If you’re a regular to my blog (there are several thousand of you) you will have seen me sporadically post about my shoulder injury. I won’t bore you with the sordid details again, as I’ve already done into details about my SLAP tear, MRI + Arthrogram scan, and how I did it doing CrossFit’s butterfly pullups.
Just to bring things up to the current day, I was booked in to have my surgery, a biceps tenodesis, this Thursday the 8th December. However the consultant suggested that I may want to think twice. I’ve since been to a Physiotherapist who told me that should wouldn’t recommend surgery; I’ve spoken to a 2nd shoulder Consultant over the phone who told me not to have the surgery, and I’ve exchanged emails with a 3rd shoulder Consultant who also said that I shouldn’t have the surgery. Guess what… I’m not having the surgery!! This is what they were going to do (in summary, cut off my biceps tendon from my shoulder, drill a hole in my Humerus (upper arm bone) and stuff it in there):
To summarise all their advice, the common theme is this: shoulder surgeries are not to be taken lightly. They carry not insignificant risks of failure (of various forms) in addition to possible long term problems like pain, stiffness and weakness. So the advice boils down to this: if you think you can live with your shoulder as it is, don’t have the op, and if there’s any suggestion that your shoulder is improving, like mine is, don’t have the op.
To be clear, when I first injured my shoulder back in February, I couldn’t even scratch my head with my left hand and it did not make much improvement for several months. Once I’d stopped sulking however (lol!) and started going back down the gym, focusing on what I could do instead of what I couldn’t do, things started to improve rapidly. Fast forward to November and I was doing the following, all without pain:
– Shoulder press: 5 x 45kg
– Snatch: 40kg
– Clean & Jerk: 60kg
– Pull ups (kipping): sets of 5, slowly
– Hand stands: multiple reps, holding for 10 seconds
– Front squat: 5 x 100kg
In fact the only thing that hurt, and then just a bit, was wall balls. But I managed to manage this by using a lighter ball and favouring my right arm on the catch (the bit where it hurt). I’ve yet to try things like Thrusters and Push Press etc. In fact I’d already decided not to have the op at this point.
It was only when I hurt my shoulder again (a PDR Self Defence session with a fellow PDR Coach Chris Worrall) that made me think twice about the op again. This time however, after just 2 weeks my shoulder felt as good as had taken 6 months previously. Cracking a rib wasn’t part of the bargain mind, but that’s another story!
So it’s left like this: I’m to get my butt back down the gym and see what I can do, or rather what my shoulder can do. Time will tell if this is the way it’s to stay forever.