Monday, December 17, 2012

Shoulder To The Grindstone

I have been having issues with my left shoulder and neck. It began back in late Summer and has gotten progressively worse over the course of the Fall. What began as (probably) simple overuse has now gotten to the point of chronic discomfort and pain with an associated lack of mobility.

I have managed to control the problem for the most part but it had become obvious yesterday that twice monthly chiropractic treatments, ice packs and topical gels can only offer temporary relief unless I address the underlying issue - overuse. I was sore after playing hockey Sunday afternoon and probably should not have even played last night. It was a frustrating evening in the ECBHL with me leaving before the game's end.

I have been doing renovations on my mother's house which has included a variety of stoop labors, including landscaping, painting and stripping hardwood floors of carpet glue. Add to that my participation in ball hockey four times weekly, including twice on Sundays.Factor in cycle commuting to work most days, weight training and archery and my poor shoulder did not get much downtime.

Unfortunately I reached and passed the tipping point last month. I have stopped weight training and shooting my bow. There was too much discomfort in using hand weights, kettlebells and bar. It got to the point even drawing my longbow was painful. Ball hockey was now becoming problematic.Playing in nets was managable but playing out was becoming increasingly difficult. The combination of running on a hard unforgiving surface, unintentional contact and the act of shooting was resulting in shoulder pain during and after each game. I prefer to sleep on my left side and lately have been unable to do so resulting in disruptive sleep. I admit I am my own worse enemy and kept the shoulder to the grindstone far longer than I should have but now have no choice but to ease up on my activities.

There is a silver lining in the black cloud. The hardwood floors, painting and landscaping is done. Sunday night ECBHL and Tuesday night ball hockey is now done for the holidays recommencing the second week of January. Thursday night and Sunday afternoon ball hockey will continue over the holidays but I (essentially) play goal for both which is far easier on my shoulder. Effective January my benefits are topping up so I have a full measure of chiropractic coverage to access if I opt to increase the frequency of care. Most importantly I now will have an opportunity for some much needed downtime for recovery and repair.

Heading into 2013 I really need to revisit my level of participation in ballhockey, specifically playing twice on Sundays. As much as the brain is willing the body is not. It is hard to admit but I do not have the recovery nor endurance of youth any longer. I also think I need to refocus upon goaltending (as opposed to playing out) as it is as enjoyable but far easier on my body.

I suspect I will place myself on the DL for the remaining ECBHL scheduled games. I also suspect I will not re-muster for the winter/spring season but aim to return for the 2013 summer season. That is a much better fit for me as my Sunday afternoon hockey ends around May. It may be a mute point as the Bloomfield Recreation Centre has been sold to developers. Who knows if there will even be a gym available to play athletics in come 2013.Playing in the ECBHL may well become my only option come the near future. Time will tell.

Looking forward to kicking back over the next three weeks and rehabitating the shoulder and neck. Hopefully it is just a case of repetitive strain and nothing more serious.

Update - Jan 9 2013

Finally got back to my chiropractor after the office's holiday closure and had myself re-evaluated, specifically focusing upon my shoulder and neck. The plan will be to switch to a weekly schedule of care for the next month to resolve my issues. I have noticed a definite improvement after my first adjustment last night and had a pain free night of sleep - the first in about a month.

If the first of four weekly appointments is any indication I should be back to my old age defying self by February but I have learned my lesson. You can teach old dogs new tricks. I will opt out of the next ECBHL season as playing twice on Sunday is just not worth the chance of re -injuring my shoulder. The aim will be to return for the 2013 summer season once my Sunday afternoon ball hockey ends in the Spring.

Who knows what happens after that - with the sale of the Bloomfield recreation centre there may not be a gym to play ball hockey in come the Fall of 2013? In the meantime I will focus upon playing goal when possible on Thursdays and Sundays as it does not seem to affect me as severely as being a "runner". Banging and crashing on a hard gym floor does not do my shoulder any favors nor does the act of shooting the ball. If I do opt to play out I will need to keep myself on a short lease.

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