You may recall about a month ago I suffered a left biceps tendon tear. The initial injury was brought on by performing concentration curls with a 50 lb dumbbell about 6 weeks ago. While I felt a pop in the bottom position, I thought the damage was minimal and was possibly just a strain. And unlike when I hurt my back several months ago, I stopped immediately, and iced and rested it for two weeks. It felt so great as if nothing was wrong, so I went back to my regular exercise program full force.
But after teaching and clearing up after one of my Anger Management classes I had to lift a tractor tire it roll it away. With both arms straight and driving upward with my hips, I severed the biceps tendon completely. It sounded like when you tear a towel to make rags, and the pain and swelling was immediate. Needless to say, it’s not been fun!
Over the last few weeks I’ve been through a whirlwind of doctor appointments, MRI’s, consults, and finally yesterday, a surgical repair of the biceps distal tendon. This is the tendon that connects at the forearm, as opposed to the proximal tendon up near the shoulder. A tear of either of these sucks, no two ways about it. Over the last few weeks I couldn’t close my car door, brush my teeth, carry bags or really use my left arm for anything. My ability to accomplish simple tasks diminished and while some people opt to not have surgical repair, as you can function in “normal” life and live with it, for an active individual like myself, repair is the only way to return to an active life that revolves around fitness.
Here’s what I took away from all this. For one, heavy weights and concentrated loads on a joint, tendon, and muscle aren’t good. They’re certainly not functional, and while they may improve how a muscle looks, they do little to improve your fitness and health. No doubt in my mind, bodybuilding for years and lifting ridiculous weights predisposed me to this tear, and my previous hernia, shoulder, and neck injuries that also required surgery. I mean come on, I’m only 37!
For all of you out there that ever suffer a serious injury, I implore you to research as much as you can about your injury, following a professional diagnosis. What you don’t want to do is visit a medical website and type in your symptoms; you’ll get results that say you have everything under the sun. I read everything I could about my injury, and watched several different operations using different techniques. This was a huge help when discussing the options with my surgeon. Don’t just take meds because a doctor says you should, and definitely don’t let a surgeon operate until you firmly grasp the nature of the procedure, and understand the possible risks associated with it. I think that too many people just listen to their docs, don’t ask enough questions, and basically go for the ride. You have a responsibility to be diligent when it comes to your health; after all it is your body and life!
My surgery took place at Putnam Hospital in Carmel, NY. Dr. Stuart Styles of Somers Orthopedic group performed the procedure and I know the results will be good. I’ve known Dr. Styles for 15 years, and he also repaired my shoulder in the past. The staff, both at the hospital and the orthopedic office, were incredible to me and made this experience as pleasant as possible. This was truly a great experience and in a day and age when it seems like people just don’t care about anyone but themselves, I was shown genuine care and concern above and beyond. There is hope after all.
I chalk all of this up to the continual evolution of The Angry Trainer. My experiences help me to share what I think are the right things to do, and the wrong. In the coming months, I’ll keep you updated on my rehab and how this injury has once again changed my view on training and exercise. I’d be remiss if I didn’t share that I’ve been a bit depressed, feel out of shape, and have gained a few pounds. My activity has been limited severely and in my misery I’ve thrown my diet out the window. That stops today and it’s time to pull in the reins and jump off the misery train.
See, even though I’m a fitness professional, I still face the same issues as all of you out there. That’s what makes Angry Trainer Fitness so real, my ability to relate and truly understand where all of you are coming from…
If any of you reading this are suffering from an injury or illness I honestly wish you all the best – and hope my words may be of some help.