Lesley's Shoulder Journey

As a regular gym attendee, Lesley enjoys keeping fit. She explains, "I like to vary my exercise regime by attending fitness classes such as yoga, and also doing training using free weights or body weight exercises along with cardio training as part of my personal trainer sessions. I have exercised on and off like this for most of my adult life, but over the past three years I have really become dedicated to exercise." 


At the start of 2019 Lesley started to experience shooting pains in her upper left arm, particularly when she did certain activities that involved reaching across the body. The pain wasn't constant but gradually worsened, and by mid 2019 she was unable to rotate her arms past shoulder level. Lesley suffered from limited movement which impacted her life massively, she found herself avoiding exercise, in particular yoga, as she was unable to do many of the poses or stretches pain free. The pain also affected her sleep, finding she couldn't lie or sleep comfortably on her left side.

Condition and Diagnosis

"By this point I thought enough was enough, it was time to seek help! Initially I got in contact with a local Osteopath who, after running some tests, diagnosed me with rotator cuff issues. However, after four appointments trying to treat this, I didn't see any improvement so decided to visit my GP for a second opinion. They referred me to the local hospital for an ultrasound in hopes of using imaging to provide further diagnosis, but the results came back as normal so no further treatment was recommended."


This was a huge blow for Lesley who was still experiencing pain, she knew something wasn't right and had to do something about it. Her next option was to use her employer's BUPA Occupational Health scheme, where she was recommended a physiotherapist. Yet even down this route, after three months of treatment the underlying issue still persisted. Her physiotherapist saw this too and decided an expert opinion was needed, so referred Lesley to Dr Jonathan Rees at the Fortius clinic for further investigation. 


At the initial consultation, Dr Rees listened to Lesley's account of her condition and the symptoms she was experiencing. He also took note of her previous medical history and after an examination, determined further investigation would be needed. He referred her for an ultrasound and MRI, after analysing the results along with all of the above he was able to clarify the rotator cuff issue was in fact a shoulder impingement, specifically rotator cuff tendonitis.


After diagnosis, Dr Rees identified several treatment options appropriate for Lesley's condition, including a steriod injection into the affected area which she decided to go ahead with. Dr Rees explained that this was a fairly common and effective treatment which he believed would greatly benefit Lesley and her condition.


"Within a week of my initial consultation, I was able to have the injection. It took no longer than 20 minutes! I was advised that there was a 'window' of up to around six months afterwards which would allow me to have physio treatment, and undergo strengthening and stretching of the affected area to help her to recover and regain movement. 


This was such a huge relief, after exploring so many options to no avail, finally finding out exactly what I was dealing with and that there was some relatively straightforward treatment that, given time and some work, could much improve her condition."


After the injection, Lesley found the injected area quite painful but only for a short time, around a day or two. She was informed about this prior to the procedure but, was reassured that it would wear off quite quickly and so was not unduly concerned. 


When the shoulder condition first occurred in 2019, Lesley felt hopeful that she would regain movement but, as the months went on prior to visiting Fortius she was really losing hope. Following the diagnosis and treatment at Fortius, Lesley followed advice and immediately found a local physiotherapist who, along with Dr Rees' guidance, set an exercise plan which she has regularly maintained.


In the three months since her treatment, she has been astounded to find herself with almost full, and equal flexibility and strength in both shoulders. Lesley is now able to return to yoga and the other exercises she enjoys, as well as doing the everyday tasks that were proving difficult prior to treatment, including getting a good night's sleep! 

The eventual referral to Fortius was clearly the right path for me - in future, any similar issues I experience I will follow this route first, as I could have my issue resolved even six months earlier than previous. We live and learn!