The long road back: Part 16


Pain & Posturing

It was all going so well. Too well, perhaps. As I’ve been feeling better and better in recent weeks I’ve been ramping up my riding and working. But, naggingly, so too has the pain in my left shoulder. It’s been generally manageable with a bit of paracetamol, ibuprofen and the odd cement pill. Until last Thursday that is. I decided to have a crack at my first solid session of hill repeats in four months, with plenty of out-of-the-saddle gear mashing. Bad idea. I made it through the session (albeit with the help of a few sneaky short-cuts), but was in agony for most of the day afterwards, a deep throbbing pain right through the shoulder joint that, frankly, was all rather depressing. I hadn’t felt this bad for three months.

After a bit of a sulk at home – and contemplating the heavy duty painkillers once again (I resisted) – it was on the phone to my physio, also recovering from a separated shoulder as you might recall, for some guidance and reassurance. No, it shouldn’t be feeling worse. No, don’t get more scans just yet. Yes, I should come in as soon as possible.

After a worrying night contemplating what horrible new damage I’d somehow managed to inflict on the shoulder joint (when you have little idea what’s going on, there’s a tendency to always assume the worst), I saw my physio yesterday morning and it turns out I’ve been a very naughty boy. As I’ve been feeling so good – using the arm more, riding more, and working more at my desk – I’ve been a little too neglectful of my posture exercises. Truth be told, I haven’t done any for about the last 10 days. Cue the chin stroking and frowns.

Within barely a minute of (painfully) removing my shirt my physio suggested my posture was truly appalling. ‘Look at your position right now!’ Yes, I was hunched forward with decidedly rounded shoulders, a taller and skinnier version of Quasimodo. He explained my poor posture probably wasn’t aided by working for long periods on a computer, and has almost certainly led to an undesirable compressing of nerves, tissue and so forth in my still-healing shoulder socket. Which, of course, equals……pain.

Voila! Problem solved then? Just sit up straight, right? Well, not quite. I’m now back on a pretty intensive posture/strength regime to get my rotator cuff and other relevant muscles back on track – with strict instructions to do them every day without fail. This, in theory at least, should lead to an easing of pain in due course. The trick, as it is with most things in modern life, is finding time to stick to the schedule with so much else going on. Just the latest in a long line of physical and mental challenges to overcome since that fateful Californian descent last December.

In better news, had a good 50km ride this morning. 100% drug assisted.


Days since op: 109
Days since crash: 125
Shirt removal pain-o-meter: 4/10
Weekly riding: Some road, some trainer, some hills

2 thoughts on “The long road back: Part 16

  1. Hi Peter.
    I came across your blog as I was Googling AC joint cycling injuries as I had mine surgically repaired three weeks ago after coming off my bike on a patch of diesel on a bend. I am at the stage where the end is too far off to be in sight and so reading your blog has been most reassuring that one day in the not too far distant future, as long as apply myself as you have, I should be back on the road.

    It sounds like your shoulder injuries were actually worse than mine. I had a fairly straightforward grade 5 ACJ separation which seems bad enough so can only imagine what you have been through.

    I hope your recovery continues until you are as strong as before the injury and that you continue to enjoy road racing at a high level. I look forward to reading further blogs on your progress as well all the other interesting posts you have made.

    I really understood the bit about one handed buttering of toast and buttoning clothes!

    Best wishes, I’m off to my turbo.


    1. Thanks for the message Richard, although sorry to hear you’ve joined the busted shoulder club. It’s a rollercoaster, no doubt, but just hang in there. I’m actually writing my latest post right now – so stay tuned! Cheers, Pete

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