did a load. I started it up and threw the soap in to mix. Before I could add my clothes water was coming out from under the machine. It was now leaking full time. So I stuffed towels around the base of the machine like sandbags during a flood and did my load. It completely soaked two towels.

I still consider this progress. Having to use a couple of dirty towels to keep the water at bay in order to do a load of laundry is still better than wringing them out by hand. The spin cycle on this thing works great!


Shoulder Rehab – Almost there!

Today I find myself wanting to skip my shoulder rehab work. Not because I can’t stand it anymore, but because I have other demands on my time and I feel good about the progress I’ve made. My mind is telling itself that it’s not that big of a deal if I skip today because I am definitely getting close to full recovery, and if I skip a day it’s not really going to make much of a difference.

The problem with that however, while it may very well be true, is that this is how habits are formed. Since my rotator cuff is no longer holding me back it gets easier and easier to ignore treating it until it just becomes forgotten. I need to make this a daily habit, just as I have my neck mobility. Once it is, then I can skip a day here or there because I won’t forget to do it the next day. So now I must force myself to do it, so that the habit which forms is one of daily maintenance, not letting it slip by the wayside. So without further ado….

I just did 1 ALR stretch and kneeling ALR with 3lb, 1 LR stretch and lying LR with 3lb. I pushed a little further with the stretches. I have to be at 95% ROM (range of motion) on my injured side compared to my healthy side when achieving pain level 5 (at least with scapula flexed back and down), and I held it for 40 seconds this time. I also did 25 reps with the dumbbells.


Shoulder Rehab – Making Progress

The last couple of days I have taken a break from rehabbing, I had a serious issue with my foot. I woke up in the middle of the night in excruciating pain right across the bridge of my foot, right in the center. It hurt to move, the pain was preventing me from going back to sleep, so I zoned in and out of consciousness for the remainder of the night. When I got up to get ready for work I could put almost zero pressure on my foot, and barely made it to my closet to get the cane I keep there. Even with the cane, getting to the garage where I keep a pair of crutches was almost undoable. (I keep crutches in the garage because when you live life full tilt, you sometimes find yourself in need of them. They are in the garage because I learned the hard way that the attic is not a practical place to keep them should you suddenly need them.) The only thing I can think that may have caused the problem was either sleeping with my foot hyperextended for too long thereby straining the ligaments or tendons, or some kind of insect bite. I didn’t see anything that would indicate an insect bite though. The pain was comparable to a hairline fracture.

I am also out of Move Free, but have been adding collagen protein to my coffee this week.

Yesterday I only did one stretch and no weights, and the day before I did nothing. Today I didn’t notice any setbacks though. My foot is recovering pretty rapidly, yesterday I was able to trade in the crutches and come in to work using only the cane. Today I am using nothing, but I am still limping.

It really feels like I am making great progress with my rehab now. I’m still working in the “level 5” pain range, but I’m getting more ROM. I performed 2 sets each of ALR and LR stretch, 1st set is done with scapula rotated back and down, 2nd set with serrates flexed.

1 set ea. of ALR and LR exercise, 20 reps with 3 pounds. Note: I am doing both shoulders.


Shoulder Rehab – Making Progress

Over the weekend I did a dead hang from a pull-up bar with scapula activated (pulled back and down). Didn’t time myself, just did it as a test so I hung as long as I could keep very strict form. This morning my adducted lateral rotation stretch didn’t hurt as bad, and when I activated my scapula I was able to get more range of motion without any additional pain. For the exercise I upped the weight to somewhere in the 3-5 pound range, I used my lunch bag so I’m not sure about the actual weight. It has a bowl, a can of soup and a glass jar in it.

My side lateral rotation stretch didn’t hurt as bad either, but I wasn’t able to get more range of motion out of it. Instead of my usual isometric contraction I used the purple band so I could start working on strengthening my range of motion.

I only did 1 set of each exercise, and I worked both shoulders.