Monday, 2 November 2009

Shouldering a problem

I had my first ever visit to a sports massage practitioner.  I thought you might know what it was like.

I’d been having problems with my shoulder and upper arm for about a month.  I can’t remember what caused the problem, but if I had to blame anything it’s probably be gardening.

The first step was to expose the problem area.  So top half clothes came off and were replaced by modesty preserving towel.

My practitioner, Mark, explained that he’d be applying pressure and be asking me, on a scale of one to ten, how painful it was.

I’m not very good at explaining how painful something is.  The one to ten scale helped but only to make pain ratings relative.  How can one rate pain at a ten?  That means that it’s not possible to suffer further pain.  Of course it’s mostly possible to put up with more pain.

So with the first attempt I went with a score of four, and tried to score all other pain relative to that first score.

The other thing about pain is that it’s possible to be conditioned to it and, over time, accept more.

Apparently my score of seven has other people screaming “ten” and needing a piece of wood to bite down on.

We did hit a couple of tens but they were only ten relative to the other scores I’d made.  If the pressure had been increased I could have coped.

The other thing that I thought was strange was that a score of eight, after pressure was applied for a few seconds turned into a score of two, without any reduction in pressure.

He didn’t just apply pressure constantly.  Sometimes the pressure was moved back and forth on an area and sometimes pressure was applied constantly and my arm was moved at the same time to change to impact of the pressure.

Mark told me I might be a “bit sore” tomorrow, and the following day, but he also said that my pain threshold might mean I don’t feel too bad at all.

Let’s see how much complaining about my shoulder I do over the next couple of days, and see whether things improve by the end of the week.

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