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Art Echavaria

Patient Success #1595: Art Echavaria,
Activity that lead to injury: Sitting at Computer/Desk - Repetitive Strain Injury, Trauma
Official Diagnosis: Impingement Syndrome, Tendonitis of Rotator Cuff Tendons, Myofascitis

My problem began about 11 years ago. I had fallen off a ladder and as I started to fall I reached out to grab the hanging rod above me for support, only to have it collapse under my weight. I fell on top of the ladder and felt slight pain in my leg and right shoulder but I didn't think too much of it. After all, I had only fallen less than three feet. Being as young as I was, the soreness went away after a day or so and all I had was a large black bruise on my leg that stuck around for a few weeks.

Five years later I began having severe neck, shoulder and back pain. My shoulder and neck started to stiffen. The pain began to increase very quickly. I was doing more deskwork, which only added to the problem. As the pain increased, it became very difficult to lift my hands above shoulder level. I started having a tingling sensation in my right arm and was constantly dealing with severe muscle spasms in the neck and back. Activities became severely restricted. I was so worried about being in pain that physical activity of any kind became almost non-existent.

After having an MRI done, the doctor told me that I had tendonitis in the shoulder and suggested cortisone shots. I didn't like the idea of using painkillers, as they only offer a temporary relief, so I began seeing physical therapists. There were some positive results but not at the level that I wanted. I finally decided to start working out hoping to loosen the very tight muscles in my back and shoulder, and began using very lightweights. I struggled with my right arm and found it difficult at times to even use 10-pound weights. Pull-ups or any exercise that involved a lot of shoulder movement caused extreme pain. It often felt like my arm was being pulled out of the shoulder socket.

While I was at the gym I came across Dr. Janzen's flyer for shoulder pain. I had read about the A.R.T. technique a few years earlier and thought I would give it a try. The first few visits were painful and I had a few flare-ups that were pretty unbearable, but I began to notice I had more range of motion in my arm. After two months of weekly visits I began improving very quickly. I had more energy and strength, and even at the gym I was able to increase the weights and began doing a wider range of exercises.

The only problem that didn't go away was the neck pain. It continued. Dr. Janzen asked me if my computer setup was ergonomically correct. He made a few suggestions, which I didn't take too seriously. After all, how can a something as small as a computer mouse have such a direct impact on my neck and shoulder? I was convinced that the pain was due to the injury.

One day at work, my neck began to hurt and I remembered what Dr. Janzen had suggested. I decided to put his theory to the test. I'd give it two weeks and when I returned for my next visit I'd be able to tell him that I was right and he was wrong. I moved my keyboard and mouse to a lower tray that now rested a few inches above my lap and my monitor was now directly in front of me at eye level. Two days later I realized my neck was not bothering me. I thought it was a fluke! It wasn't. By the time I returned for my next visit I had to tell that he was right and I was wrong!

It's been almost a year since my treatments began. I'm sure that if I had listened to Dr. Janzen's advice regarding the computer setup I would have been feeling better a lot sooner. Sometimes, you have to learn the hard way. Hopefully you won't be as stubborn as I was when it comes to some good sound advice. Even if you're not totally convinced, put the theory to the test and try it for a few days. You might find that it's what you need. As for me, I put my level of recovery at 95%. I haven't felt this good in years and I intend to keep it this way!

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