So Space

by Ashley M

Rotator Cuff Injury

I have not danced salsa in one month.

I have had a LONG break of not playing the violin for over two weeks.

Having to carry things like my handbag on my left shoulder has become a norm for me over the past month.

After my very first orchestra performance in April, I’ve gotten a really bad arm injury called rotator cuff injury. It was the sort of pain that I’ve never felt before in my life.. and it was almost unbearable, I teared up during lecture the next morning.

 I went to see a visiting physiotherapist, only to make my injury worse when he was trying to massage my inflamed muscles… which my current therapist thinks he should not have done. Eventually, I was referred to the uni’s physiotherapist, and it’s been a month ever since, and I don’t feel a thing anymore.

Basically, the rotator cuff consists of four muscles that help move and stabilize the shoulder joints. Damage to these muscles or ligaments can occur due to acute injury or chronic overusage. In my case, it was both. (yay..) The more the physiotherapist was explaining how I might’ve overused my muscles due to long hours of practice, the more afraid I felt.

What if I’m not able to play the violin normally again?
How am I gonna dance?
And many many more questions.

At that point, I would do just about anything to get better as quickly as possible. I’ve got classes whereby I needed to play the violin. I need to practice. Every single day. For two hours, minimum. I can’t afford this injury! I was screaming in my head, but I just calmly took advice from the physiotherapist. She told me that I could not and should not play the violin till I’m able to lift up my arms without feeling any pain. At that time, it was hardly possible, even undressing felt like the hardest thing to do.

I spent 2 weeks feeling shitty and left out, unable to practice and just watching my classmates go for string class and I’m just unable to move my arm. Other than that, taking even more time to recover from really bad side effects from Ibuprofen, which was prescribed to me for pain relief. I’ve had blackouts and buckling knees…. never taking Ibuprofen ever again.

Despite everything, someone’s been taking really good care of me, helping me carry my instrument and making sure I don’t strain myself.. apart from watching me suffer in pain as well. He’s been so awesome and at my back and call. It’s a no-brainer who this lovely person is.

I’ve been going to physiotherapy still and been doing certain exercises instructed by my physiotherapist, which are really helping me feel better because I am up and playing again since last week! I even played for graduation ceremony, from Monday to Wednesday last week, morning to night. It feels amazing. Still recovering.

More info on rotator cuff injury

Image from

Ashley Mah

2 comments on “Rotator Cuff Injury

  1. HenRy LeE
    May 20, 2013

    aiyaaaa….why on earth did he massage u on that area at the first place! Gosh…hope u r recovering well! 🙂


  2. jack johnson
    September 7, 2013

    This comment has been removed by the author.


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This entry was posted on May 20, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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