Last Updated on February 18, 2022 by David Vause
I fully understand that general practitioners have to diagnose and manage to the norms. But there is nothing ordinary about spending nearly your entire life eating not too far from the Mediterranean Diet and spending a minor two-thirds of your adult life doing fairly strenuous exercise. So when my GP told me that my left shoulder pain was due to arthritis, I pretty much believed her. I continued to lift, and it slowly worsened over 5 or 6 years. I noticed that dropping wide grip pull-ups seemed to alleviate the pain. I started doing chin-ups exclusively. Then, I read that lowering the barbell to the bottom of your sternum during bench presses took the stress off one’s shoulders. I tried that, with some success also. But nothing halted the slow decrease in mobility and increase in pain. This did not make sense to me. Exercise is known to alleviate arthritic pain, not make it worse.
In June 2021, I dropped all exercises known to aggravate shoulder impingement syndrome and waited. I replaced the bench press with push-ups with feet elevated. I removed all movements that involved reaching overhead or even over level with my shoulders. Then I waited.
Gradually over the months, I was able to wave with my left hand. The pain slowly diminished. Now, eight months later, I am re-introducing pull-ups. My shoulder pain is essentially gone.
I wonder how many seniors discontinue exercise because peers or even doctors attribute some pain to ailments associated with getting older. The reality is that most of these ailments are more attributable to unhealthy diets and being sedentary. My shoulder impingement was due to overuse, not getting older, likewise with running. I don’t know what “blowing out” one’s knee is. But I know what patellofemoral pain syndrome and I know what to do to fix it.
If someone tells you to stop exercising, ignore them, especially if you’re a senior.