Posted by: birdmaddgirl | 4 April 2011

body scan

let’s take a sutra break. so last week i went to have fancy pictures taken of my insides. an mri requires one to stay as still as possible, which was a good opportunity for me to practice reciting the primary series (can’t believe i forgot navasana!). i get to keep the film, so i now have all these different views of the muscles and tendons of my left shoulder.

today, i  met with my orthopedist. the good news: no signs of significant tearing anywhere (my biggest fear). this means that nothing i’ve been doing over the past year and a half has caused added damage. i can continue with my practice as it stands, and maybe cautiously work on some poses on days when i’m feeling extra stable. i’ve been worried that maybe i shouldn’t be doing shoulder stands, but now i can focus more on my pose and less on my fear of over-extending my body.  arm balances and head- and handstands will continue to be poses that i’ll mostly avoid. i’ve done a few here and there over the past year, so i won’t totally rule it out, but i’ll have to keep vigilant and listen to my body.

the bad news: from my dr’s perspective, i can continue to strengthen the muscles around the joint, but it’s unlikely that my shoulder will fully sit in the socket from strengthening alone. his advice was to “learn to live with it” since my pain is mild and there’s no evidence of serious structural concern. the other option he provided was surgery to anchor the muscles into the socket more firmly. this would put me out of commission for 4 months. yikes!

i’d like to find out what other folks with shoulder issues have experienced. it seems to me like there are two opposing issues in my body: the insufficient strength of my shoulder muscles and the tightness of the muscles surrounding that are overcompensating for the ones that are lazy. i think i need to fix the tightness issue as much as i need to fix the strength issue. logically, if the tight muscles let go a little, the loose muscles will have more of a chance to do what they should be doing, right?

so for the immediate future, i’ll be continuing my physical therapy but dropping down to bi-weekly appts for the next three months. i’d like to explore some alternate options – there’s a serious financial issue associated with that (my insurance does not cover), so i’m not sure how much i’ll be able to proceed. if anyone has recommendations or suggestions or experiences to share, please speak up!



  1. MRIs are not fun. My dad needed one last week and had to go three times before he could get through it, ultimately needing a pill from the doctor to calm him down. Yay you for finding a constructive way to get through the experience! And yuck on the shoulder, but I’m glad it’s not worse.

    • Thanks. I’ve heard horror stories about MRIs (Amy, I recall, was NOT pleased), but the place I went was just fine. The tube was fairly open, so I didn’t feel super-confined. I think it does help to have something specific to focus on though. I did get a bit cross-eyed staring at the white tube, but not so bad, really. Thankfully, I remembered to put in my contacts! I probably would have been much more panicked if I couldn’t see clearly.

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