October 2012
PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR FROZEN SHOULDER: My MUMC Rehabilitation Experience

Ouch! I felt an excruciating pain on my left shoulder joint when I tried reaching my back to unlock my bra. For several days I ignored the pain hoping that it will just go away. I was wrong, months passed and the pain was still there. At first, I tried doing self medication by taking some mild pain relievers but the pain persisted and even got worst. I could no longer put my left hand up and sometimes I woke up at dawn feeling a fang of pain on my left shoulder. My stubbornness kept me from seeing a doctor to check my condition. I went on with my daily work and activities as a faculty of Misamis University until I got the chance to sit with the University Physician, Dr. Ricardo Z. Lasaca, during one of the meetings. That was when I tried consulting him about my painful shoulder. He asked several questions and later said that I am suffering from a “frozen shoulder” and I should undergo Physical Therapy. I was also told that this condition usually afflicts women who are in their 50’s and above with no known cause. The doctor prescribed pain reliever which I did not also buy because I wanted to allow my own endorphins to help me with my struggle.

As prescribed, I went to Misamis University Medical Center (MUMC) to see a physical therapist. The two therapists, Bernadette B. Aguinaldo and Peter Paul Edcel M. Filipino, were busy with four (4) patients in the rehab at that time. Luckily, I was accommodated by Bernadette B. Aguinaldo. She is a good-natured person who could easily make people (patients) comfortable despite experiencing physical pain. After checking my condition, I was explained about how to go through the program of treatment. Physical therapy for my frozen shoulder will be 3(three) times a week. How long will the treatment last? It would depend upon how religious I am in following the schedule. If I wanted a speedy recovery, then I should strictly follow my physical therapy schedule otherwise, it would be best not to undergo treatment since it would only be a waste of time.

Therapy began with a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator) placed on the afflicted shoulder over hot packs then followed by the Ultrasound which provided a deep heating modality for micro massage. After the two procedures, there was an added liniment rubbing and manual massage then I was asked to lie on my back for the stretching and bending of my left arm. Of course! It was painful at first however Bernadette’s firm but gentle guiding hands produced soothing effect more than the feeling of pain. I could see how Bernadette sweat as she exerted effort in stretching my left hand up and to the sides controlling the process so as not to add up to my pain. It was a painful but rejuvenating experience and so after the first treatment I became a regular patient of MUMC Physical Rehabilitation Center.

After a week of physical therapy I already felt some improvements. I could raise my left hand up to about 45 degrees and a bit to the side torso towards the back still with pain. I did some home exercises as suggested by the therapist and reported my observations when I visited the rehabilitation center. I looked forward for my regular treatment because I also enjoyed watching other patients undergoing therapy for their painful backs due to slip discs, those wanting to recover from stroke, those referred after surgery, and etc. The rehabilitation center becomes a favorite place for those seeking relief for their aching bodies.

Finally, after more than three months of regular physical therapy I am healed. I would like to say that Physical Therapy at MUMC, with Bernadette’s (fondly called Badet by her friends) gentle touch and Edcel’s (a.k.a. Edong) prodding and coaching, really worked like magic! The stretching and bending worked wonders because my left hand regained its lost strength and is totally functional. Now I’m back to my daily activities and work without having to be bothered with a frozen shoulder. The therapists’ dedication to their job and commitment to help rehabilitate their patients’ painful physique are commendable. I graduated from my physical therapy sessions with gratefulness in my heart and wish my co-patients in the rehabilitation center for a speedy recovery. From my experience I could say that physical therapy is indeed an art of wellness.

Misamis University Medical Center (MUMC) located at Bagakay, Ozamiz City, Philippines is a tertiary hospital certified as Center for Quality by the Philhealth Insurance Corporation, a government accrediting agency.
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Eden A. Neri, M.A, RGC / Misamis University

Misamis University
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