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Physio schmysio: You and your injury. The Case of the Dodgy Shoulder

This weeks blog is a case study of a clients dodgy shoulder. It covers alot of ground from looking out for dodgy physio's to avoiding BroScience wherever possible. The health and well-being and fitness industries abound with snake oil and dogma. Much of it guaranteed to either relieve you of your hard earned cash or injure you. Navigating your way to health and well-being today requires the sort of healthy scepticism and critical thinking skills that were at one time taught at University. Why take our word for it? Well read on to follow one clients journey and make up your own mind.

A  woman's shoulder in profile
Pain wherever it is can become all consuming. Picture by Victor Talashuk courtesy of Unsplash

From our injury files: The case of the dodgy shoulder

I saw a client recently who has been suffering for about a year with a clicky achy pain at the front of one of her shoulders that has been getting progressively worse. There had been no improvement even with prolonged rest. It became quite clear on testing that the irritable body part was the long head bicep tendon. The client was a keen gym goer attending up to 5 times per week performing a mix of weight training and cardio.

Enter the dodgy physio

Prior to being sent to us by one of our existing clients, she had seen a private physiotherapist the week before in an effort to get things sorted. During that appointment the client was told that her sore shoulder was due to two factors: a rib on the opposing side and a weak core. Oh and she'd need to attend weekly for 6 weeks or more to get it fixed.

Rib my arse (that's a technical term), and while core may certainly have been a part of it, weekly attendance was entirely unnecessary to help this individual get pain free. Having identified the body part (bicep tendon) and the five weekly gym sessions I asked probably the most pertinent question of the whole assessment 'who taught you to lift weights?'

The curse of BroScience

In answer to the question 'who taught you to lift', the answer turned out to be her partner. As a follow up I then asked who taught him to lift. The resulting unsurprising response was 'the guys he went to the gym with'.

Armed with this knowledge I was around 99.6374% sure that the issue had nothing to do with a rib. By the same token I was also reliably convinced that insofar as the core was involved, it was mainly involved when my client lifted weights up and down with her arms. Repeatedly. Up to 5 times per week.

It seemed that my client had been visited by the curse of BroScience, having clearly learned to lift weights via the University of the same name. If you are not aware of this noteworthy educational institution, the University of BroScience is largely responsible for two things:

  1. encouraging 17 year old boymen to flirt with anabolic steroids at doses that would turn the Hulk pale and...

  2. for sending us a steady stream of broken bicep tendons due to improper form on execution of weight bearing exercises. Go figure.

The injury fix

The client had stopped training upper body as exercises hurt her shoulder. In our private gym at the clinic I took some time to show her how to brace her body properly and then asked her to perform a (previously painful) bicep curl.

The result: no pain in the shoulder. I cued a few more lifts (basically with a lat brace, shoulders back and down and chest lifted), freed off some of the tight muscles around her injury and sent her away. Not completely pain free, her bicep tendon was still inflamed from poor exercise form, but with the knowledge about how to lift and perform exercise in a way that is both mechanically efficient and that resulted, as she reported back, in the tendon healing over the next 6-8 weeks. No follow up, no weekly appointments necessary.

Correct knowledge properly applied

For the most part we can heal ourselves with the correct knowledge properly applied. At Myokinetics we aim to understand you, your injury and your environment because it is invariably the interplay between these three things that leads to an injury healing successfully or not.

We will then explain to you what is wrong, why it's wrong, and what you need to do and for roughly how long to make it right. Anyone that wants to see you for regular weekly physio sessions is rinsing you of cash.

We don't like any of you enough to want to see you that often, so we'll teach you what you need to do to fix yourself. Why? Because the University of BroScience and general ineptitude will keep us busy until the end of time.

Disclaimer please note well: The information provided on this health and well-being blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or guidance. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this blog. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or the emergency services immediately.

The authors of this blog are not medical professionals, and the content provided here is based on personal experiences, research, and general knowledge. It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for individual health concerns. The use of any information provided on this blog is solely at your own risk. The authors, contributors, and the website owner disclaim any responsibility for any adverse effects resulting directly or indirectly from the information provided.

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