PT Bruises

My arm is covered in bruises from physical therapy. And I have PT again tomorrow. It’s from a procedure called ASTYM. ( It is supposed to be very good for tendon issues, and it has helped my right arm considerably over the past year, even if the first person who did it was doing it wrong. But I dread going back to PT, because, well, this $#@^% hurts!

ASTYM involves taking hard plastic tools and scraping them along the length of the tendon and muscle. (If you’d like to witness this torture, then you can watch the video:  Fortunately, they slather your arm in cocoa butter first so it glides along the surface. Can you imagine how painful it would be if they didn’t? And they don’t HAVE to bruise you in order for it to work, they just do.  And they keep torturing the same specific area.  My left forearm has more than 10 different bruises, many that run into each other, the largest of which is nearly 2″ in diameter.  I think physical therapists are secretly sadists.

The way it works is that it stimulates blood flow to the area which instigates healing.  This is especially important for tendons because they don’t get a lot of blood flow in the first place.  It’s also supposed to break up any fibrous tissue (aka scar tissue) so that when you stretch, the muscles & tendons lay down proper tissue in the correct direction.  Does it work? yes.  Has it worked for me? partially.  My right elbow should be completely healed by now, but it’s not.  But then I’m a bit of a medical mystery anyway.

I go to PT. I do my stretches every day.  My right elbow improves incrementally, but my wrist hurts more since I started PT than it did before. I’m scared.  I’ve started developing nerve pain in my left wrist too.  Keep in mind, the left wrist is the one that is “only a sprain” and doesn’t require any job restrictions, thanks to worker’s comp.

So what do I do now?  I don’t know. Keep going to PT I guess.  I have PT every day this week – either for the left wrist or the right elbow.  I realize that it’s my “job” to get better right now, but looking at that 2″ bruise and knowing it’s going to get pounded on tomorrow, makes me really not want to go into “work”.


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