I asked my therapist this week whether he thought we were making good progress thus far. He responded by saying that he felt we were making progress, but not necessarily good progress.
I asked him why we weren’t making “good” progress. At this, he began asking me how far I was pushing myself during my home therapy exercises. I told him that I was doing all the exercises faithfully on all the days that I don’t come in there for therapy. He then began to get specific about some of the more torturous exercises. When I told him how I was doing them, he asked me why I wasn’t pushing myself more. I told him because I am not willing to put myself in as much pain as he was willing to. He told me that I wouldn’t make “good” progress unless I was willing to push myself to the point of pain – even when I’m doing my exercises at home.
He was speaking of a certain exercise which is called “wand external rotation – supine.” In this exercise your uninjured hand uses a wand to push your injured hand beyond where it wants to go. Think of somebody taking your arm and holding it behind your back and making you cry “Uncle!” We call those “submission moves” in wrestling and jiu-jitsu. In therapy, there’s a fancier name for it, but the bottom line is – it hurts and you want it to stop yesterday!
So, from now on, if I want “good” progress, I have to be willing to do to myself, what my therapist does to me. I have always thought that pain was an indication that you were hurting yourself, but in therapy for a rotator cuff injury, you have to force your arm and shoulder into painful positions in order to be able to get your range of motion back again.
I have been warned by several people that if you don’t do EVERYTHING your therapist tells you to do, no matter how painful, you will not get a complete recovery. I know that I’m going to get through this, and I know that I’m going to be a more compassionate person when I hear of others who are suffering because of this experience that I’ve had. In the end, I think that it will be kind of like my experience in the Army, I didn’t necessarily enjoy it, but I am glad for the experience, because I believe that it had a positive impact upon me.
Note: The post above is actually from Monday’s appointment (10/29/12).