Saturday, August 22, 2015

OMS Update

Two posts in three days OMG!  What has gotten into me?  I guess I can attribute that to a great session just a couple days ago which brings the stoke level up!

I notice that my post on Old Man Syndrome from a few years ago probably got the most comments of any of my posts.  Thank you for reading and thank you for commenting!

I thought I'd give an update.  Anyone who knows me or has faithfully read this highly-intermittent blog will be aware that I have been suffering from chronic shoulder tendonitis in both sides for almost 5 years now.  Well, it certainly is not gone, but it has improved quite a bit.  How?  I'll tell you.

In my 20's, pre-family, pre-maturity, my life was essentially focused on living for two sports - climbing and windsurfing.  I think they complimented each other quite well.  I was injured from time to time, from one or the other, but while I cannot say I was in great shape on the whole, my shoulders & arms were generally in great shape, for me.  I could happily sail 4-5hrs nearly straight before cramping, which I thought was pretty decent at the time as I outlasted most people on the water and was constantly trying tricks the whole time.

In my 30's, life changed.  I met a great gal, traveled a bit and came home with a couple additions to the family.  Around this time, several things happened.  I stopped climbing, as it just didn't fit life very well.  I got a desk job that is 99%+ desk work.  I was a parent, so time to fulfill my active needs decreased a lot.  The only thing I hoarded was time for myself to windsurf.  During this time, through bad posture, reduced physical activity and much less arm/shoulder use, combined with windsurf-only shoulder activity, things went off the rails.

Part of me had a wee sneaking suspicion that if I could just get to the gym and start working out (without having the tendonitis flare up), I should see some improvement.  But, two things:  1) I don't like gyms (never have, never will) and 2) I could not get the pain to subside.  That took a long, long time.

This winter, things got much better.  Towards the end of last fall's windsurf season, I was a mess.  But through massage, stretching & rubber-band exercises from my physio, plus daily icing, attention to posture, etc... etc.. I made it through into this past winter pain free with most normal unloaded or minimally loaded arm movements.  Some good friends of mine were planning to start a weekly guys-night-out to the local climbing gym, so I started to tag along.  I took it super easy at first, iced/stretched like crazy afterwards, but soon enough, I was starting to make it through each week without having to endure a week, or a few days of pain.  I could climb, and be pain free.  I could ice-climb, and be pain free.  To this day, I can still climb, and be (almost) pain free.  If I take the time to warm up, stretch a bit afterwards, and ice, I am usually good to go, and climbing at a happy-for-me level (just 5.9-5.10 max, for you climbers out there).

I think despite all the advice I got, diagnoses I received, treatments done, I didn't listen to my own brain, which kinda had that suspicion that all that shoulder mess was simply due to a massive muscle imbalance that evolved due to a number of factors.  Thankfully, through those treatments, diagnoses, etc... I managed to get pain free long enough to get back to climbing, and the multi-directional strengthening it offers which presumably has regained better muscle balance and support for the joint.  Windsurfing, I think, is just too uni-directional when it comes to forces on the shoulders.

So, that is the update.  OMS?  Well sure, I still feel it, I'm still not sailing 4-5 hours straight any more, but managing 3-4 hours anyway and improving all the time.  I think this blissful state of emerging from a long bout with shoulder issues has got me AMPED and has lead me to my Quest for Pushies!

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