Mother-of-three Sandra Inglis was in so much pain she could barely make a cup of tea. The sharp pain from her shoulder was so intense she was finding it impossible to sleep and getting through the day as a community nursery nurse was becoming impossible. “I love my job,” said the 47-year-old from Deal.
“Work was really supportive but being in pain and having no sleep was tough. I was taking anti-inflammatories and pain killers every two hours and they were making me even sleepier.” Sandra had been the victim of a violent incident and had been going to see her GP for the past four years. “I was told it was simply age and wear and tear. Eventually I went to a private physio who asked my GP to send me for an MRI.”
The MRI scan revealed a serious rotary cuff tear to her right shoulder; one of four muscles around the shoulder joint. It is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. Sandra was sent for corrective surgery and referred to Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust’s Adult Community Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Service. “I had one-to-one sessions with physiotherapist Suchit Jain who went through a programme of exercises to stretch my muscles and try to get some of my movement back. I’d lost so much movement and the muscle had wasted away with the pain. Suchit was great in explaining what muscles did what and how the exercises would help, which motivates you to do them.”
Unfortunately, Sandra developed post-operative frozen shoulder and needed a course of steroid injections. Sandra said: “To try to build up my muscles Suchit referred me to the weekly group gym sessions with Libby Lewis. These were on a Wednesday afternoon, but Libby agreed to see me on a Monday morning at 7.30am to fit around my work pattern. I did a whole range of exercises under her guidance, such as using a hand bicycle and walking a ball up the wall with my hands. I was getting better movement but the pain was still fairly intense.”
A second MRI revealed Sandra’s shoulder muscle had frayed and she needed another operation. She said: “After this I went back to one-to-one sessions with Suchit and he asked a colleague for advice, which I was impressed with. I remember Sumin Moses popping his head around the curtain and coming to talk through my progress.
“Sumin has been trying intensive hands-on manipulation, as well as acupuncture, and I have to say I feel like a new woman. I keep saying to him he’s so good I want to take him home and marry him! We have a laugh and a joke and he puts me at ease.
“I am now taking fewer painkillers, work is more manageable and I have much better movement. I have a range of different colour bands to continue my exercises at home and Sumin has shown me how my husband can help with the manipulation and exercises.
Surgically, there is nothing more that can be done and I’ve still got a way to go, but I’m 20 times better than I was thanks to the team.”