Been dealing with some shoulder pain for over a year now. Yesterday I went back to my doctor again. He noticed that the muscle behind my left shoulder looks like it has atrophied. Since I am on vacation for the next two months, he suggested that I attend this special orthopedic rehabilitation training program. He told me that this program uses cutting edge training techniques that include the use of an ARP (Accelerated Recovery Performance) trainer, a type of electrical stimulation device, although it really isn't regular electrical stimulation. I figured why not. Anything to make the pain go away.
I attended my first session today. At this very moment, I am in so much pain that even my fingernails hurt! I was warned yesterday when I went to fill out a bunch of paperwork and sign up for the program that this was a very intense type of therapy. I figured it couldn't be any tougher than that first day of therapy after having my shoulder manipulation procedure done. Was I wrong!
When I arrived, I was asked a few questions, the trainer looked at the little dent in my arm and then he checked out my range of motion and brought over the arp machine. I told him that I have had electrical stimulation during acupuncture sessions in the past. He smiled.
He hooked up the two pads to wires and then put one of the sticky pads on my upper back right behind my shoulder and the other pad along the side of my arm right below my shoulder (where the dent is). He turned on the machine and told me to tell him when it started to feel intense. For a second it tingled and then WHOA it was very intense. He told me to raise my arm a few times. This would help my arm get used to the electrical stimulation. He said that the electrical stimulation was at level 2. He asked me if I thought I could take a little bit more. The machine goes up to 10. I told him to go for it. He moved the dial again. When it felt intense, I told him to stop. I asked him what number it was on. He said 2 1/2! I thought for sure he must have moved it to at least 4 or 5. To make me feel better, he did say that not many people tolerate it all the way up to 10 when the pads are on shoulders.
He walked over to get one of the colored weighted exercise balls. I recognized them from physical therapy. I hate those balls! He was carrying a green ball, which was 2 pounds. I was hoping for the yellow 1 pound ball. He demonstrated the first exercise for me. Three minutes was the goal for this first exercise. I don't think I even made 20 seconds before I had to stop and rest.
By the end of the first exercise (I didn't even get to my other arm yet), sweat was pouring down my forehead. The session had just begun and my arm already felt like I had done a three-hour work out. I ended up doing only 5 exercises total in one hour. The first three exercises were 3 minutes per arm and the last two were 2 minutes per arm. He did finally go get that yellow ball for my left arm but continued to have my use the green ball for my right arm.
The trainer was very kind and patient throughout my session. He joked at one point asking if I would be returning for my second session. He also warned me that tomorrow I may be a little sore. I think he was being optimistic. I could barely lift my purse out of my locker when I was done. My arms were shaking. I told him that I felt like my arms just ran a marathon. For the past six hours, I have barely moved off of my couch.
My next session is Saturday. This certainly is turning out to be a very different summer than my usual trip to Italy. Wish me luck.
*Update: I am happy to report that I survived my second session. I now feel like I ran 1/2 a marathon instead of a full marathon. Just to clarify, it is not a shooting type of pain, just really really sore from working out really hard. I am thinking very positively that eventually I will be in shape and my shoulder will be healed. I appreciate everyone's kind words and support. Thanks!