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Testimony Thursday: Recovery from Shoulder Pain

How I overcame debilitating shoulder pain and limited range of motion!

In my Healing Testimony I shared that I recovered from various chronic pain syndromes and other chronic illnesses. I had so many diagnoses, I did not go into detail of each one in my testimony, because I did not want it to get too long. Instead, I will be doing shorter recovery stories for each one and this one is about shoulder pain.

I had already recovered from most illnesses by the time I went to see Dr Schubiner for back pain, fatigue, and anxiety. About one year after my initial appointment with him I started getting pain in my left shoulder with certain movements. I had started using the chin-up assist machine at the gym and my first thought was that it must be the repeated chin-ups I was doing at least once a week. However, I knew enough at this point that I figured it could also just be TMS.

I tried to convince myself that there is nothing wrong with my shoulder and looked up studies like this one, indicating that many people with actual structural shoulder damage, do not have shoulder pain. Despite reminding myself daily that my shoulder is ok, the pain kept getting worse because I had a tremendous amount of doubt. How could something this painful not be due to structural damage? It progressed to the point that I had hardly any range of motion left, I had stopped working out my upper body, and I couldn't even sleep on my left shoulder. I was frustrated and angry.

After about 8 or 9 months of dealing with this pain I had an appointment with Dr. Schubiner. I brought up the shoulder pain, he asked some questions, and then did an exam. I was hoping and praying he would say that it's just TMS. Instead, he said that it's "most likely" just TMS, but even if it is an injury it will heal and that I need to get back to working out. I left that day feeling disappointed and fearful.

I am not even sure how and why, but a few days after the appointment I decided that I had had enough. If Dr. Schubiner felt that I should work out, even if there was an injury, then that is exactly what I was going to do. So I went back to the gym and resumed my normal work outs. I started with slow, controlled movements and kept reminding myself that torn rotator cuffs (what I thought I had) do not cause pain. The first day back at the gym was rough, and I had some pain, but I persevered and by my next work out the pain was completely gone. That was roughly a year ago and I still have no shoulder pain and I have full range of motion.

It's crazy when it happens this way, but once you believe that your body is not broken, the pain has lost its purpose. No matter the cause of chronic pain, it's the fear of the pain that keeps it going, and doubt in the mind-body diagnosis causes fear.

If you have any questions, please comment below or send me an email at

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