Thursday, January 18, 2007


I spent most of the last year being treated for adhesive encapsulitis of my right shoulder. In case you aren’t familiar with the condition, it goes thusly: The shoulder is a loose “ball and socket” joint. Several muscles attach to the “ball” at the top of the arm, and thick layers of ligaments form a cuff that covers the rotating ball joint (hence the term rotator cuff). The layers of muscle and ligaments slide over each other in the normal course of activity, but sometimes an injury or infection inflames those ligaments and they progressively adhere to one another – the shoulder gets “stuck.” I only had about 40 percent of the full motion of my right arm and a tremendous amount of pain when I began treatments – I’m back to about 90 percent today, pain-free with only a little stiffness. The longest part of each session was sitting still while electric stimulation was applied to the shoulder. I had a lot of time to look at the illustrations of the various systems of the human body that hung on the wall of the treatment room – of particular interest to me were the nervous and circulatory systems.

This photo of a tree at night with moving stars in the sky behind it reminds me of those charts showing main arteries and nerve cords branching off into ever-smaller conduits in an effort to serve nearly every cell in the human body. Every cell has a connection to others which have connections to others which eventually connect to the main source, without which, all life functions cease.

We’re dependent on connections in so many areas of our lives – family, friends, organizations and institutions. Lose the connections, and you lose the institutions.

Hoping you’re staying connected today.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.


Sunflower Optimism said...

Glad the shoulder is doing better. What causes such an injury?

Beautiful post and photo on connections.

James said...

Just a note - I notice a lot of people visiting from Google searches. If you've got AE, I've felt your pain. I was at the point that an action as simple as flipping a jacket over my shoulder caused intense stop-me-in-my-tracks-I'd-pass-out-if-I-could kind of pain.

What worked for me: I took treatments from a Naprapath (sort of a glorified chiropractor). Treatments included manipulation of the shoulder, heat and electric stim treatments and a progressive series of exercises to perform between treatments. All told, it took about six months to get most of my range of motion back. I say most, because I'm still not at 100 percent and may never be.

I've heard and read everything from "you getta have surgery" to "it goes away by itself." The truth is somewhere in between.