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Weightlifting and Chiropractic: Injury Reflections from a Health Professional

 

This is going to be an atypical DMC Health insight, a more personal story. I will be reflecting on my competitive weightlifting journey and role that chiropractic played in helping me.

 

I started out in weightlifting through CrossFit, but quickly realised that all that conditioning wasn’t for me… The technical aspect of weightlifting really appealed to me, and quickly became an obsession, training up to 10 sessions a week. But as with most athletes who dive straight into a new sport, niggles quickly started to show up.

The injury

 

I was able to manage the niggles by myself, that was until Junior National Championships 2015. I started to warm up for clean and Jerks and as the 100kg bar landed on my shoulders and felt and heard a loud crunch in my left shoulder… I knew something wasn’t right but I kept going. I was able to make 118kg on the platform to secure a bronze medal, but I heard another crunch in doing so. The competition was over and I couldn’t move my shoulder or turn my head.

 

2015 Junior National Championship: 118kg

 

An X-ray would reveal that I had fractured my 1st rib. This led to 2 months of complete rest from weightlifting. When I was able to start lifting again, my fracture had healed, but I developed a sharp, burning pain in my shoulder blade that made it difficult to hold the weight overhead. I went down the path of trying to uncover what the reason was – I saw a lot of different Doctors and had a heap of imaging tests with minimal answers or a plan on how to proceed.

 

How chiropractic helped me

 

I started trying to lift weights again but I struggled to push through the pain, which destroyed my motivation to compete. I had no idea what to do, and was so worried about hurting myself more. I had just started studying chiropractic at Macquarie University because I had good results with chiropractic in the past. So, I got in touch with the chiropractor that a few of my training partners went to, with the hope that he could get to the bottom of my persistent pain. He didn’t focus on the “cause” of my pain that I was chasing (because there wasn’t anything to blame), but he was able to reconceptualise my pain by explaining that my shoulder was sensitive, not damaged. Treatment focused on using manual therapy techniques (spinal adjustments and massage) so I was more comfortable in the overhead position, as well as taping the shoulder to provide some added support. Even though my shoulder was still painful during heavier sessions, I was more confident in managing it, slowly returned to and surpassed my previous personal bests.

 

Caption: 2019 Senior championships: 130kg

 

Final thoughts

 

As frustrating that whole experience was, it made me realise the important role that a chiropractor can have in the rehab process. Not just the specific treatments (adjustments, massage, taping) but also how they communicate with the patient to get the best outcomes. I reflect on those experiences a lot, and I try to use it to make myself a better chiropractor, by giving confidence and reassurance to my patients, because I’ve been through it all myself!

 

About the Author

Isaac-Searant-DMC-ChiroIsaac Searant completed a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science and Master of Chiropractic at Macquarie University, and is currently enrolled in a Master of Research. His research aims to understand the clinical decisions health practitioners make about diagnostic imaging. His clinical interests include spinal pain (neck and back) and sporting injuries. Regardless of the condition, his goal as a chiropractor is to work collaboratively with patients.

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