Nietse(originally from Holland) spent almost 40 minutes taking me through a range of movements with both shoulders to determine where I had pain, weakness and restricted movement. I was still strong from years of weight lifting but I found many of the exercises difficult. He pulled and stretched my shoulders, asking if the result made my shoulder feel better, the same, or worse. At the end of the session, he said he believed he could get me pain free within 2-3 months. I was kceptical. A trained doctor and a shoulder specialist had said I needed surgery on both shoulders. Pain free in both shoulders? How?

Nietse explained I had two major issues:-

  1. Over development of large muscles, of my shoulders, chest and arms without corresponding strength in the small muscles which supported the joints.(This was causing the pain in my left shoulder
  2. Overuse of certain muscles in my right shoulder, had resulted in these muscles pulling the joint out of place. I need to exercise the opposing muscles, and stretch them, to allow the shoulder ball to site back where it was supposed to. (Causing pain in my right shoulder).

Neither problem required surgery now, and if I did my exercises may not ever. My scepticism continued. I was STRONG! I was 180 pounds of lean muscle, I could bench 300 pounds. What did he mean some of my small muscles were not strong? He demonstrated. He was probably 130 pounds in his clothes, and he easily outperformed me on 3 different sets of exercise which isolated the small muscles in the shoulder. I was convinced, and he put together and exercise plan specifically for me.

Nietse set up a video camera and videoed me whilst he gave me the exercises, correcting my technique when I got it wrong. The exercises involved a rubber tube with handle grips, 2 5 pound weights (man – so small!) and a broom. For my left shoulder, I had to focus on holding my elbow into my left side, then pulling against the tube left, and right, whilst holding my elbow in tight. When I let it drift outwards too many times, he place an eye pillow between my side and my elbow and told me not to let it fall.

For my right shoulder, I had to do the same exercise, but also hold the 5 pound weights, and lift them up with straight arms, from my sides to above my head…. but the killer was holding a broom behind my back with my right arm down near my buttocks, then using both arms pull the broom up to stretch the right arm/shoulder joint. This… was uncomfortable. I had no idea how much the shoulder had become restricted and how much the now atrophied muscles on one side of the joint were pulling it out of place.

Nietse told me a bit of discomfort for 10-15 minutes after finishing was fine, more was not. I should do the exercises daily, but if the shoulders got more painful, not less, to stop and come back to see him.

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