Well this discussion has been somewhat sobering. 3 years ago today at our weekly drop in I managed to bugger my left shoulder up on a windmill save on a pretty hard shot. I didn't regard it as something being worthy of a doctor visit at the time. I'll be honest, I have a tendency to ignore issues that aren't emergencies or have not been persistent problems that don't go away without rest. I played sparingly, but would play if needed, and then ended up taking the last 3 weeks of hockey off entirely because it got to be too much. I don't do anything crazy as far as physical exertion during the offseason, so by time hockey fired up again I was feeling fine.
I aggravated it again late last winter, it happened from some slight incidental contact while playing defence. It was relatively minor, and I was having some knee issues at the end of the year anyway so I mostly stuck to playing out and didn't have much trouble.
This past November it flared up again while playing defence, in exactly the same scenario as last year but it was a bit less incidental and more of one of those situations where a guy used to playing high level senior hockey doesn't know how to tone it down in a rec tournament. This time, it's bad. Persistent pain while doing nothing. Increased pain caused by regular every day life stuff. Shooting pains. My sleep quantity and quality has probably been cut in half, which is really concerning in itself because my work days already stretch to about 14.5 hours away from home, and I am switching between day and night shifts in the middle of my work week. So, finally, off to the doctor.
Had an x-ray and ultrasound in mid-December. I was honestly hoping for some sort of cut and dried issue. Instead, the results came back with mild acromioclavicular joint degenerative changes, supra and infraspinatus tendonosis, a calcified deposit, and bursitis. Had a cortisone shot a week ago. Some improved mobility without causing pain, but all the stationary and at rest issues are still there. Had my assessment visit with the physiotherapist on Friday. Got a stretching routine set up, follow up appointments booked.
I have to say, I was stupid for not going to the doctor the first time around. Historically, my experience with the health care system has left me pretty jaded. But this experience has started to change that. Things have moved a lot quicker than expected.
And much the same, I was an idiot for continuing to play as much as I did. I've always felt some level of guilt. Like it is necessary to be there when they need me. Our local hockey scene has been in decline for the last 5 years or so, and I've always had a subconscious concern that if a guy doesn't make an effort to keep things going then you can lose it all together. And I think it's entirely possible our weekly drop ins could end up a thing of the past. I know how much it sucks to play posts, and attendance can drop pretty quick.
Between this thread and my physiotherapist mentioning that the state of my shoulder leaves me at fairly high risk of a rotator cuff tear, I've come to realize it is time to get my priorities straight. Going to follow the routine religiously. Going to look into similar stretching routines for the rest of my body as well, because it is evident my flexibility has decreased a lot. And when I'm well enough, I have the intention of getting back to the gym at least a couple times per week, something I haven't done for about 5 years now.