Working Out Around An Injury – Labrum Tear, The Injury
LABRUM TEAR, THE INJURY
In late 2008 I was about to become a father for the first time and was a semester away from receiving my Masters of Architecture from Georgia Tech. I was pushing about 240 lbs….not on bench press but on body weight….and was wearing XL shirts and size 38” pants. One day, after finishing dinner and starting dessert, I realized…
…I was sweating and breathing hard from simply eating!
At that exact moment I remember thinking, “Sh@!…something’s got to give…I am sweating and breathing as if I am working out…but I am eating!” So, right then and there I decided to up my workout intensity and really dedicate myself to losing some of the 75 lbs. I had gained since getting married 4 years prior.
Just so you know, I was already working out 5 days a week. My workouts consisted of weight lifting 5 days a week with a 2 mile run 3 days a week. I was pushing about 250 lbs. 8 times on bench and could do about 12 pull-ups for 5 sets…but I was a beast of a man that looked and was, aerobically speaking, completely out of shape.
So, after that fateful dinner (where I realized I was perspiring due to eating) I went to the gym with a new workout regiment in mind. I would super set cardio with power lifting. This means I’d do a set of bench press, then sprint up 10 flights of stairs (cardio), then come back to chest and repeat.
Well, on the very first day of the new routine everything went fine until the very last exercise.
I had actually finished my workout when I decided to throw in a bonus set (lat-overhead pulls)…I was literally half way out the door when I did a 180 to go back and do the bonus set…this is always the case right?
Well, I saw a bench-press bench open so I hopped on it, grabbed the straight bar off the bench-press rack, and laid back into position.
And then, as I brought my hands over, it happened –
POP!!!! – and we’re not talking N’Sync…we’re talking shoulder pain!
Right then and there started the most EXCRUCIATING 30 minutes of my life!
I, as you may or may not know, have never had, nor have the ability to have, a baby, but I think the pain I experienced that day was the closest thing I’ll ever have to experiencing labor pains.
My entire right side felt as if it was going to explode!
Every single shoulder muscle was flexed 1000 % and there was nothing I could do about it. It felt as if my shoulder muscles were crushing the bones in my shoulder.
It seriously took every single ounce of my energy and focus to NOT FAINT. Really, I felt like passing out and remember thinking, “You can’t pass out…you can’t afford the paramedics’ and hospital bill for the ER room.”
Well, the paramedics actually did end up coming because no one at the gym could help me pop my shoulder back in place and I couldn’t drive in my current condition. But, when the paramedics told me it’d be $ 500 to drive me to the ER I told them, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll get my wife to take me to the doctor…even if I have to wait another 45 minutes.”
So, after forcing myself to stay conscience for about 30-45 minutes, and right after the paramedics left, I mustered up enough strength and courage to try and pop my shoulder back in place by myself (since the paramedics couldn’t “legally” attempt to do it).
I slowly forced my arm up inch by inch until it was at about 25 degrees away from being stretched out right. Just so you get a sense of how hard it was to move, this took me about 5 minutes to do. At that point I got up on my tiptoes and jumped up high enough to get my arm over the check-in counter at LA Fitness.
And then it happened!!! When I landed with my arm on the counter…
THE PAIN DISAPPEARED!
It went from the worse pain I had every experienced to a slight pain in my shoulder! Yeah, I couldn’t really move my shoulder but the pain was gone IMMEDIATELY!!!!
Needless to say I couldn’t workout the rest of the week. And by week’s end, after 3 doctor visits, a number of x-rays, and a high-contrast MRI, I learned I wouldn’t be able to workout for about 6 – 8 months!
I HAD COMPLETELY TORN MY LABRUM AND WOULD NEED SURGERY!
But, surgery would put me out for a full year and I was about to be a new father…so that wasn’t an option. When I told the doctor this he told me there was about a 0.01% chance the labrum would heal/harden in a position that might not require surgery – a chance I had to take…at least until after my kid was born.