my 9/13/2010 surgery

My upcoming shoulder surgery is not related to weight lifting. I feel this is important to point out because one point I repeat time and time again is that good form is essential for preventing injury. It would look mighty stupid if I got an injury from lifting weights! I have lifted 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year since 1983 without a single weight lifting injury or accident. A very common injury from using bad form at the gym is a torn rotator cuff – I do NOT have that. People screw up their rotator cuff all the time from:

  • letting their elbows go behind the plane of their back (bench, mil prs, lat pulldowns, etc)
  • using too much weight on shoulder exercises (these are really small muscles)
  • using ballistic pushes at the bottom of the range of motion
  • doing reps too fast
  • bouncing
  • jerking
Again, I do not have a rotator cuff injury, you dont want one either. A full rotator cuff tear will not heal by itself and requires surgery (expensive) and 6 months of rehab before you get your life back. Lift carefully, do not destroy your shoulder with bad form!
What I have is chronic shoulder tendonitis caused by impingement. I have two bone spurs (bumps on my bones) that poke into the shoulder joint at inconvenient locations narrowing the space where the tendons are supposed to be. Every time I move my shoulder, the tendons have to squish by those bumps and each crunch/brush causes the tendon to get more inflamed. Not only does the inflammation cause pain but it causes swelling that makes it even harder (and more painful) for the tendons to slide around. What the surgery involves is grinding off those bone spurs which I am told is not as painful as it sounds. The recovery should be significantly faster than for a rotator cuff tear but will still keep me away from heavy weights at least for 3 months. I will be a good patient and follow my surgeons recommendations to the tee, and even more important, I will listen to my physical therapist!
You can read more about injuries and how to prevent them if you want.