The last couple posts have been telling the story of my experience as a patient and how I learned firsthand that pain is more than just its symptoms. After getting a variety of conflicting advice, I finally made myself the doctor of my own treatment and came to realize my pain involved more than just the subluxation of the shoulder I experience in Paris.

There in fact was the lingering effect of another experience hampering my ability to heal. To brace myself from a fall during gym class in my teens, my shoulder took a huge impact. Though the shoulder stayed intact, the trauma still lived in the tissues, and got reignited with this current accident. What was remarkable was that I felt a certain sense of relief; I guess “emotional” relief, but not much greater sense of range of motion.

After this session, I had 30 degrees of motion passively, and it became clear to me that I needed to keep the motion up. The holiday was almost over, and when I returned I became the patient at my own clinic. A colleague of mine treated me, and after one hour I had 180-degree active motion laterally, and only a slight tug on the insertion of the tendon of supraspinatus.

Something in the treatment allowed my nervous system to reboot and recalibrate so that I was able to get past the trauma, memory of guarding and on with the healing. It is clear to me that drugs and physical therapy may have a place, but there must be a connection to the internal healing mechanism for efficient recovery to take place.

Here, in a nutshell, is the insight toward pain and symptoms in general that I am advocating on this blog.