WPO: Part 6 – MRI Results

Verdict: I’ve got a banged up shoulder. I’ll be fine. 

Some wear and tear, for the most part with some acute damage, but not bad; cyst, etc. from my labia tear ten years ago. Some arthritis, some worn tendons, etc., some mild to moderate tears and strains in my Subscap and Supra. A little bit of looseness in my shoulder and some clicks and pops. 

Nothing too bad but…

After knowing what I know now with the MR results, I was probably on the cusp of being in rehab for a long time. Thankfully, my shoulder is only a bit ‘loose’ feeling, creaky and achy, but that’s to be expected even if the MRI didn’t show some acute damage, I had plenty of chronic, though it wasn’t terrible for what I’ve done. 

I think what I felt pop/tearing was my supra due to the where I felt the pain, and it’s proximity to the humerus. The subscap pain has been there since before the meet and started about three years ago, and just got worse as I’ve written about. There are no free passes; it’s all cumulative.  When the subscap is compromised, the rest of the rotator cuff muscles become compromised. The subscap pain is why my shoulder felt unstable, and I had pain near my pec and biceps, as well as a little bit of numbness into the hand, etc. 

The fact is my shoulder is not very bad at all from both a day to day standpoint as well as a lifting one. As I sit here writing, the pain is moderate at worst and I’ve been doing some easy rehab and waiting for further direction now that I have the MR result. It hurt decently after the meet, for maybe a week then that went away for the most part. 

It’s still frustrating due to ego and competitiveness that I didn’t have a good day, but it could have been a lot worse. I’m most likely pretty lucky that I didn’t take another bench and or was not in a position to push the deadlift since I bombed.

During training, my pain and tightness would move around but never bothered me in the bench shirt. Occasionally while pulling or squatting – from my biceps to my pec, to my lat, to my trap. But this was not typical during lifting; it felt BETTER most times. What would piss it off was sitting and typing!

My shoulder didn’t give me much trouble during the training cycle, so I figured three weeks off before the meet, and lots of rest would help heal whatever else still needed to recover. I think only 1-2 days did it bother me and impact my numbers for the day. The rest was sitting and typing. How silly is this?

Little injuries and aches and pains are what you SHOULD expect from time to time, especially as I have with tearing my labrum a few years ago. I’ve done time under the bar; this stuff is going to happen. I’ve been very fortunate that I haven’t had more soft tissue issues over the years, honestly.

You will have aches and pains over time if you train heavy, so this is something we all accept. I’ve earned this.

Going forward….

I don’t have definitive plans, but first I need to get my shoulder better, and with all the walking I’ve been doing, my foot arches are getting a little worn, so I need some time off to heal-up. Again, I’m pretty lucky this is all I have to worry about, and I’m grateful.

What a small price to pay, for all the dumb shit we do. There are many lifters from my era with multiple surgeries, replacements, heart/liver/kidney issues, so I keep this perspective.

As I move forward with rehab, I’ll add more, but right now, getting healthy, some blood work and healing up a couple of minor issues will be the focus.

Here’s something that I’m finally coming to terms with: the damage we are doing now may take a while to show up. I’ve said many times that I know retired athletes who have aches and pains show up YEARS later, as it’s latent and finally manifests. I see this a lot with the knee and ball and socket joints (shoulder and hip). Some are in so much pain and discomfort that their daily lives are significantly impacted and inhibited.

Some people wouldn’t change a thing; others would have done things differently.

I used to NEVER EVER think about this. My 40’s and 50’s didn’t matter, because I didn’t see myself living to 40, much less 50. Talk about being foolish. There’s a lot of life to live past sport or hobby.

I’m willing to bet that my shoulder has been waiting to do this for a while, I just finally gave it the correct ingredients to manifest.

I’ll leave this write-up with this: I don’t know what I want to do going forward. I’ve gone back and forth a ton of times over the last few years.

The question is this: what do I want to feel like in my 50’s and 60’s? Right now, what I’m doing is going to be a direct result on how good or bad my quality of life is. Are 55 lbs more on my 242 total worth five years off of my life, or even worse? Maybe, maybe not. You’d have to ask me in 5,10,15,20 years. I don’t know.

Twenty years in; how much longer will I push my body and get away with the shit I have before something serious happens? It’s inevitable, pretty much.

I don’t know or have the answers, but since 1999 This is all I’ve known. Before this, it was baseball. Before that, nothing else.

I’m taking it day by day, but most hours of the day, I’m fighting my ego but right now the focus is getting caught up on life and then reevaluating everything.


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Brian Carroll

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
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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