By day 28, I am so happy to say that I have completely healed. My shoulder is back to 100% and I just want to share some of the ways in which I achieved this and some of the lessons I learned along the way.
Honestly, I was not sure in the beginning… my shoulder was completely frozen and immobile. I thought I might have completely torn the ligaments in my shoulder, which would have required surgery. But, I wanted to take a few days before getting an MRI to see if it could start improving. I knew that if it started improving, there was a very good chance it was just a partial tear and it could heal on its own, with the help of a great rehab program.
28 days later, I am so happy to say that my shoulder feels strong, stable and has full range of motion again. But, that’s because I put in the work. I did not just sit back and wait for it to try and heal itself. I got in there and really worked it every day. One of the most important lessons I want to share with you is what I call the 90/10 rule. It means that you will probably get close to 90% of your injury healed, but that last 10% is tough. The damage from the injury has to be completely healed in order for you to get back to a state of full strength, stability and healthy range of motion.
If you don’t, then your injury will get stuck at that point and never really heal more than that. And that means it will always be somewhat immobile and potentially painful. Worse still, it will be at a much higher risk of re-injury AND could cause an injury in another part of the body. The reason for that is when you move, if the first area that is supposed to be the quarterback of that movement is unavailable or hindered, then the body will call on other areas to help. The problem is that those other areas are probably not equipped to do it, so they can get injured pretty easily at that point.
For example, if my shoulder can’t move well enough to finish a movement, my body might call on the neck or back to try and do it, which may cause them to work more or bend further than are supposed to and then get injured. So, it’s incredibly important to get that initially injured area back to 100%, so that the body moves efficiently and correctly. And, of course, it will keep you out of pain and lower your risk of re-injury dramatically.
Okay, here are some specifics of what I did in my shoulder rehab and how I did it. You should also watch the video as I take you through the specifics.
Static Holds – To start, I wanted to make sure I did not injure my shoulder any further, but at the same time, started to improve strength and stability. Static holds are the best way to get started. You will be protecting the injury, while also starting to wake up that area and get it stronger again. From there, as I started to improve, I began slowly going in and out of ranges of motion within the static hold, so I could start testing my shoulder and improving range of motion. The key is just to AVOID any movement that causes pain. That’s your body’s way of saying, “Hold on, I’m not ready for that yet”. Listen to your body as you go through this… Again, watch the video…
Mobility – Next, I wanted to start testing and improving my shoulder mobility and stability. The only way to do that was to move my shoulder in and out of different rages of motion. Again, check the video for specifics, but make sure you avoid any motion that causes any sort of pain. Once, I started feeling like I could do a range motion safely, I started adding a little weight (could just be a water bottle, etc) to continue adding more challenge to the movements. As time went on, I challenged myself more and more with weight and different ranges of motion.
Once, I got back to about 90% and felt pretty good, I told myself I was going to wait another 2 weeks before doing sports. And in that 2 weeks, I worked really hard to get back to 100%. And that was tough. Here’s a pretty close analogy… if you’re really overweight, you’re going to lose weight really easily in the beginning. It could be as easy as removing sodas from your diet.
But, as time goes on, it gets harder and harder. Eventually, you get to a point when you’re trying to lose that last 5-10 pounds and it’s only going to work if your diet is great and you’re exercising regularly. It’s the same thing here… in the beginning, the body starts to do better and better at a pretty fast rate, but eventually you will hit a wall and the body will have a hard time getting you from 90% to 100%. That is where a great rehab program will make all the difference. You need to get in there and continue to work the area until you’ve healed ALL the damage from the injury and rebuilt the area to be strong and stable again.
My message is not to get impatient and also that you don’t have to live with the 90%… stick with it, so that you can fully heal the injury. It will make all the difference in the world as far as the long term impact on the injury and your body as a whole. If you rush it, you may actually re-injure the area again, which could set you back months. It’s worth it to take a little extra time, because it is actually the FASTEST way to get back to 100% health. There are no shortcuts, but this method works the best. Do a great rehab program and you will reap the rewards!
Again, check out the video and I hope you will take the time to heal your injury the right way, so you can get back to doing what you love, safely and pain free.