Ma's Personal Health Blog Part 9: Shoulders in the Sixties

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Age and metabolic syndrome can affect us in unexpected ways. Up to 39% of people over sixty have full-thickness rotator cuff tears (1) in one or both shoulders, which often come on gradually with no history of shoulder injury. Such rotator cuff tears in elders are thought to be a degenerative age-related condition due in part to impaired blood supply (2,3). And the cause of impaired blood supply leads us back to metabolic syndrome and diabetes, where elevated blood sugar levels cause damage to small blood vessels.

Last year Sadananda had  very painful rotator cuff tear, triggered by the repetitive motion of spooning ghee into the fire during a month-long Vedic fire retreat. It was treated by PRP injection--platelet rich plasma, a very painful and debilitating but quite successful treatment. While I've not had shoulder pain myself, I do notice that my shoulders pop excessively, which could be pointing to some degree of rotator cuff degeneration.
We exercise our shoulders with a simple chi gong practice. First we extend the arms out horizontally, pushing out stale chi and pulling in fresh chi. Then we push forward, pushing out stale chi, and pull back, drawing in fresh chi. With this exercise, I hope to protect my shoulders.

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1.Bigliani LU, Morrison DS, April EW. The morphology of the acromion and its relationship to rotator cuff tears. Orthop Trans. 1986;10:228.

2. Yamanaka K, Fukda H. Aging process of the supraspinatus tendon in surgical disorders of the shoulder. In: Watson N, ed. Surgical Disorders of the Shoulder. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 1991:247.

3.  Uhthoff HK. The microvascular pattern of the supraspinatus tendon. Clin Orthop Relat Res. May 1990;254:35-8.


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This page contains a single entry by Alakananda Ma published on June 1, 2012 2:48 PM.

Ma's Personal Health Blog Part 8: Rabbit Pose for Metabolic Syndrome was the previous entry in this blog.

Ma's Personal Health Blog Part 10: Dealing with Setbacks is the next entry in this blog.

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