Monday, January 15, 2007

Are Your Life’s Goals Aligned With Your Workout?

Several years ago a local personal trainer referred a semi-retired cardiothoracic surgeon to my office for evaluation and treatment of shoulder pain. The shoulder pain had slowly set in after several weeks of training with his personal trainer. He had been to two orthopedic surgeon “sports medicine” specialists and was diagnosed with bursitis, given anti-inflammatories, told to apply heat and that was pretty much it. After an actual physical exam (I actually do hands on examinations using classical and new orthopedic tests) I determined he had a shoulder impingement syndrome bordering on what I felt was a rotator cuff tear/strain. I prescribed a course of Graston Technique, physical therapy and chiropractic shoulder adjustments and he noted immediate improvement for the 1st time in a long time and full resolution of his shoulder pain within 10 days (yes, he even followed my home instructions!) I later found out that in high school and college Dr. “B” was a “back-stroker” on the swim teams which made a lot of sense since this type of swim stroke can lead to shoulder impingement in and of itself.

A few weeks later, Dr. “B” returned with a new complaint; Low Back Pain. He said he strained it while working out and then later confessed to me that this was the 4th training related strain injury he had suffered in a short period of time and that he felt that he was being trained much too hard. He further mentioned that all he really wanted in his semi-retirement was to be able to walk around his medical practice, examine and consult with his patients (he no longer performed surgeries but continued to train medical residents) and that he wanted to be able to get back in the pool and do the back-stroke like he did in college. He felt his trainer was trying to prepare him for the Iron-Man and wouldn’t listen to him. It was obvious to me that Dr. “B” was being pushed beyond his wants and needs. His repetitive strain injuries were actually hindering him from the activities he really wanted to do.

I asked Dr. “B” if he had ever sat down and discussed his life’s goals with his personal trainer; he said no. Basically what had happened is Dr. “B” was going to a trainer who was training him for what the trainer felt should be his health & fitness goals and capabilities and not necessarily what Dr. “B” wanted or needed. Dr. “B” eventually dropped out of his personal training because of the repetitive injuries he suffered from the training. After his symptoms reduced and his function restored, he began doing what he loved, the back-stroke & consulting with his patients.

So, I ask you, is your workout aligned with your goals? If you work out with a personal trainer, make sure you have this conversation with him or her. It’s very important; after all, it’s your life and your workout. If you are a trainer, when was the last time you sat and just talked with your clients to get to know them, their goals and their dreams?


Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Clinic.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Dr. Narson is definitely in the know about sports injuries. A “hands on” approach is always going to prevail in healing conditions that are biomechanical in nature. Besides is they could put Dr. Todd in a pill form it wouldn’t taste very good! :-) Great article! – Dr. Rob Watkins.