Last year, nearing 49 and my son surpassing me in both height and strength, I set a goal for myself to get in shape and to stay on top of the Father-Son curve. Sure, part of that goal was ego, wanting to compete with my boy, but really, I want to be able to spar with and physically engage with my teenager. Last Fall, I hurt my shoulder while doing some intensive yoga-type flows (Note: this “yoga” would not be sanctioned nor recognized as real yoga by Debbie, my wife and advanced Yoga-room trained Iyengar-style teacher!). So what did I do? I started by going to a colleague of mine, Dr Johanna Lelke, an ART practitioner like myself, and got some regular treatment biweekly for three weeks. This is what I would recommend for anyone who’s initially hurt themselves. Three to four weeks later though somewhat better, my shoulder still wasn’t functioning properly. Usually ART will fix most structural and functional issues pretty quickly, so when something doesn’t respond, it’s indicative of something more serious going on.
The next step was to schedule an MRI at Emeryville Imaging. The Radiology report revealed a torn Rotator Cuff. Yes, the reality of throwing myself into shape at 48 set in! Like an old car, all the parts are time worn, and we need to spend more time with recovery, stretching, foam rolling, and icing, as well as supplementing with Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Tumeric (a natural anti-inflammatory), and Glucosamine-Sulfate or Ostinol (They both help to rebuild cartilage) more than I was allowing in my crazy regimen! So what to do? I started working with personal trainer-extraordinaire Kelly Mciver (KB Fitness) focusing on core and lower body. I also put together a shoulder rehab regimen with my PT colleague Anne Ongerth of SOL PT.
Perhaps ironically, I had recently attended the SF Giants first annual Sports Rehab Conference in December, and decided to go see the Giant’s chief Orthopedist, Dr Ken Akizuki, who was the MC at the weekend event. Going to his office in San Francisco not as a doc, but as a patient was a humbling experience, in part since I was in the same office that the major league players go to when they blow out their shoulders!
Although at the sports symposium the main message I got was to rehab an injury as much as possible before opting for surgery, Dr Akizuki took one look at my MRI and suggested surgery in the next quarter if at all possible. The good news is that I am in good condition and still relatively “young” (I was surprised to hear that from a doc who works with players who often retire by age 30!).
So I am now working with another awesome PT Liz Duncanson of Body Temple Wisdom (incidentally, she used to work at Innate Chiropractic!), and am getting my MRI re-read, this time by my time tested chiropractic Radiologist, Dr Brian Gatterman. We will see how if he sees anything other than what the medical Radiologist saw (chiropractic Radiologists tend to be much more detailed and function-oriented, vs looking merely for pathology and injuries).
At this point, there is a very good chance that I will opt for surgery with the prospect of a speedy recovery. This will likely mean my planning for a three month hiatus from my practice. As I sus out this possibility, I am looking into the possibility of getting a high quality practitioner to fill in for me during this time.
One thing I know for sure. If I do get surgery, I will follow it with the technology that I know will speed my recovery, including Dr Linda Berry’s (at Innate Tue and Thur) Class IV K-Laser and Beemer mat, which promotes microcirculation and thus accelerated tissue healing. Also, I will certainly utilize acupuncture from Marie Bowser (also at Innate Chiropractic) to control inflammation. And when ready, of course, more rehab!
I will keep this blog up to date as things progress.