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My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Shoulder Injury - Part 1 of 3

It all started a year and a half ago. Back then, my time on the mats ebbed and flowed as I went through a troubling chapter of my life. While my training was sporadic, every time I got a good, solid few weeks in, and every time the disgusting fat around my midsection started to disappear, my shoulder would begin to ache. If I took a day off, it would feel a little bit better, and then as soon as I started training hard again, it would ache some more. The more I trained, the worse it felt. When I attempted to push through the pain, it would get so bad that I was simply forced to let up until it felt better. This went on for months on end until I had a an opportunity to take some real time off.

Time Off

I went on a three-week trip to Southeast Asia, and when I returned, even before I could wash the stink of lady-boy off my body (Note:  Thailand is the only place in the world where the men are better looking then the women - see above...those are dudes), my shoulder began hurting again. So I came to the conclusion that this was not a take-it-easy-and-it-will-heal-itself injury, and finally got around to having it checked out. I assumed I would be able to stretch it or exercise it or ice it or do whatever it took to fix it up. After a few X-rays, my primary care physician sent me to physical therapy, but I ended up going to chiropractor instead (yeah, I know, don't judge me, my girlfriend suggested it, and "Yelpers" sure seemed to think he was hot shit, so I gave it a try).

Chiropractors Are Not Doctors

This chiropractor was awesome. He knew exactly what chiropractors are good for (basically, nothing), and when my injuries were beyond his area of "expertise", he suggested an MRI. A very cheap MRI that he had his staff schedule because he knew I would be paying out of pocket.

A week later, I found myself on a tray, face-up, nose three inches from the ceiling of what looked like a mausoleum, being moved deeper and deeper into the bowls of the machine. I really do not like small, enclosed spaces, but just as I started to demand they let me out, I saw a piece of tape move in front of my eyes. Someone had written on the tape "Don't panic!"

My chiropractor called me with the results, and oh my brothers, it was a horror show of damage and injury. 15 years of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not easy on a guy's shoulders, particularly a guy who is virtually impervious to pain. The MRI conclusion included the word "arthritis". This word is terrifying for a 37-year-old to hear. It conjures up images of mobility scooters, Sons of Anarchy, and the latest issue of "Prevention" magazine sitting on my Grandmother's immaculately cleaned coffee table. I wondered if arthritis was enough to get me the senior citizen's coffee discount at McDonalds.

He finished, by saying, "the results are not good, by any means, but they are not terrible." God bless him. I am so thankful I found an honest chiropractor (I'm sure being Canadian had something to do with it.) willing to own up to the limitations of his chosen profession, and send my ruined shoulder to a specialist.

So I went back to my primary care physician (because this is what we do in the United States). When I said the word "chiropractor" she literally winced, but granted me an appointment to a shoulder specialist once she saw the MRI results.

Kristofer Jones, MD (aka Bon Fucking Jovi)

My shoulder specialist's bio suggested he is pretty much the Bon Jovi of orthopedics. The look on his face was fascinating as he reviewed my MRI pictures. He went through image by image, zoomed in and out, rotated the picture, and nodded to himself saying, "Mmm hmmm. Mmmm hmmm" as though each picture represented a familiar episode of damage that he was confident he would be able to fix.

He described a surgery that would solve the problem. It involved shaving down my bone which was chronically rubbing against another bone. It involved cleaning out scar tissue. He sounded like he knew what he was doing so I decided "why not?" I was on an HMO plan, got a lucky draw with my doctor, and it would only cost $500 (plus another $500 or so for physical therapy).

A couple of weeks later, I went under the knife, unfortunately, not for my shoulder....