Thursday, 11 July 2013

Shoulder Pain

I have a sore left shoulder today. It has been getting there for a few days and it is in full blown ouch stage now. I suspect I worked it harder than normal on the boat the last couple of days and this is the result. There is a low, incipient aching inside the muscles and a sharp pain when I reach, rotate or stretch. It feels like a pulled muscle or something along those lines.

This is a result of ALS. You might say to me "no, we all pull muscles now and again", and you would be right, partly. We all do just that. However contemplate for a moment how I might have done this, how I might have pulled to hard or reach too far or stretched round and craned my neck just a bit. You see when people with legs do these kinds of things, they use those legs to support their range of motion. I have no legs to do this.

Take for example the simple act of pulling on a rope. First of all, let me apologize to my sailing friends. I know that sailboats have lines, sheets, and halyards, not ropes. Not all the world knows this but most of us have pulled on a rope before. If you have, you know what it means to "put your back into it". Actually when you pull a rope or line, you use your whole body from your toes to your neck to do that work. You plant your feet, splay your toes, tense your leg muscles, bend your knees, arch your back and deliver all your body force into your arms.

In my case, there are no splayed toes. I cannot stand or use my legs to deliver energy to my upper body. Knees cannot be bent and held in place. When I arch my back, even when seated, I cannot do so fully for fear of falling off of whatever seat holds me. So all I really have is my upper back, somewhat, my shoulders, and my arms. This means I must work them all the harder to get the same pull result. When I pull a rope, there is no "get your back into it". It is only my arms and shoulders.

So it is no surprise that I pull muscles in my upper body more often that most. I use my arms and shoulders so much more than people with legs. It sounds odd, doesn't it? My arms are overworked because I have no legs. Yet is is true. The pain in my shoulder tells me so.


  1. While reading your post I had to act out pulling a rope. I know, I know, I could have just imagined it but I'm the type of person that has to see, hear, and do something. So while I read I pretended to be pulling in a rope and by golly I did use my entire body. I can now easily see how you would pull upper body muscles more frequently then someone like myself that has leg and back muscles to use. I do hope your shoulder will heal quickly for you and the pain will go away.

  2. I feel for you. Should pain can really be some sort of a problem, especially because it involves your movement patterns and articulation. Treatment for that should be very carefully applied. Anyway, I hope things are going much better for you now, and that you have been fully healed. Take care!

    Jacqueline Hodges @ Back and Neck Center of Brick