My left shoulder was painful at the front. I could still use it, but not when combining the shoulder muscle with chest exercises, for example doing incline bench presses. My right shoulder was worse. I could not throw, I could not pull my body weight up in a chin-up…. but I could do lateral pull downs… Football was already over for me, but now water polo was as well. I could not throw at all with my right arm, or swim. My only option was to play goalie. The goalie is the guy in water polo that the other guys throw balls at from super close range. It’s like dodge ball, except only aiming at your head, and from closer range. Not fun.

I was pretty deflated, I was almost old enough to play veterans and figured I’d have another 20 years of play in me but now at 38 I was on the scrap heap. I saw a doctor, and he prescribed a course of strong pain killers and anti inflammatory drugs. I went and saw a shoulder specialist. He said I needed surgery (did not want it!) and in the interim gave me sots of cortisone in each shoulder.

I assumed my shoulders were just stuffed, and there was nothing more I could do. The drugs played havoc with my stomach so I stopped taking them. My shoulders both grew worse and I found myself holding them at odd angles to try and relieve the pain…. this seemed to make things better in the short term, worse in the long term. 

So I went to a physiotherapist.