Here I am, maybe a thousand dollars out of pocket and my shoulder pain has only improved slightly over a year and a half, no thanks to any of these treatments. I stopped running long distances for a year (emoji sad face). I stopped lifting heavy things over my head. I quit all exercises that require shoulder stability like push ups, planks and even Yoga downward dogs. My shoulder still hurts.
It all started about a year and a half ago when I decided it was lame that I was a personal trainer who couldn't do a solid set of push ups. I could squeeze out one or two, but then my form quickly deteriorated. I just didn't have the upper body strength yet. I decided to focus on rapidly improving, and in retrospect simply did too much too soon (you know, that thing I warn my clients about ALL-THE-TIME).
It was at its worst at the end of 2016. If I would run more than three miles, demonstrate a push up at one of my boot camps or even pose for side plank for three seconds in a picture for my blog, the next day I would experience intense burning pain on top of the regular tightness pain. There were days I would sit at my desk at work and the pain would be so intense that I would cry. (cue Internet sympathy)
I stopped running long distances for most of 2017 because the arm movement aggravated my injury. The time off helped a bit. After some extended rest I can now run over five miles without that additional burning pain. I still don't lift heavy things over my head. I have limited mobility and a constant pain of about 5 or 6 out of 10. Worst of all, I felt like I exhausted my resources. Is this my new normal? Because it sucks.
One of the trainers at my gym has a background in physical therapy and the first time we met she told me it was obvious that I was carrying a lot of pain in my shoulders. (Really? It's that obvious? I thought hiding my pain was my superpower.) She offered to call around to help find a doctor that could help me address the pain better than my previous attempts. The next time I went in she told me about the AIRROSTI rehab center in Fort Worth.
When I researched the facility online, I was blown away that they claim that once they determine if someone is a candidate for their treatment, 85% of their patients experience a total resolution of pain in an average of three visits. No long-term treatment plans, no medications or injections. I was intrigued. Could my pain really be resolved in three visits? At this point since I exhausted all other known resources I was willing to roll the dice to find out. Sign me up.
My insurance pitched in for about 20% of the bill. Better than nothing, I guess.
My first appointment was an hour long. In the exam room I explained my shoulder injury and pain issues and the doctor walked me through some range of motion/mobility tests to determine the source of the pain.
He explained a little about the AIRROSTI treatment. It stands for Applied Integration for the Rapid Recovery of Soft Tissue Injuries. Then he explained the manual therapy may hurt a bit. He described it as spicy. Hey, if temporary pain can lead to permanent pain-free results, I can breath through anything (and I am a wimp, for sure). I can handle spicy.
After determining the source of my pain I lied on the table as he started applying intense pressure on the inside of my arm and working up into my shoulder. It was painful but it wasn't unbearable.
Once we finished with the deep tissue manual therapy I met with the physical therapist for work with a lacrosse ball (more ouch) and stretching exercises. She walked me through the exercises and sent me an email with videos so I could do them at home twice a day in-between visits. At least I felt like the exercises she prescribed were addressing my individual needs and not a photocopy they give to everyone.
She finished the appointment by applying kinesiology tape to my shoulder. I never understood how taping something to my skin would do anything at all, but she said it decreases pressure around the pain receptors in the skin and helps stabilize the joints, among other things. She said if I hated it that it wasn't a deal breaker. I didn't hate it but most of it fell off after I ran three miles later that afternoon.
They sent me home with instructions to drink a lot of water, not to panic if my arm and shoulder are bruised the next day (totally normal reaction) and to complete my physical therapy exercises twice a day until my next appointment in four days. I was encouraged to keep performing my regular exercise routine.
How did I feel after my first appointment? Noticeably less pain! I still feel pain, but less than before. Crazy improved range of motion! I am in no-way healed at this point, but I've seen more progress in one appointment than I have from any of my other treatments. If I am 1/3 of the way through treatment to become pain free I will be thrilled. For now, I have high hopes this just may work out for me, but still wondering if it could be too good to be true. Only time and a couple more appointments will tell.
By the time of this post I should have completed my second appointment. I'll keep you posted after my third visit when I find out if I am one of the 85% of patients to have pain resolved in approximately three visits.
Have you heard of AIRROSTI? Have you tried it? Are you intrigued?
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