Exercise Your Pain Away

July 25, 2019

For much of my adult life I’ve had pain in my shoulders from impingements.  When playing golf or throwing batting practice when I was a Little League coach, anything that used my shoulders required lots of Ibuprofen.  To alleviate the pain I tried physical therapy, but didn’t follow the treatment plan seriously enough to see any results. 

About two years ago, I happened to mention to one of our personal trainers that I quit doing any weightlifting over my head (such as a military press) because of the pain it triggers in my shoulders.  The personal trainer said “I can fix that” which I felt was a pretty bold statement since I’d had the condition for so many years. He looked at my PT treatment plan and adjusted the exercises to fit my current strength level.  He also added additional exercises to enhance the PT’s plan. I began the new exercise plan and within two weeks the pain in my shoulders went away! I’ve been doing the key exercises in that plan ever since and I’ve yet to experience any pain in my shoulders.

At the beginning of this year, I had so much pain in both of my knees that even walking was causing some pain.  With me barely clinging on to the south end of my 60’s, I figured that my body was just getting old and perhaps I was heading towards knee replacement or some other surgery. Knowing how well the issue with my shoulders was resolved, I scheduled an appointment with a physical therapist. On my initial visit with the PT, I learned that I have significant tears in the meniscus of both knees. The meniscus is a pad of cartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber. The PT started me on an extensive exercise program mainly to strengthen my hips which he felt was the primary cause of my knee problems.

After six weeks or so of PT appointments and religiously doing the assigned exercises, the pain was reduced significantly – down to about 30% of what it was prior to meeting with the physical therapist.  To work on the last 30% of the pain, my PT suggested trying cycling. Since attempting lower body workouts in the past had caused too much pain in my knees, I really thought I would have trouble getting through a cycling class. I gave the cycling class a shot (at BHC of course) and was amazed I lasted the full length of that first class. The cycling that day certainly kicked my butt but I did not have sharp pain in my knees as I thought I would.   With that first success, I gradually increased my cycling as a regular routine and eventually added outside bike rides. The more cycling I did, the more my knee pain was reduced. 

It’s now been several months and the pain in my knees is essentially gone. I felt confident enough to register to do the RSVP ride next month. The RSVP (Ride to Vancouver and Party) is a large organized group ride from Seattle to Vancouver BC completed in two days – a total of 187 miles.

My message from all of this is that with the right guidance to help you deal with what ails you and the Club and its personal trainers to help with follow through and perhaps enhance that  guidance you can make great progress in living a pain-free life.

Enjoy the Summer!

Pat Gilbrough
Owner / General Manager