Years ago, serious and persistent shoulder pain happened.
First you get an x-ray to see if it’s a bone thing. Negative.
Then you tell an orthopedist a story he’s heard a thousand times: The shoulder functions well, but a certain range of motion causes pain that feels like a stab wound. (I could do push-ups, but I couldn’t take a wallet out of my back pocket.)
An MRI confirms the diagnosis: rotator cuff tear. And faster than you can say Blue Cross/Blue Shield, you’re scheduled for surgery and dreading a long, painful recovery that has at best fair odds to fully succeed.
Then some cosmic good luck happened. Just days before surgery I turned on NPR at exactly the right moment to hear Loren Fishman tell how yoga can resolve a rotator cuff injury. Without surgery.
I cancelled the surgery, found a local yogi interested in trying Fishman’s treatment, and it worked better than you’d dare hope.
Instead of expensive, risky surgery with an uncertain outcome, I went to a pleasant yoga studio to learn poses that train muscles to take up the duty normally done by the rotator cuff.
I got dramatic improvement in the first hour. After two sessions I could take my wallet out of my back pocket again. Ten years on there is zero pain and I have full range of motion. I’ll never hit another hard first serve in tennis, but otherwise life is good.