Michael’s Story

“I picked up a bilateral rotator cuff injury about eighteen months ago, which was diagnosed as impingement syndrome. I had extensive treatment with a chiropractor and physio, which seemed to make things worse. My right shoulder recovered on its own, but my left shoulder didn’t. Then I started Nordic walking and initially my shoulder would be tight and painful, especially during warm up and cool down.

As the months went by, I kept hearing about keeping the shoulders low, the torso ready to rotate and to push through the hand strap, and I found myself concentrating on these three things. Initially, I didn’t notice much of a difference, but then my shoulder gradually started to feel looser, although it was still tight and painful at times. I continued to concentrate on keeping my shoulders down and relaxed, and on the torso twist.

I had some further physio, this time from a more experienced practitioner who had dealt with a lot of shoulder injuries, and he was fascinated by the Nordic walking. He could see how it would be beneficial and gave me exercises that targeted not my bad shoulder as such, but my shoulder girdle and core muscles. I’ve since been discharged from the physio as things have improved massively.

I’ve noticed that:

  • As my shoulder became looser, I was pushing back through the hand straps more efficiently and my shoulder movement became more fluid.
  • As my torso rotation improved, my shoulder released and I stood taller and less rounded.
  • During cool down stretches, I can now get the poles behind my head and onto the back of my shoulders – I couldn’t do this when I started and although I could raise my arm above my head, it was painful. Now it’s pain free.

I can also do the exercise with the poles vertically down the back. Previously, my left shoulder was too tight to pull down or up without pain and I had trouble reaching the poles.”