FALLING APART IN
ALL THE RIGHT PLACES
I hate to brag, but I've got bicep tendonitis. Well, at
least I did until my body literally started falling apart. Modern or
ancient medicine played no role in my recovery. It was just the human body
working its magic.
Let's face it. You don't get bicep tendonitis sitting around
on the couch. Only the most studly men or women develop this painful
affliction, usually from overuse of a highly-charged and structurally
sound bicep muscle.
"Yes, it definitely seems like bicep tendonitis,"
said my doctor after he put me through a battery of tests a couple of
months ago, which was basically having me point to where it hurt and then
moving my shoulder up and down. "Has it been bothering you for
"About eight months," I replied, watching his
reaction as he wondered how anyone could cope with such pain for so long.
Clearly, I was a Profile in Courage.
"Any idea how you hurt it?" he asked,
obviously figuring I inflamed my manly tendon by doing 150 pound curls or
perhaps on my 200th push up.
"I was pulling into my driveway and turned the steering
wheel and felt the burn," I sheepishly replied. "But I was
coming back from working out." Which was a lie.
"And you haven't curtailed any of your physical
activities during these eight months?" he asked as he typed notes in
"Nope," I said proudly. "I played through the
"And now it's worse," he said, typing 'idiot"
into the computer, or so I guessed. "What a surprise."
He referred me to a physical therapist. But I had a better
plan, now that I had a confirmed diagnosis. A friend had suggested
acupuncture, and in my expert medical opinion, it was worth a try.
Physical therapy is for weenies. I wanted needles.
So off I went to see an acupuncturist. I was a little
skeptical, but the practice of acupuncture had been around for more than
2000 years. It must have worked for someone.
"Bicep tendonitis?" asked the nice
acupuncturist, when I told her my malady. "I can fix that in two
Now that's confidence! I had been a little skeptical, but no
more. This woman said it with such assurance that it left me no doubt I
would be cured once and for all.
"Anything else bothering you?" she asked
before beginning the treatment.
"Well, I've got some tendonitis in my right knee, but
it's not too bad."
"No problem. I'll take care of that. Anything else? You
get one more."
I couldn't think of a third ailment, so I made one up.
She said she could help. Then the treatment began.
"I'm going to put some needles in your ankles
which will help sedate you."
I felt a sharp prick when she inserted the needle, but I
didn't feel the sedation. But she immediately began inserting needles
everywhere , sedation or not. It didn't really hurt much, so maybe the
sedation was indeed working. Within minutes, I had needles in my knee, my
wrist, my shoulder, and for some reason, my head.
Then she left, leaving me in the room for 45 minutes to let
the needles do their work. When she returned, she quickly removed the
needles and asked how I felt.
I now had no needles in me, so the answer was obvious.
"Better," I said.
"Great!" she chirped. "It usually takes up to
24 hours before you feel improvement. You're ahead of the game."
As noted, acupuncture works for many ailments and many
people, but not in this case. I tried two more sessions and showed no
improvement. I then saw a physical therapist, who suggested (surprise!)
Before I could even attempt to rest it, though, I woke up one
morning a few weeks ago and noticed some bruising around the bicep. I also
noticed I could suddenly lift objects without any pain. The tendonitis was
"Your long head bicep tendon detached from the bone in
your shoulder," the doctor explained when I went back to see him and
showed him my new Popeye-like bicep. "It's fairly common. No surgery
necessary and your strength shouldn't be affected."
I was literally falling apart, and it was a good thing. The
answer turned out to be even older than acupuncture. It was the human body
making natural adjustments.
Good thing. I was just about to try leeches.