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How an oversized T-shirt healed my shoulder

I had so much pain in my left shoulder. The list of things I couldn’t do was growing everyday; blow drying my hair, putting my seat belt on, putting on a long sleeve shirt… you get the idea. Everyday things I had to do, not to mention my hobbies and activities were painful too. You see I had injured my shoulder badly and the worst part was every morning I’d wake up in more pain. It felt like my efforts and appointments to heal that day were getting me nowhere. Until a very knowledgeable and resourceful chiropractor (Dr. Nicole Ciarolo, The Health Centre Integrative Therapies) gave me the t-shirt idea and BOOM! I started seeing a possibility that I could get better, that I could heal.
Every morning I’d wake up and my arms would be up over my head, either sleeping on my stomach, side or back, they would be numb/asleep, then tingly then ouch!!! I used to describe the sensation in my shoulder as if my shoulder joint was an extra cheesy pizza (because I love pizza) and my arm bone was that first slice that’s being taken out and its held together only by the cheesy string. And when we are talking pizza (have I made your mouth water?) this is a good thing, shoulders? Not so much! It was like I couldn’t get a break from pain to make steps forward to heal. The step forward I needed? Believe it or not something that cost me nothing at all, something I had lying around my house…. an oversized T-shirt!

The fact that its oversized matters. Hear me out on this because if you are experiencing shoulder pain this simple trick can be the starting line to healing. Before you go to bed each night put on an oversized t-shirt. Instead of putting your arms through the arm holes as you normally would, keep your arms inside the t-shirt and only have your head pop out the top and you look like a burrito. This keeps your arms by your side so they can’t lift over your head. Restricting your arms gives your injured arm(s) the much needed rest they need to heal at night so you don’t feel like you’re starting all over again in the morning like its some kind of injured arm Ground Hog Day (if you’ve never seen the movie, he relives Ground Hog Day every day until he learns the lessons he needs to from that day and makes the appropriate changes). Be patient. This may take some getting used to sleeping like a burrito. Give it two weeks at least and see if you notice a difference.

Did this completely heal my shoulder? No, but it was a start. It was that glimmer of hope that healing is possible and I wasn’t going to be this way forever. Wearing the t-shirt at night helped reduce my pain. Which brings me to what do you do next? Well..that’s where yoga therapy comes in.

Working with a yoga therapist can help you reduce pain by re-training the muscles so they work the way they were intended to work. When each of the muscles in the shoulder back and arm are moving the way they were designed to, there is balance, ease of movement and every day functions like putting dishes away in the cupboard or putting on a jacket you won’t have to hesitate, it becomes easy again.

A yoga therapist typically works one-on-one because everyone’s body is so unique and responds so differently to the exercises. They take a whole mind/body approach and work with you on what will create the most healing for you. In this example with the shoulder injury you may be surprised to find out that some hip exercises may work into the personalized practice and could be the key to alleviating the pain completely! The ultimate goal for me as a yoga therapist is to help give you the tools to heal, guide you through that path so you feel fuelled to live fully trying or getting back to whatever activities make you feel good!