But I thought it was my shoulders!

Over the past six months or so I have noticed some increasing pain and discomfort in my shoulders. Sometimes they would be worse after going for a run and so I would ease off on my activity over the next few days, but I discovered that it didn’t really bring much relief.

Often I would wake up with the pain and these were the days that taking a painkiller was the best way to navigate what lay ahead. Being the optimist that I am, I figured that they would right themselves one day if only I treated them with care, but as the months wore on I decided I should probably seek treatment.

My preferred first course of action is to see a physiotherapist. I find that usually my areas of pain can be managed with exercises and massage. So I presented my list of symptoms and circumstances to the physio who then proceeded to give me some exercises and strategies to try that were focussing on a shoulder impingement syndrome. I was asked to try these for a fortnight before returning to see if there was any improvement.

My next appointment was just this past week where I could recount the exercises that brought relief and those that made things seemingly worse. Some of the pain had shifted in it’s focus and this information led to a more informed diagnosis of bursitis. As we were working through an altered set of exercises I happened to mention that I had a twinge in my neck now also.

My physio decided to investigate the muscles in my lower neck and leading down to the upper part of my back. They decided to try some manipulation and massage in that area and straight away said, “Oh my goodness, your muscles here are very tight.”

They then asked if I was a naturally anxious person, to which I responded with a laugh. I indicated that I hold on to worries as if it was an Olympic sport! While they were working on the knots and tightness in my muscles I felt some of the anxiety begin to melt away. And what’s more, the pain in my shoulders dissipated, for the rest of the day!

After this session, my physio has also added to my prescription of exercises and posture practice with a couple of de-stressing activities. They believe, as I do, that our emotional well being is intrinsically linked with our physical well being, and vice versa.

It would seem that some of the cause, if not all, of my shoulder pain is stress related, and harbouring in my neck and back area. This is not the first time I have had pain in one area of my body that is being generated from another area. Each time it happens, it takes me by complete surprise. I believe that I know my mind and body so well and then it comes out of the blue that I don’t know it as well as I thought.

Our bodies are complex, and most beautifully made. The more I learn about mine, the more I realise I don’t know. I believe that there is no possible way we could be accidentally created. Only a supreme being could knit together such an amazing network of intricacies all covered with skin.

One of my favourite bible poems, Psalm 139, speaks of this as it informs me that I was ‘knit together in my mother’s womb’ (verse 13). The visual picture of being a knitted object helps me understand all the aspects working together, being woven together. It also helps me better identify what happens when one aspect is injured, and how the impact can be seen in a different area altogether.

So as I now prepare to do this week’s shoulder exercises I do so with a smile of recognition of a Creator God who knows how to knit!

Be blessed.

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