Going Under the Knife

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I had a client visit me last week with a difficult but not uncommon situation. She is an active school teacher who injured her shoulder. The MRI showed a tear in her shoulder, but it was questionable if it was the source of her pain. She explained, “My dilemma is if I postpone my surgery I will have to wait three months for another opportunity. If that happens, I will lose time teaching, but if I wait until next summer, then insurance will not pay”. I asked, “How much time do you have before you must decide?” She replied, “I have one week to decide whether to get surgery”.

I have unfortunately consulted with too many people in this same situation. Surgery is expensive and recovery takes time . Too often, potential surgical candidates have mistaken the word “recovery” with “pre-injury status.” The body absolutely recovers in 6-8 weeks, but to achieve pre-injury status could take anywhere from one to five years depending how diligent the patient.

The fact is surgery interrupts your life–no matter how simple. The reason professional athletes can return so quickly after surgery is they are highly motivated and have an organization footing the bill for the long hours of highly supervised rehab. Most insurance companies would never pay for all the reinforcement; and motivation without reinforcement is very difficult.

Surgery is never an easy question, but before you decide, do some serious research . As for my client’s situation, time and the insurance company’s willingness to pay compelled her into surgery. The following is a list of questions you should try to answer or at least ponder before you decide to get surgery.

Download PreSurgeryQuestions.pdf

Take Care of Mr. Winky

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bike-seats.jpgseat1.jpg Reading an article in the LA Times about bike seats reminded me of a repeated experience that I had during my biking days. While blasting along on the 70th mile of a bike race, I experienced the worse case scenario. The night before, I decided to reorient my bike seat in order to put more weight into my legs. I had read it in a biking magazine and it seemed like a good idea. Little did I know, this slight modification of the seat caused a slight but constant pressure against…well…Mr. Winky. Mr. Winky is the most sensitive and reactive part of a male’s body, and to have numbness where life springs from was extraordinarily alarming. In fact it was numbness in a saddle distribution (for those neurological buffs it was in the Pudendal nerve or cauda equine distribution) which is bad. Let me just state for the record, Mr. Winky under any circumstance should not be numb. What did I do? I finished a race nobody remembers in third place and then curled up in the trunk of my car for an hour in fetal position as the circulation returned. My point: there are certain pains an athlete should not push through. Yeah, I know pushing beyond pain, conquering the elements, leading the pack and charging to the top are all very sexy elements that enhance athletic drama. Numbness, long term pain, muscular loss, pain into the joints, excessive swelling, altered sleep states or loss of function are symptoms of more serious long term conditions that should not be ignored. These symptoms usually manifest slowly, but have dire consequences in the long run . If you have encountered any of these symptoms, you should consult a properly trained medical professional to find a solution. Often the solution is simple, and more importantly, will allow you a long career in your sport. Remember, a smart athlete knows when to take care of themselves as well as when to kick some butt new balance 479.

Shoulder Pain

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The shoulder that has pain is not necessarily the culprit. It is usually the opposite shoulder. Say your right shoulder hurts. You feel the pain because your right shoulder is doing everything correctly plus the work of the side that doesn’t hurt (left). Essentially, you’re feeding the same twin twice.new balance 572new balance 420