Long Term Injuries: How They Start & What To Do To Prevent Them!

It is an all-to-familiar situation. A long term can be prevented if you take the proper measures. Find out what you need to do to prevent long term injuries here!
It is an all-to-familiar situation. You're out with some friends and the drinks make an appearance. You decide to keep the number of drinks down but you get a little buzz, then you hear it, "who wants to arm wrestle?" I mean, you're a bodybuilder right? You should have no problem taking on your drinking buddies.

Unfortunately, whether or not you win the match doesn't matter; you could end up losing either way, as I did one unfortunate night when I torn the muscles in my shoulder, bicep and tendons in my elbow in one quick arm wrestling match.


How It Started...

I hurt myself before arm wrestling, but I was lucky and it healed completely. My last arm wrestling match, and I do intend for it to be my last in my lifetime, did a bit more damage and I was left with more ripped muscles than I knew I even used in one testosterone driven activity.

What Does Testosterone Mean?
Testosterone is a principal male sex hormone. Though this hormone normally (and necessarily) occurs in small amounts in females, it is chiefly known as the hormone responsible for stimulating the development of male sex organs and male secondary sexual characteristics, e.g. facial hair, deepening of the voice, and muscle development.

Due to the alcohol I was not even aware that I was injured. My arm ached, but I thought it was just due to over-doing it a little. The next day I rolled over tried to lift my arm to rub my aching head and almost screamed. I was unaware of it at the time, but I had torn the front of my deltoid, my bicep, and a tendon in my elbow, quite impressive for one arm wrestle.

Not really surprising though when you consider it would have been the equivalent of heading into the gym, picking up a weight I really couldn't lift, and holding it at the most intense point I could find for about 3 minutes.

All this while being dehydrated and not having warmed up and without cooling down in any way. The result was an arm I figured to just be sprained and now, five months later, still unhealed.

How Often Do You Stretch?

Everyday.
Before And After Each Workout.
Before Each Workout.
After Each Workout.
Never, It's Useless.

The visit to the doctor was interesting, as most experiences bodybuilders have with the unique opinions of doctors is. He told me my arm was merely sore and to "lift light weight" until it heals. He refused to x-ray the arm and touched it for about 1 second before making this diagnosis.

Lifting lightweight proved to be pointless as it merely kept my arm sore all the time. Heavy lifting was obviously impossible and I fell into a trend of taking every other week off, and then going back to the gym to see if I was healed yet, as my arm eventually stopped hurting unless I lifted something heavy.

Eventually my arm got to the point it is now in which I can use it for most exercises but believe I may never be able to do certain motions again, such as cable crossovers, dumbbell flyes, or any other position which puts undue pressure on my elbow.


The Mistakes I Made...

I believe I made some mistakes over the course of my injury. The point of my story is to share with others with serious injuries what I learned so that others may heal faster, and get back lifting heavy weight as soon as possible.


My 1st Mistake

    My first mistake was not initially taking time off. After my injury I took a few days for the intense pain to die down, but I never took a week or two like I think I should have.

    I hit the gym and pulled the arm, and only got a few sets done. I figured at the time I was at least giving my muscles enough to stay alive.

    In reality I was just keeping the muscle pulled. Initially I should have taken two weeks off and just let it all heal. Of course at the time I didn't know I had any real damage, hindsight is always 20/20 they say.

How Long Do You Take Off When You Get Injured?

No Time.
1 Day.
2 - 5 Days.
2 - 4 Weeks.
Until It Stops Hurting.


My 2nd Mistake

    My second mistake is that I didn't demand my doctor do an x-ray. I waited a month before I first saw the doctor thinking I just had a pull and I really didn't need a doctor to tell me that.

    After a month with my arm showing no signs of healing I figured something must have really gotten messed up. The doctor was still no help however. I told him I pulled my arm a month ago and it wasn't healing. He told me it was just a pull and to lay off the heavy weights for awhile, and that was that.

    I never went back to see him, because I figured he would just tell me it was healing slowly and to lay off it. If I had gotten an x-ray at that time I could have discovered a rip and maybe have gotten a cast for a few months.

    Instead I suffered through it for 5 months and am still not 100%. If I had my time back I would have gotten that x-ray so at least I would have known for sure what was wrong. I would encourage others to do the same.


The Author Dean Goudie.

    If something doesn't seem right, make sure your doctor understands your concerns. Doctors seem to blow off weight lifters, thinking their exercises are excessive, their supplements are unnecessary or whatever else they want to believe. But a tear is a tear and it needs help to heal, take my word for it, just make sure your doctor is doing what they should instead of trying to rush you out the door.

    Of course I live in Canada where doctor visits are free.

    In America I imagine things might be a little different where the doctor will give you anything you are willing to pay them for.


Conclusion

What I did do right is change my routine. I adjusted my exercises (Use the Bodybuilding.com exercise database to find exercise alternatives).

I had to cut out almost all of my compound movements, and focus entirely on isolation exercises. This got me by until my arm was healed enough to return to a regular routine. My routine also became a little leg heavy. I just focused on what I could do as opposed to what I could not.

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With an arm injury it is a little hard to work other parts as the arms are used to work out almost every body part at least indirectly. But with time and effort I got to the point where I can do all but a handful of compound exercises.

Chin-ups and dips may never make their way back into my routine but bench & dumbbell presses did. I don't know if I'll ever see a complete recovery but with a little more rest, and a bit more dedication I should be able to return to a point where I can do a half-decent workout.