Fixing Naomi Sheppard Series

Fixing Naomi Sheppard

In this next mini-series, you look into working with Naomi Sheppard from 2023, when she came to see me for her back. I give all the details in the video, but though we started virtually in March, she was still pained when she came in June for this assessment. We had a few things to go over and review, and this was exactly what we needed to get her on the track toward healing. The Disc bulges and schmorles Node she is dealing with is a brutal injury to get past. Her former Doctors, therapists, and advisors didn’t do her any favors (no assessment was performed), as discussed in the video, and we had to figure out what worked and what didn’t for her particular injury after a full assessment. I think we spent about 4hr together.

Many people never get out of pain with this type of compression injury, much less getting back under 600 lbs! A schmorles node is defined by the medical dictionary as intravertebral disc herniations, which refer to protrusions of the cartilage of the intervertebral disc through the vertebral body endplate and into the adjacent vertebra. The protrusions may contact the marrow of the vertebra, leading to inflammation. This inflammation in the bone causes a deep, achy pain, much like a toothache. They are not fun to deal with.

I’m happy to report that Naomi is feeling good and has been back to lifting for some time now. She will continue to heal as her body adapts to her new spine (one with miles on it), and she minds the limits of her body. I’m so proud of her and wish her the best as she pushes toward competition again in 2024. In the short video, you can see the progressions (roughly) we used over the last 6-7 months.

I’ve learned from Naomi and will continue to learn as she takes the reigns to continue the climb to rebuild (it’s a process of years, not months), and I hope she’s learned from me and continues to apply the principles that helped her heal and regain capacity again. Working with such a fine athlete has been a pleasure, and such as the situation with Stu and myself in Gift of Injury, I worry about her since I’m invested emotionally and hope she stays out of pain. There are no guarantees regarding injury recovery and pace – some have had this type of pain for years, others are out of pain in seemingly no time — specifically back pain and returning to world-class lifting. It’s about meshing the science and the experience, slowly building more capacity, and not crossing the tipping point (with a little bit of luck). Getting back under the bar after such a MASSIVE compression injury is always a gamble, and I wish her the absolute best. I know how I was ready to return to competition and look forward to how she does.

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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at
Brian Carroll is committed to helping people overcome back pain and optimizing lifts and movement. After years of suffering, he met back specialist Prof. McGill in 2013, which led to a life-changing transformation. In 2017, they co-authored the best-selling book "Gift of Injury." On October 3, 2020, Carroll made history in powerlifting by squatting 1306 lbs, becoming the first person to break this record. He retired with a secure legacy and a life free from back pain.
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