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  • Writer's pictureSami

There's Broccoli in my Shoulder?

According to Forbes, the average person in the US goes to the doctor four times per year. Well, we are three months into 2022, and I've gone to a total of 11 different doctor's appointments (not including weekly PT).

Recently I've had significant lower back pain; a region where I've never had pain before. My PT put me on her low back injury protocol, which means no jumping, no significant bending, a whole myriad of dance steps I shouldn't do, and I get to wear a fun brace that makes me feel like I've time travelled to the 18th century and came back with a new corset. Is it ideal? No. But I fully trust her, and am trying my best to follow directions instead of make things worse by just pushing through the pain... yes, yes this is a very new idea for me😅

"So what's with the broccoli title, Sami?!" I hear you, I hear you, just keep reading.

Two weeks ago I went to a new Physiatrist (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) that my PCP referred me to. The first visit I had with him went well. Per usual first visits with me, he was uncertain on what was causing my pain. He did lots of physical tests and some light pushing on painful spots. I also had a bunch of X-rays and bloodwork done. All of this sent my body in to full freak out mode, and I was in some of the worst pain I've been in for a long time. I could barely walk, and sitting was by far the worst.

Luckily my PT helped me get out of that pattern. She is the best!

Today, I went back to the Physiatrist for a follow-up. Great news is things like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis (what a name), and other inflammatory conditions are ruled out. While I was there, he did an ultrasound of both shoulders.

When I looked at the screen, it looked like there was a piece of broccoli going through my tendon. He told me it was Calcified Bursa ... broccoli sounds more fun.

Bursa are little sacks of fluid that are located in places where there is friction (ex. shoulders and hips). If your bursa becomes inflamed (like mine), you might be diagnosed with Bursitis. Now I not only have inflamed bursa on both sides, but the bursa in my right shoulder is turning hard. So the little broccoli that I saw on the screen was a 6mm calcified bursa that is impinging my infraspinatus tendon. Essentially when I move my arm, Mr. Broccoli is digging into my tendon.

What's the next step? In two weeks, I will go back to the doctor. The hope is that the bursa isn't completely hard, so he can then do a needle aspiration and remove it. If it is too hard, he might be able to break it up, if not, it might require surgery (though he seemed pretty certain that is unlikely!).

I'll post an update after that appointment, fingers crossed it's a nice, mushy piece of broccoli 🤞🏼🥦

Be Brave. Stay Kind. Much Love.



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