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Cortizone Shot, ?physical Therapy


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#1 KristaRN

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Posted 03 November 2006 - 09:30 PM

While waiting to see a rheumatologist, I recently had an MRI of my knee and shoulder, which showed a lot of calcification, for which ortho doctor gave me a cortizone shot in the shoulder (i chickened out of the knee one). It helped for about 2 days, now doesn't feel any different. He also wants me to do physical therapy on my shoulder, but I've read that for polymyositis that exercise really is not a good idea. My muscles most of the time feel like I've been exercising, isn't that good enough? LOL. I thought at first, well it's just the shoulder, but oh my goodness the muscle aches and spasms in that arm are just so bad, I don't think I can do it. Any thoughts? Should I wait until I see the rheumatologist?

#2 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 04 November 2006 - 06:21 AM

Hi Krista,

I also have bone spurs in both shoulders. My first cortizone shot didn't work, as they missed the spot. The second one I had done by a physiatrist, and she nabbed it perfectly.

That reduced the swelling and inflammation enough to begin physical therapy, which did not involve exercising. It began with ultrasound treatments, hot/cold packs, and later on, very gentle stretching. Gradually I was able to do more stretches, but at no point did it devolve into exertional exercise or a vigorous round of racquetball.

I was thrilled to be able to do simple things again, like lift a milk carton or put on a jacket without wincing or yeowching or having to bypass the activity altogether. I was also highly motivated to follow all of the PT advice, since they threatened me with surgery to remove the spurs if therapy didn't work.

That was nearly 10 years ago, and I've been doing fine ever since. A few times it has acted up, but by promptly starting anti-inflammatories, using cool packs, and resting and stretching, it has rather quickly settled back down again. So don't avoid PT over fears of exercising. Usually PT is quite the opposite, with firm instructions to coddle the affected part until healing is sufficiently underway.

I may be wrong (I often am!) but I'd say you need the PT and the most the rheumatologist could do is probably send you back to the PT. Sometimes it takes a little while for the cortizone shot to kick in, but in my experience, it quelled things just enough to begin PT, and certainly did not bring it back to anywhere near normal all by itself. The PT was priceless!
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#3 janey

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 05:12 PM

Krista,
I have polymyositis and gentle exercise and stetching is extremely important. The trick is not to exercise to the point of exhaustion or to tire the muscles. If you don't move the muscles they could atrophy which is something you definitely don't want to happen. So I support Shelley in suggesting that you should work with the PT as suggested by your doctor. Just make sure that the PT knows that you have poly so that he creates exercises that move the muscles without stressing them.

Please let us know how things go and if the PT helps.

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Janey Willis
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International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#4 KristaRN

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Posted 07 November 2006 - 06:12 AM

Thank you so much Shelley and Janey. I had just about given up the idea of physical therapy until now. Making the appt's now!

Krista