My Journey: A Non-Surgical Approach to Dealing with Injury Part 1

If I click back through pictures of my journey to strength training, CrossFit, competing and coaching…I can see where I went wrong.  Not on purpose, but because I didn’t know any better.  I have said more recently, in relation to many things, “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW.”

That could apply to my journey with infertility, to nutrition/behavior’s, and now strength training and movement.  But the difference is what you do with the information when you DO know different. Let’s take it back a few.

May 2002: Birth of an Injury

I dove for a softball playing 2nd base at practice during my sophomore year at at Pratt Community College and my arm stopped as my body rolled over my left arm (glove hand) leaving me in a really bad position.  I remember my shoulder hurting IMMEDIATELY. I couldn’t raise it above my head or up to scratch my nose.  I wondered if I dislocated it but it seemed to look okay to everyone that helped dust me off.  It hurt for days after, and affected daily living to the point that my roommate had to help me get dressed and comb my hair.  I finally went to the orthopaedic doctor in my hometown for an MRI. It showed a fracture in the growth plate but nothing else.  He told me ease my way back into playing and continue icing it and stretching.  I eventually returned to playing 100% but I never could get full range of motion back in certain positions.

April 2003

I tore my ACL in my left knee running for a ball in the outfield playing 2nd base AGAIN.  I got my cleat caught in a weird lump in the grass and my foot rolled over and my knee went with it. I knew immediately it was torn because I heard a loud POP in my ear.

So, my left side has always been an issue for me.

Now whether these two injuries have lead to my shoulder pain in recent year’s OR if my weakness and instability on my left side through my hip and lower obliques caused these injuries; I probably won’t know.  But either way I have issues.

Fast forward to 2011-2014

Introduced to CrossFit. I started olympic lifting, doing gymnastics again, and competing at a high level of intensity and volume. Shoulder Pain Reappears.

As soon as I stopped competing, the pain went away.  I experienced no pain during my 2 year’s off from competing, but started picking up the pace again in CrossFit in 2017.

Shoulder pain reappears.

And now all previous attempts at alleviating the pain were not working.  Dry needling. Tape. Cupping, Stretching. Mobility.  Ice. Heat. Strengthening back muscles. And as much as I tried to tell myself to keep my scaps down, shoulders back— it was SOO hard to make myself slow down and relearn it. PLUS, I really thought telling myself to stop would work.

Fall 2017

I had another MRI.  What I thought was a labral tear was not.  I had a chronic glenohumeral avulsion and a hill sach lesion.  I had no idea what either of those were, so I had to seek some advice from others.

Basically I had experienced one major dislocation at some point in life or chronic minor dislocations over and over again with my lifting and overhead movements.  Most likely the major dislocation caused the chronic continual dislocations over time.  I learned that surgery would might limit my mobility so much that I would not be able to get into a full overhead position again, post-surgery.  Several experts in the field consulted with me on their opinions and experience, advising me against surgery.  So I chose to pursue a non-surgical route.  Even though I felt like I had no good options.  I loved the sport and wanted to continue, and was heartbroken to learn this might be it for me with competing and pushing intensity and weight.

But that wasn’t the end for me, you know how they say people come into your life at certain points in time, for certain reasons…

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